Last Updated: February 25, 2016
· llwt

*nix Cheatsheet

This will forever be an ongoing process, I hope to track down and consolidate notes that are spread around my hard-drives here.


Formatting, Utilities, Shortcuts, etc.

echo Formatting

Bold, Underline, and Reset using tput

BOLD=`tput bold`
RESET=`tput sgr0`
UNDERLINE=`tput smul`

echo "Examples: \n\
    ${BOLD}bolded text${RESET} \n\
    ${UNDERLINE}underlined text${RESET}"



Rewrite History

Erase everything but "directory-to-keep", useful for splitting off a directory


git filter-branch --index-filter 'git ls-tree --name-only --full-tree $GIT_COMMIT | grep -v "^directory-to-keep$" | xargs git rm --cached -r' -- --all

Erase specific directory

see here

Default Applications

Specifically for Arch Linux but should probably be similar for other distro's

Config Files


tmux source

(C-x means ctrl+x, M-x means alt+x)

Prefix key

The default prefix is C-b. If you (or your muscle memory) prefer C-a, you need to add this to ~/.tmux.conf:

# remap prefix to Control + a
set -g prefix C-a
# bind 'C-a C-a' to type 'C-a'
bind C-a send-prefix
unbind C-b

I'm going to assume that C-a is your prefix.

Sessions, windows, panes

Session is a set of windows, plus a notion of which window is current.

Window is a single screen covered with panes. (Once might compare it to a ‘virtual desktop’ or a ‘space’.)

Pane is a rectangular part of a window that runs a specific command, e.g. a shell.

Getting help

Display a list of keyboard shortcuts:

C-a ?

Navigate using Vim or Emacs shortcuts, depending on the value of mode-keys. Emacs is the default, and if you want Vim shortcuts for help and copy modes (e.g. j, k, C-u, C-d), add the following line to ~/.tmux.conf:

setw -g mode-keys vi

Any command mentioned in this list can be executed as tmux something or C-a :something (or added to ~/.tmux.conf).

Managing sessions

Creating a session:

tmux new-session -s work

Create a new session that shares all windows with an existing session, but has its own separate notion of which window is current:

tmux new-session -s work2 -t work

Attach to a session:

tmux attach -t work

Detach from a session: C-a d.

Switch between sessions:

C-a (          previous session
C-a )          next session
C-a L          ‘last’ (previously used) session
C-a s          choose a session from a list


C-a $          rename the current session

Managing windows

Create a window:

C-a c          create a new window

Switch between windows:

C-a 1 ...      switch to window 1, ..., 9, 0
C-a 9
C-a 0
C-a p          previous window
C-a n          next window
C-a l          ‘last’ (previously used) window
C-a w          choose window from a list

Switch between windows with a twist:

C-a M-n        next window with a bell, activity or
               content alert
C-a M-p        previous such window


C-a ,          rename the current window
C-a &          kill the current window

Managing split panes

Creating a new pane by splitting an existing one:

C-a "          split vertically (top/bottom)
C-a %          split horizontally (left/right)

Switching between panes:

C-a left       go to the next pane on the left
C-a right      (or one of these other directions)
C-a up
C-a down
C-a o          go to the next pane (cycle through all of them)
C-a ;          go to the ‘last’ (previously used) pane

Moving panes around:

C-a {          move the current pane to the previous position
C-a }          move the current pane to the next position
C-a C-o        rotate window ‘up’ (i.e. move all panes)
C-a M-o        rotate window ‘down’
C-a !          move the current pane into a new separate
               window (‘break pane’)
C-a :move-pane -t :3.2
               split window 3's pane 2 and move the current pane there

Resizing panes:

C-a M-up, C-a M-down, C-a M-left, C-a M-right
               resize by 5 rows/columns
C-a C-up, C-a C-down, C-a C-left, C-a C-right
               resize by 1 row/column

Applying predefined layouts:

C-a M-1        switch to even-horizontal layout
C-a M-2        switch to even-vertical layout
C-a M-3        switch to main-horizontal layout
C-a M-4        switch to main-vertical layout
C-a M-5        switch to tiled layout
C-a space      switch to the next layout


