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Linux Command Line Cheat Sheet by DaveChild

A cheat sheet of the commands I use most for Linux, with popup links to man pages.

Bash Commands

uname -aShow system and kernel
head -n1 /etc/issueShow distri­bution
mountShow mounted filesy­stems
dateShow system date
uptimeShow uptime
whoamiShow your username
man commandShow manual for command

Bash Shortcuts

CTRL-cStop current command
CTRL-zSleep program
CTRL-aGo to start of line
CTRL-eGo to end of line
CTRL-uCut from start of line
CTRL-kCut to end of line
CTRL-rSearch history
!!Repeat last command
!abcRun last command starting with abc
!abc:pPrint last command starting with abc
!$Last argument of previous command
ALT-.Last argument of previous command
!*All arguments of previous command
^abc^123Run previous command, replacing abc with 123

Bash Variables

envShow enviro­nment variables
echo $NAMEOutput value of $NAME variable
export NAME=valueSet $NAME to value
$PATHExecutable search path
$HOMEHome directory
$SHELLCurrent shell

IO Redire­ction

cmd < file
Input of cmd from file
cmd1 <(cmd2)
Output of cmd2 as file input to cmd1
cmd > file
Standard output (stdout) of cmd to file
cmd > /dev/null
Discard stdout of cmd
cmd >> file
Append stdout to file
cmd 2> file
Error output (stderr) of cmd to file
cmd 1>&2
stdout to same place as stderr
cmd 2>&1
stderr to same place as stdout
cmd &> file
Every output of cmd to file

cmd refers to a command.


cmd1 | cmd2
stdout of cmd1 to cmd2
cmd1 |& cmd2
stderr of cmd1 to cmd2

Command Lists

cmd1 ; cmd2
Run cmd1 then cmd2
cmd1 && cmd2
Run cmd2 if cmd1 is successful
cmd1 || cmd2
Run cmd2 if cmd1 is not successful
cmd &
Run cmd in a subshell

Directory Operations

pwdShow current directory
mkdir dirMake directory dir
cd dirChange directory to dir
cd ..Go up a directory
lsList files

ls Options

-aShow all (including hidden)
-RRecursive list
-rReverse order
-tSort by last modified
-SSort by file size
-lLong listing format
-1One file per line
-mComma-­sep­arated output
-QQuoted output

Search Files

grep pattern filesSearch for pattern in files
grep -iCase insens­itive search
grep -rRecursive search
grep -vInverted search
grep -oShow matched part of file only
find /dir/ -name name*Find files starting with name in dir
find /dir/ -user nameFind files owned by name in dir
find /dir/ -mmin numFind files modifed less than num minutes ago in dir
whereis commandFind binary / source / manual for command
locate fileFind file (quick search of system index)

File Operations

touch file1
Create file1
cat file1 file2
Concat­enate files and output
less file1
View and paginate file1
file file1
Get type of file1
cp file1 file2
Copy file1 to file2
mv file1 file2
Move file1 to file2
rm file1
Delete file1
head file1
Show first 10 lines of file1
tail file1
Show last 10 lines of file1
tail -f file1
Output last lines of file1 as it changes

Watch a Command

watch -n 5 'ntpq -p'
Issue the 'ntpq -p' command every 5 seconds and display output

Process Management

psShow snapshot of processes
topShow real time processes
kill pidKill process with id pid
pkill nameKill process with name name
killall nameKill all processes with names beginning name

Nano Shortcuts

Ctrl-RRead file
Ctrl-OSave file
Ctrl-XClose file
Cut and Paste
ALT-AStart marking text
CTRL-KCut marked text or line
CTRL-UPaste text
Navigate File
ALT-/End of file
CTRL-ABeginning of line
CTRL-EEnd of line
CTRL-CShow line number
CTRL-_Go to line number
Search File
ALT-WFind next
CTRL-\Search and replace

More nano info at:

Screen Shortcuts

Start a screen session.
screen -r
Resume a screen session.
screen -list
Show your current screen sessions.
Activate commands for screen.
Create a new instance of terminal.
Go to the next instance of terminal.
Go to the previous instance of terminal.
Show current instances of terminals.
Rename the current instance.

More screen info at:

File Permis­sions

chmod 775 file
Change mode of file to 775
chmod -R 600 folder
Recurs­ively chmod folder to 600
chown user:group file
Change file owner to user and group to group

File Permission Numbers

First digit is owner permis­sion, second is group and third is everyone.
Calculate permission digits by adding numbers below.
4read (r)
2write (w)
1execute (x)

Share This Cheat Sheet!

