Bind the bash history methods

Bash is an awesome shell and also very configurable. Some of bash’s build-in functions are not binded to keys, some of which REALLY should be!

Bash has two very useful functions used for searching your bash history:

  • history-search-backward
  • history-search-forward

So the question is how do we bind them. I bound them to Control-<up> and Control-<down>. To do this add the following lines to your ~/.inputrc file:
"\e[1;5A": history-search-backward
"\e[1;5B": history-search-forward

Note: To test it out you can use the bind command for your current shell:
bind "\e[1;5A": history-search-backward

If you want to use a different key combination then you can use the ‘read’ command to print it out, for example runnding the command read, then hitting control-<up>:

matt@wks1005847 ~ $ read

When we bind the key we replace the ‘^[‘ with a ‘\e’ as ‘^[‘ can match the <Escape> key.

3 Replies to “Bind the bash history methods”

  1. What’s the difference between this and just the default C-s / C-r
    history search?

  2. Well the reverse look up allows you to do a reverse search, but if you match something you can’t go back to a further back match.
    I know zsh allows this behavior with its reverse-lookup.

    This allows you to continue matching the command/text you started writing, if that makes sense. Plus I think C-/ is useful as and are already history commands, so this is a good extension.
    Further C-s on my machine suspends my terminal, so.. yeah.

    @Chris: My Fedora machine doesn’t have this mapped, maybe I need to upgrade the 14 then check it out, thanks 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.