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How to use History Command in Linux Bash

History is very useful command. More than 90% of time, Linux users type same commands again and again. To improve the efficiency and output as a Linux user, one should be really familiar with History.

How to Use History Command

Just type history on your bash command prompt. If you have been using your shell for a while, you will see lot of commands. 


Just to see last 10 commands do following...

history | tail -10

If you want to scroll through all the commands, just do 

history | less 

And then you can scroll through the less editor by pressing key j for going down and k for going up. If you want to search through history in the less editor, just type forward / and then type the keyword you want to search for

If you look at the history, you will see a command number in front of every command 

  865  echo "hello"
  866  history | tail -4
  867  echo "hello world"
  868  ls -lrt
  869  echo "hello testing"
  870  history | tail -4
  871  find / | egrep
  872  history | tail -10
  873  echo "testing"
  874  history | tail -10

How to execute previous command using !

lets say we want to execute the command 870, instead of typing the whole command just type


If you just want to run the last command then do double !!


Saving the history

Every time you open a new shell, only the history of that shell is saved. If you want to append to history, the just do 

history -a 

Above will save history to file .bash_history

If for some reason you want to save the history to new file, you can simply use the pip command too.

history > history.txt

Clearing the history

You can also create the history and start from the blank slate by using -c switch

history -c

Delete the history between lines

We can also delete history specifically by using switch -d

history -d 869 874

Above will delete the history between line 869 and 874

Customize history size

We can also customize how many lines should be stored by history. By setting variable HISTSIZE

Modifying History Size


Above setting will make sure latest 10000 commands will be saved in bash history.

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