Bash's powerful command line editing in cmd.exe
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Latest commit d565ad4 Jul 13, 2016 @mridgers Updated changelog.


Clink combines the native Windows shell cmd.exe with the powerful command line editing features of the GNU Readline library, which provides rich completion, history, and line-editing capabilities. Readline is best known for its use in the well-known Unix shell Bash, the standard shell for Mac OS X and many Linux distributions.


Downloads for the latest release of Clink can be found here.


  • The same line editing as Bash (from GNU's Readline library).
  • History persistence between sessions.
  • Context sensitive completion;
    • Executables (and aliases).
    • Directory commands.
    • Environment variables
    • Thirdparty tools; Git, Mercurial, SVN, Go, and P4.
  • New keyboard shortcuts;
    • Paste from clipboard (Ctrl-V).
    • Incremental history search (Ctrl-R/Ctrl-S).
    • Powerful completion (TAB).
    • Undo (Ctrl-Z).
    • Automatic "cd .." (Ctrl-PgUp).
    • Environment variable expansion (Ctrl-Alt-E).
    • (press Alt-H for many more...)
  • Scriptable completion with Lua.
  • Coloured and scriptable prompt.
  • Auto-answering of the "Terminate batch job?" prompt.


There are a variety of ways to start Clink;

  1. If you installed the auto-run, just start cmd.exe. Run clink autorun --help for more info.
  2. To manually start, run the Clink shortcut from the Start menu (or the clink.bat located in the install directory).
  3. To establish Clink to an existing cmd.exe process, use "<install_dir>\clink.exe inject"

Extending Clink

Clink can be extended through its Lua API which allows easy creation context sensitive match generators, prompt filtering, and more. More details can be found in Clink's documentation which can be found here.

Building Clink

Clink's uses Premake to generate Visual Studio solutions or makefiles for MinGW. Note that Premake >= 5.0-alpha8 is required.

  1. Cd to your clone of Clink.
  2. Run "premake <toolchain>" (where "<toolchain>" is one of Premake's actions - see "premake --help")
  3. Build scripts will be generated in ".build\<toolchain>\". For example; .build\vs2013\clink.sln.
  4. Call your toolchain of choice (VS, mingw32-make.exe, msbuild.exe, etc). GNU makefiles (Premake's gmake target) have a help target for more info.

Development Builds

Periodic builds from the Git repository can be found here.


Clink is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License v3.0.


The list below can also be displayed within Clink by pressing Alt-h. More information on the Readline functions can be found in the Readline manual.

Hotkey Readline function
Ctrl-@ set-mark
Ctrl-a beginning-of-line
Ctrl-b backward-char
Ctrl-c ctrl-c
Ctrl-d delete-char
Ctrl-e end-of-line
Ctrl-f forward-char
Ctrl-g abort
Ctrl-h backward-delete-char
Ctrl-i clink-completion-shim
Ctrl-j accept-line
Ctrl-k kill-line
Ctrl-l clear-screen
Ctrl-m accept-line
Ctrl-n next-history
Ctrl-p previous-history
Ctrl-q reload-lua-state
Ctrl-r reverse-search-history
Ctrl-s forward-search-history
Ctrl-t transpose-chars
Ctrl-u unix-line-discard
Ctrl-v paste-from-clipboard
Ctrl-w unix-word-rubout
Ctrl-y yank
Ctrl-z undo
Ctrl-] character-search
Ctrl-_ undo
Ctrl-Alt-c copy-line-to-clipboard
Ctrl-Alt-e expand-env-vars
Ctrl-Alt-g abort
Ctrl-Alt-h backward-kill-word
Ctrl-Alt-i tab-insert
Ctrl-Alt-j vi-editing-mode
Ctrl-Alt-m vi-editing-mode
Ctrl-Alt-r revert-line
Ctrl-Alt-u up-directory
Ctrl-Alt-y yank-nth-arg
Ctrl-Alt-[ complete
Ctrl-Alt-] character-search-backward
Alt- set-mark
Alt-# insert-comment
Alt-& tilde-expand
Alt-* insert-completions
Alt-- digit-argument
Alt-. yank-last-arg
Alt-[0-9] digit-argument
Alt-< beginning-of-history
Alt-= possible-completions
Alt-> end-of-history
Alt-? possible-completions
Alt-\ delete-horizontal-space
Alt-_ yank-last-arg
Alt-b backward-word
Alt-c capitalize-word
Alt-d kill-word
Alt-f forward-word
Alt-h show-rl-help
Alt-l downcase-word
Alt-n non-incremental-forward-search-history
Alt-p non-incremental-reverse-search-history
Alt-r revert-line
Alt-t transpose-words
Alt-u upcase-word
Alt-y yank-pop
Alt-~ tilde-expand
Ctrl-x,Ctrl-g abort
Ctrl-x,Ctrl-r re-read-init-file
Ctrl-x,Ctrl-u undo
Ctrl-x,Ctrl-x exchange-point-and-mark
Ctrl-x,( start-kbd-macro
Ctrl-x,) end-kbd-macro
Ctrl-x,e call-last-kbd-macro