Create ~/.inputrc and fill it with this:
"\e[A": history-search-backward "\e[B": history-search-forward
This allows you to search through your history using the up and down arrows … i.e. type "
cd" and press the up arrow and you'll search through everything in your history that starts with "cd".
It's a little bit like
ctrl-r (mentioned in many of the comments below), but anchored to the start of the line, and the arrow keys allow you to scroll back and forth between matches.
I use it when I'm looking to (for instance) call up the last
ping I did (hit p, up arrow, return), whereas I use
ctrl-r more like search, when I'm trying to find a command based on an argument or option that I used.
Other options that I find useful to add:
set show-all-if-ambiguous on
This alters the default behavior of the completion functions. If set to ‘on’, words which have more than one possible completion cause the matches to be listed immediately instead of ringing the bell. The default value is ‘off’.
set completion-ignore-case on
If set to ‘on’, Readline performs filename matching and completion in a case-insensitive fashion. The default value is ‘off’.