Brett Tolbert's Blog

Brett Tolbert's Blog

Bash Tip: How to recall a specific command from Bash history and edit it before executing it again

Bash Tip: How to recall a specific command from Bash history and edit it before executing it again

In Bash, the history command displays previously executed statements. You can re-execute any line displayed in history by using ! followed by the line number in the history output. E.g. !499. This will cause Bash to immediately re-execute that line.

Oftentimes, however, you'll want to edit the line before re-executing it. In that case, you can add the :p suffix which tells Bash to just print the line instead of actually executing it. E.g. !499:p. Then you can just hit the Up-Arrow to recall the line you just re-printed, giving you the chance to edit it before pressing Enter.

You can also use !-1 to immediately execute the previously executed command. This may not be any quicker than Up-Arrow Enter but it's useful for appending the previous command into a startup script, i.e. making it persistent:

export PATH=~/Scripts:$PATH
echo "!-1" >> ~/.bashrc
 
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