Skip to main content
Welcome guest. | Register | Login | Post

Ctrl-R in the Bash Shell

Recently I came across the command Ctrl-R in the bash shell. It allows you to search and browse your bash history.

For instance you ssh into your server every day, in between each ssh you do a bunch of other things, this makes in impractical to use the Up arrow key to go through your history to find the command. Instead hit Ctrl-R, and start typing ss, it will search your bash history for the last time you used a command with ss in it:

(reverse-i-search)`ss': ssh foo.servername.com

You hit 'Enter' and the line will be executed.

If you hit Ctrl-R again in will go back again in your history to the previous time you used a line with ss in it such as:

(reverse-i-search)`ss': vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config

If you wish to change your search parameters just hit the backspace key and write your new search, e.g.
[backspace] [c]
(reverse-i-search)`sc': screen -r

I hope this helps people who've become annoyed with hitting the Up arrow all the time to get at yesterday's command!