Command Line Fun (Raspberry Pi / Mac OS X Terminal)

sudo apt-get install git

The command line / Terminal is a fantastically powerful piece of technology and today I am going to share some of the shortcuts / facts I have learned to help speed up your usage of it. These shortcuts / facts should work on a Raspberry Pi, most Linux systems and Mac OS X’s Terminal.



Lists all the files and folders in the current directory


Changes to another directory e.g. If you were in /Pi/Home/ and wanted to go to /Pi/Home/MagPi/ then cd MagPi

Command Switches

Switches generally come after a command for example in:

ping -c 5 

ping is the command and -c is the switch. Single letter swithces are prefixed with – ,whilst switches that are words are prefixed with –.

A single -letter switch

For example the version switch for the git command starts with — as the switch is a whole word:

git –version

A --whole word switch
A –whole word switch

And as seen above the count (c) switch for the ping command starts with one – as is is a single letter switch.

Clearing The Screen

pre- clear command
pre- clear command

Sometimes there is so much data in the terminal window that it easy to get lost. Using the clear command will wipe the screen.

Post clear command


If your navigating around using the cd (Change Directory) command and don’t know where you have ended up then use pwd to get the terminal to tell you which working directory you are currently in.


Want to see what commands you have recently used? Hit the up arrow and you can browse through them. Very useful if you have mistyped a command.

Keyboard Shortcuts

When using the history command it can be a little tedious getting to a certain point in a command if you have to rely on the left and right arrow keys, thankfully there are some keyboard shortcuts:

ctrl a moves the cursor to the beginning of the command

ctrl e moves the cursor to the end of the command

ctrl h deletes the character to the left of the cursor

ctrl u deletes everything to the left of the cursor

ctrl d deletes the character currently underneath the cursor

ctrl k deletes everything to the right of the cursor