Key Action CTRL-A Move cursor to the beginning of the line. CTRL-E Move cursor to the end of the line. CTRL-F Move cursor forward one character; same as the right arrow key. CTRL-B Move cursor backward one character; same as the left arrow key. ALT-F Move cursor forward one word. ALT-B Move cursor backward one word. CTRL-L Clear the screen and move the cursor to the top left corner. The clear command does the same thing.
Cutting and Pasting (Killing and Yanking) Text
The Readline documentation uses the terms killing and yanking to refer to what we would commonly call cutting and pasting.
CTRL-D Delete the character at the cursor location.
CTRL-T Transpose (exchange) the character at the cursor location with the one preceding it.
ALT-T Transpose the word at the cursor location with the one pre ceding it.
ALT-L Convert the characters from the cursor location to the end of the word to lowercase.
ALT-U Convert the characters from the cursor location to the end of the word to uppercase.
Cut and Paste Commands
Key Action CTRL-K Kill text from the cursor location to the end of line. CTRL-U Kill text from the cursor location to the beginning of the line. ALT-D Kill text from the cursor location to the end of the current word. ALT-BACKSPACE Kill text from the cursor location to the beginning of the current word. If the cursor is at the beginning of a word, kill the previous word. CTRL-Y Yank text from the kill-ring and insert it at the cursor location.
ALT-? Display list of possible completions. On most systems you can also do this by pressing the TAB key a second time, which is much easier. ALT-* Insert all possible completions. This is useful when you want to use more than one possible match.
The prompt changes to indicate that we are performing a reverse incre- mental search. It is “reverse” because we are searching from “now” to some time in the past. Next, we start typing our search text, which in this example is /usr/bin:
(reverse-i-search)`/usr/bin': ls -l /usr/bin > ls-output.txt
Immediately, the search returns its result. Now we can execute the command by pressing ENTER, or we can copy the command to our current command line for further editing by pressing CTRL-J. Let’s copy it. Press CTRL-J:
$ ls -l /usr/bin > ls-output.txt
Our shell prompt returns, and our command line is loaded
CTRL-P Move to the previous history entry. Same action as the up arrow. CTRL-N Move to the next history entry. Same action as the down arrow. ALT-< Move to the beginning (top) of the history list. ALT-> Move to the end (bottom) of the history list; i.e., the current command line. CTRL-R Reverse incremental search. Searches incrementally from the current command line up the history list. ALT-P Reverse search, non-incremental. With this key, type the search string and press ENTER before the search is performed. ALT-N Forward search, non-incremental. CTRL-O Execute the current item in the history list and advance to the next one. This is handy if you are trying to re-execute a sequence of commands in the history list.
History Expansion Commands
Sequence Action !! Repeat the last command. It is probably easier to press the up arrow and ENTER. !number Repeat history list item number. !string Repeat last history list item starting with string. !?string Repeat last history list item containing string.