Skip to content
master
Switch branches/tags
Code

Files

Permalink
Failed to load latest commit information.
Type
Name
Latest commit message
Commit time

You Don't Need GUI

Join the community on Spectrum

中文版请看这里

It's for noobs :)

Graphical user interfaces are super friendly to computer users. They were introduced in reaction to the perceived steep learning curve of command-line interfaces (CLIs).

Xerox Star 8010 workstations

However, they often require more resources, are less powerful and hard to automate via scripting.

As a computer expert, we want to be more efficient and do our jobs better. We know that command words may not be easily discoverable or mnemonic, so we try to list some common tasks that you might be tempted to do in GUI.

Quick links

  1. copy a file
  2. duplicate a file
  3. copy a directory
  4. duplicate a directory
  5. move a file
  6. rename a file
  7. move a directory
  8. rename a directory
  9. merge directories
  10. create a new file
  11. create a new directory
  12. show file/directory size
  13. show file/directory info
  14. open a file with the default program
  15. open a file in any application
  16. zip a directory
  17. unzip a directory
  18. peek files in a zip file
  19. remove a file
  20. remove a directory
  21. remove all files of certain criteria
  22. list directory contents
  23. tree view a directory and its subdirectories
  24. find a stale file
  25. show a calendar
  26. find a future date
  27. use a calculator
  28. force quit a program
  29. check server response
  30. view content of a file
  31. search for a text in a file
  32. search in all files in current working directory, quickly (entire disk in less than 15 minutes)
  33. view an image
  34. show disk size
  35. check performance of your computer
  36. know whether your computer is under load, and whether it's due to memory or CPU
  37. poweroff or reboot your computer
  38. locate USB drives
  39. unmount USB drives
  40. format USB drives
  41. check USB format
  42. run command on all files of a directory
  43. Quick tips
  44. Hotkeys
  45. I can't remember these cryptic commands

copy a file

STOP DRAG AND DROPPING A FILE, OR CMD/CTRL + C, CMD/CTRL + V A FILE 👎

Copy readme.txt to the documents directory

$ cp readme.txt documents/

Go to table of contents 🔼

duplicate a file

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND DUPLICATE A FILE 👎

$ cp readme.txt readme.bak.txt

More advanced:

$ cp readme{,.bak}.txt
# Note: learn how the {} works with touch foo{1,2,3}.txt and see what happens.

Go to table of contents 🔼

copy a directory

STOP DRAG AND DROPPING A DIRECTORY, OR CMD/CTRL + C, CMD/CTRL + V A DIRECTORY 👎

Copy myMusic directory to the myMedia directory

$ cp -a myMusic myMedia/
# or
$ cp -a myMusic/ myMedia/myMusic/

Go to table of contents 🔼

duplicate a directory

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND DUPLICATE A DIRECTORY 👎

$ cp -a myMusic/ myMedia/
# or if `myMedia` folder doesn't exist
$ cp -a myMusic myMedia/

Go to table of contents 🔼

move a file

STOP DRAG AND DROPPING A FILE, OR CMD/CTRL + X, CMD/CTRL + V A FILE 👎

$ mv readme.txt documents/

Always use a trailing slash when moving files, for this reason.

Go to table of contents 🔼

rename a file

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND RENAME A FILE 👎

$ mv readme.txt README.md

Go to table of contents 🔼

move a directory

STOP DRAG AND DROPPING A DIRECTORY, OR CMD/CTRL + X, CMD/CTRL + V A DIRECTORY 👎

$ mv myMedia myMusic/
# or
$ mv myMedia/ myMusic/myMedia

Go to table of contents 🔼

rename a directory

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND RENAME A DIRECTORY 👎

$ mv myMedia/ myMusic/

Go to table of contents 🔼

merge directories

STOP DRAG AND DROPPING TO MERGE DIRECTORIES 👎

$ rsync -a /images/ /images2/	# note: may over-write files with the same name, so be careful!

