Essential Bash Keyboard Shortcuts to Speed Up Your Workflow

Unleash the power of Bash shortcuts in Linux! Streamline your command line experience with these powerful, easy-to-learn tips.

Navigating the Bash terminal can be daunting, especially for those new to Linux or command-line interfaces. However, the true power of Bash lies in its ability to speed up tasks through keyboard shortcuts.

This article delves into the essential Bash keyboard shortcuts that can significantly enhance productivity and streamline workflow. Mastering these will unlock a new realm of efficiency and control, transforming how you interact with your Linux environment.

To simplify it, we’ve organized these keyboard shortcuts into thematic subgroups. So, are you prepared to elevate your Bash shell experience? Let’s get started.

Bash Navigation Shortcuts

The following Bash navigation shortcuts are not just simple conveniences but essential for fast and accurate editing in the command line.

They enable you to swiftly and effortlessly reach the specific point in the command line you need instead of endlessly pressing the forward and back arrow keys.

Ctrl + AMoves the cursor to the beginning of the command line.
Ctrl + EMoves the cursor to the end of the command line.
Ctrl + FMoving forward one character. Similar to pressing the right arrow key.
Ctrl + BMoving backward one character. Similar to pressing the left arrow key.
Alt + B
Esc + B
Moves the cursor backward (to the left) by one word.
Alt + F
Esc + F
Moves the cursor forward (to the right) by one word.

Bash Editing Shortcuts

Bash editing shortcuts allow users to navigate and modify commands they’ve already entered, making correcting typos or adjusting previously typed commands significantly easier.

Ctrl + URemoves everything preceding the cursor, returning to the command line’s beginning.
Ctrl + KRemoves everything following the cursor up to the end of the current command line.
Ctrl + WRemoves the word located before the cursor’s current position.
Alt + DRemoves the word starting from the position of the cursor.
Alt + YPasting content if it has been previously removed.
Ctrl + DRemoves the character that is currently positioned under the cursor. Similar to pressing the Delete key.
Ctrl + HRemoves the character located directly before the cursor position. Similar to pressing the Backspace key.
Alt + TSwaps the current word’s position with the preceding word.
Ctrl + TSwaps the positions of the two characters just before the cursor. Useful for swiftly correcting mistakes when you accidentally reverse the order of two characters while typing.
Alt + UConverts the word following the cursor to all uppercase.
Alt + LConverts the word following the cursor to all lowercase.
Ctrl + _Undo your most recent keystroke. By using this repeatedly, you can undo several actions consecutively.

Bash History Shortcuts

Bash history shortcuts allow users to swiftly navigate through a history of previously executed commands, significantly reducing time and improving workflow efficiency.

With simple keystrokes, users can recall, edit, and rerun past commands, streamlining tasks in a Linux or Unix environment. For an in-depth exploration of the history command in Linux, check out our extensive guide on the topic.

Ctrl + RActivates the reverse search function, allowing you to search through your command history for a specific command you’ve used before.
Ctrl + PNavigate to the previous command in history.
Ctrl + NMove to the next command in the history.
Ctrl + OExecute the command found via Ctrl + R, Ctrl + P, or Ctrl + N.
Ctrl + GExit from history search mode.
!!Execute the last used command.
!nanoExecute the last command that started with ‘nano’
!nano:pPrint the last command that started with ‘nano’
!nRun the nth command from the history.

Bash Process Control Shortcuts

These shortcuts are essential for users who spend significant time interacting with the Bash shell. The shortcuts allow for the quick suspension of running processes, resumption of background tasks, and taking control back on your terminal screen.

Ctrl + CTerminates the command that is currently in execution.
Ctrl + LClears the terminal screen.
Ctrl + SPauses the output to the terminal (stops the scrolling), allowing you to read the current output without new output scrolling it off the screen.
Ctrl + QResumes output to the terminal, previously stopped by Ctrl + S.
Ctrl + DClose the current shell.
Ctrl + ZSuspends the currently running process by moving it into the background. To resume it, use the fg command to return it to the foreground.


Integrating essential Bash keyboard shortcuts into your daily workflow is more than just a time-saver; it’s a fundamental shift toward a more efficient and proficient command-line experience.

These shortcuts, which range from simple navigation commands to more complex task handling, are your new best friends in the Linux universe, ready to make your command line experience more efficient and enjoyable.

So go ahead, try these shortcuts, and watch as your interaction with Bash transforms from routine to remarkable.

Thanks for your time! As always, your feedback and comments are most welcome. 

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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One comment

  1. I’m a “self proclaimed” veteran of bash scripting and “master” of navigation and there were several I didn’t know about. Nice! I have actually tweaked bash a bit to suit my liking but it’s still neat to know the default keybindings and I did test some out to commit them to memory (as I do with vim). Sweet stuff to know man! Thanks for the this knowledge…😁

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