Shell Tips and Tricks


Hi readers, it’s been a long time since my last blog. I’m not used to blogging regularly, but anyways, I’m trying to keep up. So today I’ll share some shell tips and tricks that I discoverd/read/picked-up-from-the-internet/learned-from-my-friends so that you can make your life easier too.


1. Copy text from your shell to your clipboard.

Hate to select text manually from the terminal ? I feel you, here’s how you can do it.

1# Echo stuff and pipe it into your cliboard
2echo "Hello" | xsel -ib
4# Or you can cat a file and copy it to your clip-board
5cat /etc/passwd | xsel -ib

To install xsel :

1sudo apt install xsel

2. Pipe text straight to vim to edit

So I used to usually pipe the out put to a file first and then vim it , but turns out you can directly pass stuff to it

1curl <some-website> | grep <some regex> | vim -

Now you can edit your output and then save it to any file by going to command mode and :w filename.txt

3. Split terminals

For doing this I used tmux , and properly using tmux requires it’s own blog , or multiple blogs tbh, so i’ll just share the basics.

Install tmux

1sudo apt install tmux

Use my dotfile for tmux, that would make it really easy for you to use

1git clone
2mv ~/.tmux.conf ~/.tmux.conf.bak
3cp DotFiles/tmux.conf ~/.tmux.conf

Now open your terminal and start tmux by simply typing tmux It would look something like this :

Now to split terminal

  1. Vertically - Ctrl + b v
  2. Horizontally - Ctrl + b h

To move between terminals Alt + Up/Down/Left/Right

To exit tmux Ctrl + d or simply type exit

4. Find files easily

This a tool that I discovered recently, and it has changed my whole work flow. fzf or fuzzy finder dynamically find files as you type. Obviously we can use it for so many different things, but for context of this blog, I’ll just show you how to find files using fzf.


1sudo apt install fzf




To exit, simply press ESC

You can pipe fzf to some other tool for example cat or rm


Now you might be wondering, why the output from my last command cat looks so beautiful ? for that, let’s go to our next tip

5. Turn your boring cat to a beautiful cat


1sudo apt install bat


3# or you can add an alias to your .bashrc/zshrc file to run batcat when cat is run
4## like this:  alias cat='batcat'
5## Restart your shell and then batcat will run whenever you will type cat

This will beautify and print your file as per it’s format and it will also work like less

6. Do you often forget command syntax ? Me too

And I found the best tool for it


1go get -u

or download it from their releases

Then just run it for any command you’re forgetting, for example - tar

1cheat tar 

and it will output

Pretty cool right ?

7. Want to send file from your laptop to your phone quickly ?

Say, both your phone and laptop are on the same network We can use a python module to create a webserver quickly and then we can download the file on our moblie phones using any browser

  • Step 1
1cd /the-folder-in-which-the-file-is/
3python3 -m http.server
5## Find the ip of your laptop
7hostname -I
  • Step 2

On your phone, open up a browser and head to http://<your-laptop-ip>:8000

it will look something like


Just click on it and it will download it on your phone. Sweet isn’t it ?

8. Open temporary editor to run command

We have all faced this problem when writing long one-liners in bash. So here’s what I do, I press Ctrl+X Ctrl+E and this opens an editor, then you can type your commands here and exit the editor, this will run your command as soon as you exit.


Now you can type bash programs, without worrying to make a mistake

9. Remove bloated directories and clean clutter

We all have some bloated directories, that are taking up too much space, we can clear them out with this tool

1sudo apt install ncdu

Now you can choose your directory (let’s say Work) and then run this command, this will show your the space that is being taken by each directory and you can delete files from inside this interactive command

1cd /your-cluttered-directory
3ncdu .
5# the '.' specifies current directory

It will open up an interactive environment like this:

You can move in and out of directories by using arrow keys and then you can delete the files by pressing the key d. Be careful !! Don’t delete any important files

More options are also available

10. Now wrapping up with some one-liners that I use

 1# Useful one-liners
 3## Find your public ip from the command line
 7## View contents while simultaneously writing it to a file
 9bash | tee file-to-write.txt
11## Run previous command by using two exclaimation marks in the next line
13echo "I want to print this twice"
15!! # This will rerun the last command


So these were (a few of so many) shell tips and tricks I used in my day to day work flow. I will try to make a part two for some advance shell/linux tips and tricks in the future. If you find these helpful you can buy me a beer ;)

Thank you