Useful shell shortcuts

(Thanks to @oaktree for giving me an idea to start this topic. )

Most of us spend a lot of time in some type of a shell. To save time (and sometimes sanity) it is useful to know some (keyboard) shortcuts which can be pretty darn useful.

So if you know a useful shortcut, and it isn’t already mentioned, drop it below.


  • ^ is a shorthand for CTRL (control)
  • all shortcuts should work in bash, but are generally shell agnostic (i.e., most will work in other shells, like Cisco iOS)

My most useful shortcuts:

  • ^L = clear; clear the screen of the shell (emulator)
  • ^SHIFT C & ^SHIFT V = copy & paste
    • SHIFT INS = paste
  • ^W = delete the word before the cursor
    • word1 word2| word3 > will delete word2
  • ALT D = delete the word after the cursor
    • word1 |word2 word3 > will delete word2
  • ^U = delete from cursor to the beginning of the line
    • word1 word2| word3 > will delete word2, word1
  • ^A = jump to the beginning of the line (like HOME)
  • ^E = jump to the end of the line (like END)
  • ^LEFT | ^RIGHT = jump between words
  • ^P = scroll through history, from oldest to newest (like UP)
  • ^F = move cursor one char to the right
  • ^H = delete one char behind the cursor
  • ^D = delete one char under the cursor
  • ^O = execute command
  • ^C = terminate running command
  • ^Z = pause running command, return to stdin
  • bg = push paused command to background, resume execution (watch out, command will print to stdout if not otherwise specified)
  • fg = pull paused / backgrounded command ‘to front’, resume execution if paused
  • ^r = search command history
  • additional ^r = scroll through search results

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