Bash Shell —Other Useful commands

Miguel Sampaio da Veiga
Jan 8 · 3 min read
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

So far this series of articles have presented a simple and concise perspective about navigate in the shell, visualize content, manipulate files and folders, and edit files inline.

This article is about a list of helpful commands available in the shell that might make a diference and simplify your workflow.


$ file test_file

File determines the test_file file type. It operates three kinds of tests to determine the type. It takes several arguments:

file usage example


$ type command names

Type is used to determine if a command is built-in or is an external binary file:

type usage example

It accepts the following options:

$ type -a command

Shows also if command is an alias and the path:

$ type -t command

Shows a single word for the command type

$ type -p command

Shows the name and path of the file that will execute:


$ which command

Which shows the full path of a command passed as argument:

which usage example


$ help command

Help displays information about builtin commands.

help usage example


$ man command

Man in as interface to the system reference manuals


$ apropos keyword

Apropos is another way of using the system reference manuals. Instead of views a single manual, apropos searches the short description for instances of keyword and returns all that apply. Keyword can be a regular expression.


$ info command

Another way of consulting the system reference manuals with more detailed information.


$ whatis command

Another way of consulting the system reference manuals. whatis displays on-line command descriptions.

whatis usage example


$ alias name=”value”

This command instructs the shell to replace the “name” with “value” whenever we input “name”:

alias usage example

An alias defined in the .xsession, .bashrc, .profile will be usable through the system.

To eliminate the alias run “unlias”:


$ history

History shows the shell last entered commands.

$ !!

This command executes the previous entered command.

$ !300

This command executes the command in the history 300th line.

$ !300:p

This command prints the command in the history 300th line.

History can also be used with grep. In the next article I’ll talk about it.

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