Unix and Linux shortcut keys

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope


Shortcuts are designed to help shorten the time required to perform frequently used commands or actions. In the below sections, we have listed keyboard shortcut keys 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.

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

Keyboard shortcut keys

Ctrl+B Moves the cursor backward one character.
Ctrl+C Cancels the currently running command.
Ctrl+D Logs out of the current session.
Ctrl+F Moves the cursor forward one character.
Ctrl+H Erase one character. Similar to pressing backspace.
Ctrl+P Paste previous line(s).
Ctrl+S Stops all output on-screen (XOFF).
Ctrl+Q Turns all output stopped on-screen back on (XON).
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 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.

Command line shortcuts

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

 ~ 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.