Unix and Linux shortcut keys

Updated: 03/13/2021 by Computer Hope
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Shortcuts are designed to help shorten the time required to perform frequently used commands or actions. In the sections below, we have listed keyboard shortcuts that can be performed by pressing two or more keys at once. We have also listed command line shortcut keys that can be typed at the shell.

Keyboard shortcuts


Not all of the following shortcut keys are universally compatible with every variant of Unix and Linux. Some of these shortcut keys are designed for use in a terminal environment, while others are for use in a desktop environment.

Ctrl+A Moves the cursor to the beginning of the line.
Ctrl+B Moves the cursor backward one character.
Ctrl+C Cancels the currently running command.
Ctrl+D Logs out of the current session.
Ctrl+E Moves the cursor to the end of the line.
Ctrl+F Moves the cursor forward one character.
Ctrl+H Erase one character. Like pressing Backspace.
Ctrl+P Paste previous line(s).
Ctrl+R Lets you search for a previously used command or switch.
Ctrl+S Stops all output on-screen (XOFF).
Ctrl+Q Turns all output stopped on-screen back on (XON). Also, closes an application window.
Ctrl+U Erases the complete line.
Ctrl+W Deletes the last word typed. For example, if you typed mv file1 file2, this shortcut would delete file2.
Ctrl+Z Cancels the current operation, moves back a directory or takes the current operation and moves it to the background. See bg command for additional information about background.
Ctrl+Alt+D Minimizes all application windows and shows the desktop.
Ctrl+Alt+L Locks the screen.
Ctrl+Alt+T Opens a new terminal window.
Ctrl+Alt+/ Switches between workspaces (if you are a power user and use workspaces).
Alt+F2 Open the console to run a command (must be a power user).
/ Scroll through previously used commands.

Command line shortcuts

You may find the following command line shortcuts helpful. You may also want to try using the alias command, which lets you create shortcuts for long or frequently-used commands.


Not all of the following command line shortcuts are universally compatible with every variant of Unix and Linux.

 ~ Moves to the user's home directory.
!! Repeats the line last entered at the shell.
!$ Repeats the last argument for the command last used. See history command for previous commands.
reset Resets the terminal if the terminal screen is not displaying correctly.
shutdown -h now Remotely or locally shuts the system down.