Linux Basic Commands Cheat Sheet Quick Review for Linux Shell / Terminal / Console.

Print Working Directory

Print the name of the current working directory
[root@techbrown~]# pwd

List of Files and Directories

To see the list of files and directories
[root@techbrown~]# ls <options> <arguments>

-l – Long list including attributes
-a – All files and directories including hidden
-d – For a particular file or directory
-R – Recursive to see the tree structure

Creation of files

Files can be created by using any of the three methods given below:

  • Cat command
  • Touch command
  • Vi editor
Cat (Concatenation) Command
Creating and displayed text files
[root@techbrown~]# cat <option> <arguments><filesname>
To create a file
[root@techbrown~]# cat > <filename>
To view the contents of a file
[root@techbrown~]# cat <files=name>
To append or add to an existing file
[root@techbrown~]# cat >> <filename>
To combines the data of two or more files into a third file
[root@techbrown~]# cat <first file> <second file> >> <third file>
Touch Command
To create a zero byte file
[root@techbrown~]# touch <filename>
To create multiple zero byte files
[root@techbrown~]# touch <first file> <second file> <third file>
To change the time stamp of a file or directory
[root@techbrown~]# touch <directory or filename>
Vi Editor
To create file
[root@techbrown~]# vi <filename>

Creating Directories

To create a directory
[root@techbrown~]# mkdir <directory name>
To create multiple directories
[root@techbrown~]# mkdir <first dir> <second dir> <third dir>
To create nested directories
[root@techbrown~]# mkdir –p <first dir>/<second dir>/<third dir>
Navigation of Directories
To change the directory
[root@techbrown~]# cd <path of the directory>
To change directory one level back
[root@techbrown~]# cd ..
To change directory two levels back
[root@techbrown~]# cd ../..
To change to the last working directory
[root@techbrown~]# cd –
To change to the users home directory
[root@techbrown~]# cd

Help or Manual Page

To view the manual page of a command
[root@techbrown~]# man <command>


To copy a file or directory
[root@techbrown~]# cp <options> <source file> <destination>

-r – Recursive (to copy the directory along with its contents)
-v – Verbose
-p – Copy with permissions

Moving and Renaming

To move a file or directory to a different location
[root@techbrown~]# mv <source file or directory> <destination>
Rename a file or directory
[root@techbrown~]# mv <old name> <new name>


To remove or delete an empty directory
[root@techbrown~]# rmdir <directory name>
To remove or delete a file or directory
[root@techbrown~]# rm <option> <file or directory name>

-r – Recursive (directory along with contents)
-f – forcefully

Some other commands

To see the date
[root@techbrown~]# date
To see the calendar
[root@techbrown~]# cal

File Viewing Commands

To view the contents o f a file screen-wise
[root@techbrown~]# less <file name>
To view the top lines of a file
[root@techbrown~]# head <filename>
[root@techbrown~]# head -5 <filename>
To view the bottom line of a file
[root@techbrown~]# tail <filename>
[root@techbrown~]# tail -3 <filename>

VI editor modes

VI editor has three modes of operations

  • Command Mode
  • Insert mode
  • Ex Mode (Extended Command Mode)
Insert Mode

I – Insert the text at the current cursor position.
l – Insert the text in beginning of a line
a – Adds the text after the current cursor position
A – Adds the text at the end of a line
o – Insert the text one line below current cursor position
O – Insert the text one line above current cursor position

Ex mode

:q – Quit without saving
:q! – Quit forcefully without saving
:w – Write (save)
:wq – Save and quit
:wq! – Save and quit forcefully
:se nu – sets line numbers
:se nonu– Remove line numbers
:84 – The cursor goes to line 84

Command Mode

dd – Deletes a line
ndd – Deletes ‘n’ lines
yy – Copies a line
nyy – Copies ‘n’ lines
p – Put (pastes the deleted or copied text)
u – Undo(you can undo 1000 times)
G – Moves the cursor to the last line of the file

That’s all for now.

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