Linux – How to change bash history completion to complete what’s already on the line


I found a command a couple of months ago that made my bash history auto-complete on what's already on the line when pressing the up arrow:

$ vim fi


$ vim

I'd like to set this up on my new computer, because it saves a lot of time when keeping a big history. The problem is that I can't for the life of me remember where it was mentioned and reading through endless bash references and tutorials unfortunately didn't help either.

Does anybody know the command?

Best Answer

Probably something like

# ~/.inputrc
"\e[A": history-search-backward
"\e[B": history-search-forward

or equivalently,

# ~/.bashrc
if [[ $- == *i* ]]
    bind '"\e[A": history-search-backward'
    bind '"\e[B": history-search-forward'

(the if statement checks for interactive mode)

Normally, Up and Down are bound to the Readline functions previous-history and next-history respectively. I prefer to bind PgUp/PgDn to these functions, instead of displacing the normal operation of Up/Down.

# ~/.inputrc
"\e[5~": history-search-backward
"\e[6~": history-search-forward

After you modify ~/.inputrc, restart your shell or use Ctrl+X, Ctrl+R to tell it to re-read ~/.inputrc.

By the way, if you're looking for relevant documentation:

Bash uses The GNU Readline Library for the shell prompt and history.