How To Easily Recall Forgotten Linux Commands

Recall Forgotten Linux Commands

There are thousands of Linux commands, and remembering all of them is absolutely impossible. Also, it is not necessary though. At times, my mind goes completely blank and I couldn’t remember a particular command. I keep looking at the Terminal and try to remember the command, but can’t. If you are anything like me, I’ve got a good news for you. Thanks to Apropos command and BASH history that helps me to easily recall forgotten Linux commands. Apropos is a Linux command that searches the manual page names and descriptions by using a given keyword or string. It comes pre-installed in most Linux distributions and usage is very easy.

The Apropos command – Easily Recall Forgotten Linux Commands

Let say you forgot the command to list the contents of a directory. Let us see if apropos can help us in this regard.

apropos "list directory"

Sample output would be:apropos

See? The apropos command is displaying the list if suggested commands that matches for the search string. As you see in the example, we can use “dir” command to list a directory contents.

I know it is easy to remember “dir” command, but i used it to demonstrate the purpose of Apropos command. You can use any search string. But, some times you need to be more specific when using search strings. For example, the following command will display all commands that contains the word “list”.

apropos "list"

In such cases, apropos will not help you to find what you’re looking for.

Let me show you another example. Want to find the Kernel but you forgot the actual command? Here is how you can find it.

apropos "kernel"

Or, run it with out quotes.

apropos "kernel"


In this case, we can use “uname” command to know the details of Linux Kernel.

Please note that you must use quotes when the search string has more than one word.

I forgot the command to access my remote system? What to do? No worries! Use the following command to find out what it is!!

apropos "remote"

Be mindful that the Apropos command will display all possible commands that has the search string in their description. So, you might have to scroll through the results and pick the command that suits you.

For more details, refer man pages.

man apropos

OK, I forgot some lengthy commands that I used few days ago, how to remember them?

No problem. I know a few ways to remember the forgotten Linux commands.

Do a quick reverse search by pressing “CTRL+R” and type the first few letters of the command you’re looking for. You will see the list of suggested commands from the bash history. Use UP/DOWN arrow keys to navigate through commands. Once you find out the actual command, press TAB or right arrow key to choose that command press ENTER key to execute.

Alternatively, you can save or bookmark the important and frequently used commands, so you can use them later without having to search on websites or man pages. Refer the following links for more details.

And, that’s all for now. Hope this helps. If you know any other method to easily recall or remember a command, please feel free to let me know in the comment section below. More good stuffs to come. Stay tuned!


Thanks for stopping by!

Help us to help you:

Have a Good day!!

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.