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Terminal Commands: A reference

A listicle of commands to run in a terminal and navigate directories and logs like a pro! Mostly for Linux but some of them work in Windows also.

Photo by Francesco Ungaro

cd

  • cd — brings you to your home directory
  • cd .. — goes up one directory
  • cd ../../ — up two directories and so on…
  • cd / — goes to your root directory
  • cd - — brings you back to the directory you were last in

quick keys

hit these while in a terminal

  • ctrl + l — clears the terminal
  • ctrl + shift + plus or just ctrl + plus— zoom in
  • ctrl + shift + minus or just ctrl + minus — zoom out
  • ctrl + a — brings cursor to beginning of the line
  • ctrl + e — brings cursor to end of the line
  • ctrl + u — deletes everything before the cursor
  • ctrl + y — pastes deleted contents where the cursor is at
  • ctrl + k — deletes everything after the cursor
  • alt + backspace — deletes word the cursor is on
  • ctrl + r — search for commands you’ve already ran

ls

  • ls — lists contents within the working directory
  • ls -l — lists contents within the working directory in a top-down format
  • ll — linux alias command which can be used instead of ls -l ; might not work on all OSs
  • ls -al — lists contents within the working directory in a top-down format and includes secret files also!… ooh neat
  • la — linux alias command which can be used instead of ls -al ; might not work on all OSs

Checking log files

less path/of/the/log/file.log — better than using cat for looking at log files, but you’ll probably have to use sudo

pro tip: if you forgot to type sudo before a command you just ran, then just type:

sudo !! — the double exclamation marks are a shortcut to call the last command you just ran without needing to type it all over again

tail path/of/the/log/file.log — like the less command but it will just print the last 10 lines of a log file, you might need to use sudo with this one also

press q to exit the log page

tail -f path/of/the/log/file.log —this command will specify to print out the log file in real time for live monitoring, you might need to use sudo with this one also; test it out with the log file path/var/log/auth.log found in linux OS

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