Raspberry Pi Bash Command Cheat Sheet

December 10, 2019 | 13:38
Because it is almost impossible to work on the Raspberry Pi, or, for that matter, on Linux in general, without ever needing to enter commands in a terminal, here is a list of frequently used Bash commands. A terminal is that black window in which you can only type text. Sometimes it is also called a Command Line Interface or CLI. The commands you enter here are executed by the command interpreter ‘Bash’.

There are many commands and most commands accept all sorts of parameters and arguments. To find out what a command is all about you can add ‘--help’ (two dashes) to it, e.g.:
rm --help

In the following ‘[path]’ refers to a relative or absolute path. An absolute path starts with ‘/’, e.g.

Please note that the table below is not exhaustive and your favourite commands may be missing. You can add remarks, other commands and tips & tricks as a comment below this article.

Display the name of the current working directory.
List the content of the current directory.
ls [path]
List the content of the specified directory.
ls -l
List the content of the current directory with additional information.
ls -a
List all files including hidden files beginning with ‘.’ (i.e. dotfiles).
cd [path]
Change the current directory to [path].
cd ..
Change to parent directory (note the space between ‘cd’ and ‘..’).
cd /
Change to root directory (note the space between ‘cd’ and ‘/’).
cd ~
Change to home directory (determined by $HOME environment variable).
mkdir [name]
Create the directory [name] in the current working directory.
rmdir [name]
Remove the empty directory [name] from the current working directory.
rm [name]
Remove the specified file.
rm *
Remove all the files from the current working directory.
rm -r *
Remove all the files and directories from the current working directory.
cp [from] [to]
Copy a file from source [from] to destination [to].
cp -r [from] [to]
Copy everything including directories from source [from] to destination [to].
mv [from] [to]
Move a file from source [from] to destination [to].
mv -r [from] [to]
Move everything including directories from source [from] to destination [to].
Search for files matching certain patterns.
sudo [command]
Superuser do. Execute [command] with elevated privileges. Allows you to do things you are not entitled to. Common examples include:
​sudo raspi-config
Launch the Raspberry Pi configuration tool.
sudo reboot
Safely restart your system.
sudo shutdown -h now
Safely shutdown your system now.
sudo apt-get ​install [package]
Install a package.
sudo apt-get update
Update the list of packages without installing anything.
sudo apt-get upgrade
Upgrade the installed packages to the versions obtained with ‘apt-get update’
sudo ​chown pi:root [name]
Change the owner of [name] to 'pi' and set the group to 'root'.
sudo su
Become Superuser for more than one command.
sudo ku
cat [name]
Show the contents of a file.
head [name]
Show the beginning of a file.
tail [name]
Show the end of a file.
chmod [who][+,-,=][permissions] [name]
Change the permissions for a file.
chmod u+x [name]
Add execute permission for the owner of the file.
chmod 777 [name]
Allow every user to read, write and execute the file [name].
tar -cvzf [name] [path]
Create compressed file [name] from the contents in [path].
tar -xvzf [name]
Extract the contents of a compressed file.
wget [uri]
Download a file from the Internet.
man [command]
Show the manual page for a command.
man man
View the manual page of the ‘man’ command.
grep ‘string’ [name]
Search inside one or more files for occurrences of ‘string’.
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