Favourited by 124 Members:

robertmorris Freaksed guilhermecruz dontaut chrysa fkorling locrian cloud171 DeeJRoth Lasantha chi-zach and 114 more ...


gerben gerben, 10:02 28 Nov 11

Thanks for creating this cheat-sheet Dave. The one thing I missed was "grep -o"; Show only the part of a matching line that matches PATTERN

DaveChild DaveChild, 10:02 28 Nov 11

I've added "grep -o" to the cheat sheet :)

a_statham a_statham, 10:02 28 Nov 11

The I/O redirection section could use "2>" and "&>" examples, I always forget how to redirect stderr

DaveChild DaveChild, 10:02 28 Nov 11

Good idea - I'll add that (once I remember how they work myself ... :) )

DaveChild DaveChild, 10:02 28 Nov 11

I've updated that section to include stderr redirection. :)

wattslevi wattslevi, 19:51 29 Nov 11

How are the indented lines added several of the cells like Screen Shortcuts? RE:

DaveChild DaveChild, 08:35 30 Nov 11

Those indented bits are a "question and answer" format box.

wattslevi wattslevi, 10:30 30 Nov 11

Ah, Q&A means I would be able to cheat with it and use it for two column with an extra line. Thanks for the info.

(Replying to my original post seems unintuitive for trying to reply under your post, but not to the overall thread... assuming this post as I'm thinking it might.)

jim jim, 23:12 30 Nov 11

On the redirects, the one I most commonly use is ignoring errors (2>/dev/null, or more succinctly 2>&- ).

For example, if I'm looking for files and I don't care that I haven't access to parts of the filesystem, we might do something like:

find / -name "*.html" 2>&-

Tanner Tanner, 10:30 7 Mar 12

ls -h is handy - changes sizes to human readable formats. Goes along good with -S. If I'm using it it is generally a ls -alhS

Wane Wane, 07:28 21 Mar 12

I think the "Bash Shortcuts" part is a little misleading. The "ctrl-a", "ctrl-e", "ctrl-k" is in emacs mode. But there should be many people preferring vim-mode or some thing like that.

Davis Peng Davis Peng, 13:57 22 Mar 12

Thanks a lot for your sheet, I just need such a linux command summary such as this sheet.

gamiclea gamiclea, 00:05 2 Jun 12

Awesome job! This will definitely come in handy

wolvverine wolvverine, 11:29 6 Jun 12

download PDF is broken

Arpit Arpit, 10:51 29 Jun 12

Good work. Thanks, its helpful.

Chetan Morajkar Chetan Morajkar, 14:35 6 Aug 12


Fantastic good job..


Donald J. Tambeau Donald J. Tambeau, 15:23 6 Aug 12

Love your is so helpful! I would like to format a MicroDisk using Linux Centros. When I look at the Partition on the MicroDisk, I see the following comment....(non-Linux). This makes sense, since I formatted with a computer running Win 7! I want to use it on my Linux system but do not know how to do it. I tried format /dev/scd1 but no joy!
Thank you

Eric Eric, 08:59 7 Aug 12

I'd just like to point out a trick I use with the head and tail commands:
First, you can designate the number of lines to return, like so: head -100 filename
I often use both head and tail together to get a section of a file by piping the output of one into the other. The following command gets 100 lines, starting 1000 lines before the end of the file:
tail -1000 filename | head -100
You could, of course, reverse the commands to get a section near the top of the file. To get lines 91-100:
head -100 filename | tail -10

Mark Mark, 08:53 29 Aug 12

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for putting this together. This is a big help to me I am new to OpenFiler witch I believe uses bash at the core so I am of course new to Linux. I didn't really think it would be quite so difficult to find resources that one can use to navigate the command line but I guess most folks use the GUI. But, I'm not most folks when I bought my first IBM 8088 I started with DOS.Anyway, thanks for the time and effort you put into this, sorry about digressing there.

Shrinath Shrinath, 13:08 4 Oct 12

Excellent Stuff man.. I think these are the most commonly used commands.. Good Effort.

JImmy JImmy, 21:43 11 Oct 12

you need to figure out how to split your command sheet as a pdf

Niloufar Niloufar, 21:43 11 Oct 12

hi!.these are useful cheat sheet .

russ russ, 16:18 22 Oct 12

CTRL-Z sleeps (stops) the running process. fg [#] brings it back to foreground.

ps aux | grep top

chiahsun chiahsun, 11:14 2 Jan 13

Show human readable format (kb, mb...)
ls -lh

PierreBdR PierreBdR, 11:35 9 Feb 13

This cheat-sheet is very good! Thanks for that.

