Must know bash commands or hackers cheat sheet

Posted by Vasilii Triandafilidi on April 14, 2015

What are the must know Bash commands?What are tricky bash commands that I consider useful:

Basic ls, rm, grep commands

ls file # does the file exist?
ls -l file # info about the file
ls -lt  #  list files in time order with info
ls -ltr  #  list files in reverse time order with info
ls -a # list files including hidden files
ls - R $ show dirs and subdirs

rm !(u|p) # delete everything but

Creating a symbolic link:

ln -s original linkname


ls | grep something # prints something, that matches something
less file1 | grep something # looks for something in the file
grep "hi there" file1 # look for hi there in the file1
ls | grep something | xargs rm # removes everything that matches something in the directory

Grepping str1 or/and str2:

egrep -i "str1|str2" file # str1 or str2
egrep -i "str1.\*str2" file # str1 and str2

How to find files?

Here are a few ways to use find:

$ find ./ -name 'name.\*'


Start searching from the current directory (i.e ./ directory)


Given search text is the filename rather than any other attribute of a file


Search text that we have entered. Always enclose the filename in single quotes.. why to do this is complex.. so simply do so.
$ find /home/david -name 'index\*'
$ find /home/david -iname 'index\*'

The 1st command would find files having the letters index as the beginning of the file name. The search would be started in the directory /home/david and carry on within that directory and its subdirectories only. The 2nd command would search for the same, but the case of the filename wouldn’t be considered. So all files starting with any combination of letters in upper and lower case such as INDEX or indEX or index would be returned.

Parsing through text files using sed/awk


Replace foo with bar:

sed 's/foo/bar/'

Replace Word1 with Word2, -n - gets rid of unnecessary stuff

sed -n '/Word1/Word2/' fromfile.txt > newfile.txt

Deleting lines:

sed -i '/^\s*$/d'  fromfile.txt # delete empty lines fromfile.txt (modifies the file)
sed -i '1d' filewithfirstline.txt # deletes first line of a file
sed -i '1i\\' filewithfirstline.txt # adds empty first line to file
sed -e '/^$/d' $filename
# The -e option causes the next string to be interpreted as an editing instruction.
#  (If passing only a single instruction to sed, the "-e" is optional.)
#  The "strong" quotes ('') protect the RE characters in the instruction
#+ from reinterpretation as special characters by the body of the script.
# (This reserves RE expansion of the instruction for sed.)
# Operates on the text contained in file $filename.

8d  #Delete the 8th line of input.
/^$/d   #Delete all blank lines.
1,/^$/d #Delete from beginning of input up to, and including the first blank line.

/Jones/p  #  Print only lines containing "Jones" (with -n option).
s/Windows/Linux/   # Substitute "Linux" for the first instance of "Windows" found in each input line.
s/BSOD/stability/g  #Substitute "stability" for every instance of "BSOD" found in each input line.

s/ \*$// #Delete all spaces at the end of every line.
s/00\*/0/g   #Compress all consecutive sequences of zeroes into a single zero.

echo "Working on it." | sed -e '1i How far are you along?'  #Prints "How far are you along?" as the first line, "Working on it" as second.
5i 'Linux is great.' file.txt   #Inserts 'Linux is great.' at line 5 of the file file.txt.
/GUI/d  #Delete all lines containing "GUI".
s/GUI//g    #Delete all instances of "GUI", leaving the remainder of each line intact.


The alias command makes it possible to launch any command or group of commands (inclusive of any options, arguments, and redirection) by entering a pre-set string (i.e., the sequence of characters). In other words you find some command that you use a lot, say go to specified directory, or ssh to certain server give it a nickname (alias) and use it.

For example, I know that I go to certain folder a lot, it has my all libraries in it - /Dropbox/Lammps_simulation/my_git_repo/polymer_simulation/CreateMelt So I just add the following line to ~/.bashrc (~/bash_profile), source it source ~/.bashrc and use it.

alias createmelt='cd ~/Dropbox/Lammps_simulation/my_git_repo/polymer_simulation/CreateMelt'

For now on, whenever I need to go to the /Dropbox/Lammps_simulation/my_git_repo/polymer_simulation/CreateMelt directory I use

$ ~/blog @ Vasiliys-MacBook-Pro (bazilevs)
$ => pwd

$ ~/blog @ Vasiliys-MacBook-Pro (bazilevs)
$ => createmelt

$ ~/Dropbox/Lammps_simulation/my_git_repo/polymer_simulation/CreateMelt @ Vasiliys-MacBook-Pro (bazilevs)

$ => pwd

# very handy tool to go any number of directories up
  local d=""
  for ((i=1 ; i <= limit ; i++))
  d=$(echo $d | sed 's/^\///')
  if [ -z "$d" ]; then
  cd $d

# very handy tool to extract files
extract () {
    if [ -f $1 ] ; then
      case $1 in
        \*.tar.bz2)   tar xjf $1     ;;
        \*.tar.gz)    tar xzf $1     ;;
        \*.bz2)       bunzip2 $1     ;;
        \*.rar)       unrar e $1     ;;
        \*.gz)        gunzip $1      ;;
        \*.tar)       tar xf $1      ;;
        \*.tbz2)      tar xjf $1     ;;
        \*.tgz)       tar xzf $1     ;;
        \*.zip)       unzip $1       ;;
        \*.Z)         uncompress $1  ;;
        \*.7z)        7z x $1        ;;
        \*)     echo "'$1' cannot be extracted via extract()" ;;
         echo "'$1' is not a valid file"

Github basic commands:

I assume one does have a working account; then everything is pretty straightforward:

#initialize this directory to be GitHub directory
git init .
# when you have files to push
git add .
# adding information on the commit
git commit -m "i added a lot of stuff"
git push origin master

When you are cloning a directory that it gets initialized automatically.