Tips & Tricks¶
Here are some handy tips and tricks that can make working with Linux - especially on the command line - that little bit easier.
Typing long file or directory names is annoying, but luckily there’s an easier way. You only need to type part of a name and then hit the
TAB key – the Bash shell will autocomplete the rest of it for you. You can also use
HOME to jump the cursor to the start of a line, and
END to jump to the end of a line.
DOWN arrow keys can be used to scroll backwards and forwards through recently entered commands. Resubmit a command by hitting
ENTER, or even edit and then resubmit – this is great for when you’ve mistyped a long path and need to try again without having to retype everything.
You can also use the
history command to display a recent history of everything you’ve typed:
$ history 1 cd / 2 ll 3 cd /mnt 4 ls -l 5 pwd
If you see an entry you want to re-run, use
! (called bang in the Linux world), followed by the number of the command as shown by
!5. You can use
!! on its own to instantly repeat the previous command.
Clearing the screen¶
If you want to clear the screen of all text and move the cursor back to the top of your view, you can use the
clear command. But if even that sounds like too much to type,
CTRL+L will do it too.
Running multiple commands¶
If you want to run a bunch of commands one after another, but don’t want to wait on each one finishing first, then you could write (and run) a script containing all of the commands. But that’s a lot of work for just a few commands, which can just as easily be run this way:
$ make; make install;
You can also string two commands together with the
&& operator, which ensures that the command following
&& only runs if the one before it succeeded, such as:
$ make && make install
Following log files¶
tail can be used to look at the top or bottom of a file respectively, you can also use
tail to follow along with a log file as it’s being created. This is great for watching the output of a program as it runs, for example:
$ tail -f logfile.txt
You can finish watching with a