However, I don't like the "chmod" commands you are using. I don't think anybody should use the numeric version of chmod anymore. Your example "chmod -R 600 folder", is the best way to lock yourself out of your own folder and loose any executable bits on the scripts. I would rather use the symbolic version:

chmod -R u+rw folder # Add read-write for user on all files in folder
chmod -R og-rwx # Remove read write and execute bits for "other" and "group" on all files in folder

And my all-time favorite:

chmod -R og=u-w folder # Give other and group the same rights as user, but removing writing rights.

Of course, this also handles t and s bits:

chmod u+s file
chmod o+t folder

Stylius Stylius, 09:17 15 Feb 13

I would also add the tar command. No sysadmin would survive without it.

To extract tar.gz archive
tar xvzf archive.tar.gz

To extract tar.bz2 archive
tar xvjf archive.tar.bz2

To extract tar archive
tar xvf archive.tar

To create archive
tar cvzf archive.tar.gz /file_or_folder/to/archive

Sandeep Sandeep, 08:43 16 Feb 13

Nice one...really helpful

John John, 08:43 16 Feb 13

Great resource - thanks for taking the time and trouble to put this out there.

My favorite ls options are '-ltr' . The t sorts files by time, and r reverses that, so newest files show up right above the prompt, no matter how long the listing is.

daveydave400 daveydave400, 08:43 16 Feb 13

What about CTRL+y to paste the stuff you cut back in? How can you leave that out? CTRL+a/e and CTRL+u/y are the pairs I remember.

gymka gymka, 08:44 16 Feb 13

Missing: sed
find -exec

Jared Jared, 10:33 26 Feb 13

Nice work, but it would be best as a single page PDF.

Darr247 Darr247, 16:31 5 Apr 13

Or if the PDF at least split into 2 pages (so it could be a laminated 2-sided sheet) without cutting commands in half.

PastExpiryDotCom PastExpiryDotCom, 18:08 11 Jul 13

This is bash-tastic!

kimcy929 kimcy929, 11:09 9 Aug 13

thank you very much, it is great

Pradeep Pradeep, 15:12 13 Feb 14

There is no commands for shutdown or reboot..

RobertAttfieldDotCom RobertAttfieldDotCom, 11:37 14 Feb 14

Good job on the cheatsheet - this will definitely come in handy for my Linux exam next week. Some commands on umask would be a good addition to this cheatsheet :).

Bill Bill, 17:30 17 Feb 14

Hi, handy sheet. Just one thing. Find will do a recursive search by default. In the find /dir -name name* should be in double quotes if you want it to recursively find all files starting with name:

find /dir/ -name "name*"

That's because, without the quotes, the shell will expand the wildcard before handing the parameters to find. To unexpected things might happen if you don't have the quotes. Please see the examples below:

$ find .
$ find . -name name*
find: paths must precede expression: name2
Usage: find [-H] [-L] [-P] [-Olevel] [-D help|tree|search|stat|rates|opt|exec] [path...] [expression]
$ find . -name "name*"
$ touch dir1/fred1
$ find .
$ find . -name name*
find: paths must precede expression: name2
Usage: find [-H] [-L] [-P] [-Olevel] [-D help|tree|search|stat|rates|opt|exec] [path...] [expression]
$ find . -name "name*"
$ find . -name fred*
$ find . -name "fred*"

Edser Edser, 17:35 17 Feb 14

grep -B#

This shows what you are searching plus additional lines where number is added. Great for DHCP lease searching.

No4711 No4711, 09:56 19 Feb 14

I would suggest to put in screen <tty.device> <baudrate> – just in case anybody needs to connect to some serial console…

Henning Henning, 09:57 19 Feb 14

Great reference!
The section on Screen is missing "Ctrl-A d" for detaching.

Mads Mads, 08:55 26 Feb 14

Great resource - thanks a lot Dave!

Kabir Kabir, 22:03 10 Mar 14

add task manage comman:

Isabel Ambriz Isabel Ambriz, 13:08 30 Apr 14

Command that might be used to test connectivity of Linux box to the Internet, get logged on user info, and get TCP/IP configuration info. Can anyone help me?

Aaron Tani Aaron Tani, 08:27 1 May 14

theres also a good one here:

Damien Damien, 10:43 23 Jul 14

I've always found `mkdir -p path/to/directory` to be useful.

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