C-a x          kill the current pane
C-a q          display pane numbers for a short while

Other config file settings

Force a reload of the config file on C-a r:

unbind r
bind r source-file ~/.tmux.conf


Cursor movement

h - move left
j - move down
k - move up
l - move right
w - jump by start of words (punctuation considered words)
W - jump by words (spaces separate words)
e - jump to end of words (punctuation considered words)
E - jump to end of words (no punctuation)
b - jump backward by words (punctuation considered words)
B - jump backward by words (no punctuation)
0 - (zero) start of line
^ - first non-blank character of line
$ - end of line
G - Go To command (prefix with number - 5G goes to line 5)
Note: Prefix a cursor movement command with a number to repeat it. For example, 4j moves down 4 lines.

Insert Mode - Inserting/Appending text

i - start insert mode at cursor
I - insert at the beginning of the line
a - append after the cursor
A - append at the end of the line
o - open (append) blank line below current line (no need to press return)
O - open blank line above current line
ea - append at end of word
Esc - exit insert mode


r - replace a single character (does not use insert mode)
J - join line below to the current one
cc - change (replace) an entire line
cw - change (replace) to the end of word
c$ - change (replace) to the end of line
s - delete character at cursor and subsitute text
S - delete line at cursor and substitute text (same as cc)
xp - transpose two letters (delete and paste, technically)
u - undo
. - repeat last command

Marking text (visual mode)

v - start visual mode, mark lines, then do command (such as y-yank)
V - start Linewise visual mode
o - move to other end of marked area
Ctrl+v - start visual block mode
O - move to Other corner of block
aw - mark a word
ab - a () block (with braces)
aB - a {} block (with brackets)
ib - inner () block
iB - inner {} block
Esc - exit visual mode

Visual commands

> - shift right
< - shift left
y - yank (copy) marked text
d - delete marked text
~ - switch case

Cut and Paste

yy - yank (copy) a line
2yy - yank 2 lines
yw - yank word
y$ - yank to end of line
p - put (paste) the clipboard after cursor
P - put (paste) before cursor
dd - delete (cut) a line
dw - delete (cut) the current word
x - delete (cut) current character


:w - write (save) the file, but don't exit
:wq - write (save) and quit
:q - quit (fails if anything has changed)
:q! - quit and throw away changes


/pattern - search for pattern
?pattern - search backward for pattern
n - repeat search in same direction
N - repeat search in opposite direction
:%s/old/new/g - replace all old with new throughout file
:%s/old/new/gc - replace all old with new throughout file with confirmations

Working with multiple files

:e filename - Edit a file in a new buffer
:bnext (or :bn) - go to next buffer
:bprev (of :bp) - go to previous buffer
:bd - delete a buffer (close a file)
:sp filename - Open a file in a new buffer and split window
ctrl+ws - Split windows
ctrl+ww - switch between windows


:BundleList          - list configured bundles
:BundleInstall(!)    - install(update) bundles
:BundleSearch(!) foo - search(or refresh cache first) for foo
:BundleClean(!)      - confirm(or auto-approve) removal of unused bundles


zf#j      - creates a fold from the cursor down # lines.
zf/string - creates a fold from the cursor to string .
zj        - moves the cursor to the next fold.     <REMAPPED to newline below w/o insert>
zk        - moves the cursor to the previous fold. <REMAPPED to newline above w/o insert>
zo        - opens a fold at the cursor.
zO        - opens all folds at the cursor.
zm        - increases the foldlevel by one.
zM        - closes all open folds.
zr        - decreases the foldlevel by one.
zR        - decreases the foldlevel to zero -- all folds will be open.
zd        - deletes the fold at the cursor.
zE        - deletes all folds.
[z        - move to start of open fold.
]z        - move to end of open fold.


z-      - show list of suggested words
zg      - add a word to the spelling dictionary
zw      - remove a word to the spelling dictionary


Nerd Tree

t   - Open the selected file in a new tab
i   - Open the selected file in a horizontal split window
s   - Open the selected file in a vertical split window
I   - Toggle hidden files
m   - Show the NERD Tree menu
R   - Refresh the tree, useful if files change outside of Vim
?   - Toggle NERD Tree's quick help