Go to table of contents 🔼

create a new file

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND CREATE A NEW FILE 👎

$ touch 'new file'    # updates the file's access and modification timestamp if it already exists
# or
$ > 'new file'        # note: erases the content if it already exists

Go to table of contents 🔼

create a new directory

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND CREATE A NEW DIRECTORY 👎

$ mkdir 'untitled folder'
# or
$ mkdir -p 'path/may/not/exist/untitled folder'

Go to table of contents 🔼

show file/directory size

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND SHOW FILE/directory INFO 👎

$ du -sh node_modules/

Go to table of contents 🔼

show file/directory info

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND SHOW FILE/DIRECTORY INFO 👎

$ stat -x readme.md   # on macOS
$ stat readme.md      # on Linux

Go to table of contents 🔼

open a file with the default program

STOP DOUBLE CLICKING ON A FILE 👎

$ xdg-open file   # on Linux
$ open file       # on MacOS
$ start file      # on Windows

Go to table of contents 🔼

open a file in any application

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND OPEN WITH 👎

$ open -a appName file

Go to table of contents 🔼

zip a directory

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND COMPRESS DIRECTORY 👎

$ zip -r archive_name.zip folder_to_compress

Go to table of contents 🔼

unzip a directory

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND UNCOMPRESS DIRECTORY 👎

$ unzip archive_name.zip

Go to table of contents 🔼

decompress files of any format

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND UNCOMPRESS DIRECTORY 👎

$ unar archive_name.zip
$ unar archive_name.7z
$ unar archive_name.rar
$ unar archive_name.ISO
$ unar archive_name.tar.gz

Go to table of contents 🔼

peek files in a zip file

STOP USING WinRAR 👎

$ zipinfo archive_name.zip
# or
$ unzip -l archive_name.zip

Go to table of contents 🔼

peek files in a compress file of any format

STOP USING WinRAR 👎

$ lsar -l archive_name.zip
$ lsar -l archive_name.7z
$ lsar -l archive_name.ISO
$ lsar -l archive_name.rar
$ lsar -l archive_name.tar.gz

Go to table of contents 🔼

remove a file

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND DELETE A FILE PERMANENTLY 👎

$ rm my_useless_file

IMPORTANT: The rm command deletes my_useless_file permanently, which is equivalent to move my_useless_file to Recycle Bin and hit Empty Recycle Bin.

Go to table of contents 🔼

remove a directory

STOP RIGHT CLICKING AND DELETE A DIRECTORY PERMANENTLY 👎

$ rm -r my_useless_folder

Go to table of contents 🔼

remove all files of certain criteria

find . -name "*.bak" -type f -delete

IMPORTANT: run find . -name "*.bak" -type f first to see exactly which files you will remove.

Go to table of contents 🔼

list directory contents

STOP OPENING YOUR FINDER OR FILE EXPLORER 👎

$ ls my_folder        # Simple
$ ls -la my_folder    # -l: show in list format. -a: show all files, including hidden. -la combines those options.
$ ls -alrth my_folder # -r: reverse output. -t: sort by time (modified). -h: output human-readable sizes.

Go to table of contents 🔼

tree view a directory and its subdirectories

STOP OPENING YOUR FINDER OR FILE EXPLORER 👎

$ tree                                                        # on Linux
$ find . -print | sed -e 's;[^/]*/;|____;g;s;____|; |;g'      # on MacOS
# Note: install homebrew (https://brew.sh) to be able to use (some) Linux utilities such as tree.
# brew install tree

Go to table of contents 🔼

find a stale file

STOP USING YOUR FILE EXPLORER TO FIND A FILE 👎

Find all files modified more than 5 days ago

$ find my_folder -mtime +5

Go to table of contents 🔼

show a calendar

STOP LOOKING UP WHAT THIS MONTH LOOKS LIKE BY CALENDAR WIDGETS 👎

Display a text calendar

$ cal

Display selected month and year calendar

$ cal 11 2018

Go to table of contents 🔼

find a future date

STOP USING WEBAPPS TO CALCULATE FUTURE DATES 👎

What is todays date?

