Useful Bash commands

Navigating the terminal

Hotkey Function
⌃ + A Go to beginning of input
⌃ + E Go to end of input
⌥ + B Jump to previous word
⌥ + F Jump to next word
⌃ + U Delete to beginning of input
⌃ + K Delete to end of input
⌥ + D Delete to end of word
⌥ + W Delete to beginning of word
⌥ + ⌫ Delete a word

Useful commands:

Command Function
open . In macOS, open a Finder window of current directory
open In macOS, open the specified URL in the default browser window


Command Function
$? Exit status of previous command. 0 for success, nonzero for failure.
$$ Process id of currently running script.
!! History expansion of contents of previous command.
!n History expansion of command with number “n”.
!-n History expansion of command “n” commands behind current one in the history.
!ssh Execute the last “ssh” command with this.


Brace expansion

There’s a ton of useful things you can do with brace expansion. Expand integers:

➜  ~ git:(master) ✗ echo {1..10}
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Expand characters:

➜  ~ git:(master) ✗ echo {a..z}
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Combine expansions:

➜  ~ git:(master) ✗ echo {a..f}{0..5}
a0 a1 a2 a3 a4 a5 b0 b1 b2 b3 b4 b5 c0 c1 c2 c3 c4 c5 d0 d1 d2 d3 d4 d5 e0 e1 e2 e3 e4 e5 f0 f1 f2 f3 f4 f5


Bash history

To navigate history, you can use the up and down arrow keys, or the combinations ⌃p and ⌃n to navigate to previous and next commands, respectively.

Searching Bash history

Use the ⌃r hotkey to trigger a reverse search through your Bash history. Type in a string to query. If it matches, press to execute it. If not, press ⌃r again to see the next result. To see the previous result, use ⌃s.



The HISTSIZE variable controls how many commands will be stored in Bash history. It defaults to 10,000, but you can change this in your .bashrc file.