$ date +%m/%d/%Y

What about a week from now?

$ date -d "+7 days"                                           # on Linux
$ date -j -v+7d                                               # on MacOS

Go to table of contents 🔼

use a calculator

STOP USING CALCULATOR WIDGET 👎

$ bc -l

Go to table of contents 🔼

force quit a program

STOP CTRL + ALT + DELETE and choose the program to kill 👎

$ killall -9 program_name

Go to table of contents 🔼

check server response

STOP OPENING A BROWSER 👎

curl -i umair.surge.sh
# curl's -i (--include) option includes HTTP response headers in its output.

Go to table of contents 🔼

view content of a file

STOP DOUBLE CLICKING A FILE 👎

$ cat apps/settings.py
# if the file is too big to fit on one page, you can use a 'pager' (less) which shows you one page at a time.
$ less apps/settings.py

Go to table of contents 🔼

search for a text in a file

STOP CMD/CTRL + F IN A FILE 👎

$ grep -i "Query" file.txt

grep

Go to table of contents 🔼

search in all files in current working directory, quickly (entire disk in less than 15 minutes)

STOP CMD/CTRL + F IN A DIRECTORY 👎

$ ripgrep -i "Query"
# brew install ripgrep

Go to table of contents 🔼

view an image

STOP USING PREVIEW 👎

$ imgcat image.png
# Note: requires iTerm2 terminal.

Go to table of contents 🔼

show disk size

STOP RIGHT CLICKING DISK ICON OR OPENING DISK UTILITY 👎

$ df -h

Go to table of contents 🔼

check performance of your computer

STOP OPENING YOUR ACTIVITY MONITOR OR TASK MANAGER 👎

$ top

Go to table of contents 🔼

know whether your computer is under load, and whether it's due to memory or CPU

$ glances
# brew install glances

Go to table of contents 🔼

poweroff or reboot your computer

This can be useful when you're patching a server that is acessed via SSH and you don't have a GUI.

# poweroff
sudo shutdown -h now
# reboot
sudo shutdown -r now

Go to table of contents 🔼

locate USB drives

$ df

Go to table of contents 🔼

unmount USB drives

$ sudo umount /dev/sdb1

Go to table of contents 🔼

format USB drives

# FAT32
$ sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdb1
# NTFS
$ sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1
# exFAT
$ sudo mkfs.exfat /dev/sdb1

Go to table of contents 🔼

check USB format

sudo fsck /dev/sdb1

Go to table of contents 🔼

run command on all files of a directory

STOP CLICKING THE FILES ONE BY ONE 👎

for FILE in *; do echo $FILE; done

Go to table of contents 🔼

Quick tips

CLI tips

Go to table of contents 🔼

Hotkeys

Ctrl + A  Go to the beginning of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + E  Go to the end of the line you are currently typing on
Ctrl + L  Clears the Screen, similar to the clear command
Ctrl + U  Clears the line before the cursor position. If you are at the end of the line, clears the entire line.
Ctrl + H  Same as backspace
Ctrl + R  Lets you search through previously used commands
Ctrl + C  Kill whatever you are running
Ctrl + D  Exit the current shell
Ctrl + Z  Puts whatever you are running into a suspended background process. fg restores it.
Ctrl + W  Delete the word before the cursor
Ctrl + K  Clear the line after the cursor
Ctrl + T  Swap the last two characters before the cursor
Ctrl + F  Move cursor forward one character
Ctrl + B  Move cursor backward one character
Esc + T   Swap the last two words before the cursor
Alt + T   Same as Esc + T
Alt + F   Move cursor forward one word on the current line
Alt + B   Move cursor backward one word on the current line
Esc + F   Same as Alt + F
Esc + B   Same as Alt + B
Alt + .   Paste the last word of the most recently command
Tab       Auto-complete files and directory names

Go to table of contents 🔼

I can't remember these cryptic commands

You can always google or man the commands you are not familiar with. Or, checkout tldr, a collection of simplified and community-driven man pages.

Go to table of contents 🔼