history, fc - process command history list
/usr/bin/fc [ first [last]]
/usr/bin/fc -l [-nr] [ first [last]]
/usr/bin/fc -s [ old = new] [first]
history [-hr] [n]
fc -e - [ old = new] [command]
fc [-e ename] [-nlr] [ first [last]]
The fc utility lists or edits and reexecutes, commands pre-
viously entered to an interactive sh.
The command history list references commands by number. The
first number in the list is selected arbitrarily. The rela-
tionship of a number to its command will not change except
when the user logs in and no other process is accessing the
list, at which time the system may reset the numbering to
start the oldest retained command at another number (usually
1). When the number reaches the value in HISTSIZE or 128
(whichever is greater), the shell may wrap the numbers,
starting the next command with a lower number (usually 1).
However, despite this optional wrapping of numbers, fc will
maintain the time-ordering sequence of the commands. For
example, if four commands in sequence are given the numbers
32766, 32767, 1 (wrapped), and 2 as they are executed, com-
mand 32767 is considered the command previous to 1, even
though its number is higher.
When commands are edited (when the -l option is not speci-
fied), the resulting lines will be entered at the end of the
history list and then reexecuted by sh. The fc command that
caused the editing will not be entered into the history
list. If the editor returns a non-zero exit status, this
will suppress the entry into the history list and the com-
mand reexecution. Any command-line variable assignments or
redirection operators used with fc will affect both the fc
command itself as well as the command that results, for
fc -s -- -1 2>/dev/null
reinvokes the previous command, suppressing standard error
for both fc and the previous command.
Display the history list; if n is given, display only the n
most recent events.
-r Reverse the order of printout to be most recent first
rather than oldest first.
-h Display the history list without leading numbers. This
is used to produce files suitable for sourcing using
the -h option to the csh built-in command, source(1).
History substitution allows you to use words from previous
command lines in the command line you are typing. This sim-
plifies spelling corrections and the repetition of compli-
cated commands or arguments. Command lines are saved in the
history list, the size of which is controlled by the history
variable. The history shell variable may be set to the max-
imum number of command lines that will be saved in the his-
tory file; i.e.:
set history = 200
will allow the history list to keep track of the most recent
200 command lines. If not set, the C shell saves only the
most recent command.
A history substitution begins with a ! (although you can
change this with the histchars variable) and may occur any-
where on the command line; history substitutions do not
nest. The ! can be escaped with \ to suppress its special
Input lines containing history substitutions are echoed on
the terminal after being expanded, but before any other sub-
stitutions take place or the command gets executed.
An event designator is a reference to a command line entry
in the history list.
! Start a history substitution, except when followed by
a space character, tab, newline, = or (.
!! Refer to the previous command. By itself, this substi-
tution repeats the previous command.
!n Refer to command line n.
!-n Refer to the current command line minus n.
!str Refer to the most recent command starting with str.
Refer to the most recent command containing str.
Refer to the most recent command containing str and
append additional to that referenced command.
Refer to the most recent command beginning with com-
mand and append additional to that referenced command.
Repeat the previous command line replacing the string
previous_word with the string replacement. This is
equivalent to the history substitution:
To re-execute a specific previous command AND make
such a substitution, say, re-executing command #6,
A `:' (colon) separates the event specification from the
word designator. 2It can be omitted if the word designator
begins with a ^, $, *, - or %. If the word is to be selected
from the previous command, the second ! character can be
omitted from the event specification. For instance, !!:1
and !:1 both refer to the first word of the previous com-
mand, while !!$ and !$ both refer to the last word in the
previous command. Word designators include:
# The entire command line typed so far.
0 The first input word (command).
n The n'th argument.
^ The first argument, that is, 1.
$ The last argument.
% The word matched by (the most recent) ?s search.
x-y A range of words; -y abbreviates 0-y.
* All the arguments, or a null value if there is
just one word in the event.
x* Abbreviates x-$.
x- Like x* but omitting word $.
After the optional word designator, you can add a sequence
of one or more of the following modifiers, each preceded by
h Remove a trailing pathname component, leaving the
r Remove a trailing suffix of the form `.xxx', leaving
e Remove all but the suffix, leaving the extension.
replacements for oldchars. oldchars is a string that
may contain embedded blank spaces, whereas
previous_word in the event designator
t Remove all leading pathname components, leaving
& Repeat the previous substitution.
g Apply the change to the first occurrence of a
match in each word, by prefixing the above (for
p Print the new command but do not execute it.
q Quote the substituted words, escaping further
x Like q, but break into words at each space char-
acter, tab or newline.
Unless preceded by a g, the modification is applied
only to the first string that matches oldchars; an
error results if no string matches.
The left-hand side of substitutions are not regular
expressions, but character strings. Any character can
be used as the delimiter in place of /. A backslash
quotes the delimiter character. The character &, in
the right hand side, is replaced by the text from the
left-hand-side. The & can be quoted with a backslash.
A null oldchars uses the previous string either from a
oldchars or from a contextual scan string s from !?s.
You can omit the rightmost delimiter if a newline
immediately follows replacements; the rightmost ? in a
context scan can similarly be omitted.
Without an event specification, a history reference
refers either to the previous command, or to a previ-
ous history reference on the command line (if any).
Using fc, in the form of
fc -e - [ old=new ] [ command ],
the command is re-executed after the substitution old=new is
performed. If there is not a command argument, the most
recent command typed at this terminal is executed.
Using fc in the form of
fc [ -e ename ] [ -nlr ] [ first [ last ] ],
a range of commands from first to last is selected from the
last HISTSIZE commands that were typed at the terminal. The
arguments first and last may be specified as a number or as
a string. A string is used to locate the most recent command
starting with the given string. A negative number is used
as an offset to the current command number. If the -l flag
is selected, the commands are listed on standard output.
Otherwise, the editor program -e name is invoked on a file
containing these keyboard commands. If ename is not sup-
plied, then the value of the variable FCEDIT (default
/bin/ed) is used as the editor. When editing is complete,
the edited command(s) is executed. If last is not specified
then it will be set to first. If first is not specified the
default is the previous command for editing and -16 for
The flag -r reverses the order of the commands and the flag
-n suppresses command numbers when listing. (See ksh(1) for
more about command line editing.)
If this variable is set when the shell is invoked,
then the value is the pathname of the file that will
be used to store the command history.
If this variable is set when the shell is invoked,
then the number of previously entered commands that
are accessible by this shell will be greater than or
equal to this number. The default is 128.
The text of the last HISTSIZE (default 128) commands entered
from a terminal device is saved in a history file. The file
$HOME/.sh_history is used if the HISTFILE variable is not
set or if the file it names is not writable. A shell can
access the commands of all interactive shells which use the
same named HISTFILE. The special command fc is used to list
or edit a portion of this file. The portion of the file to
be edited or listed can be selected by number or by giving
the first character or characters of the command. A single
command or range of commands can be specified. If you do not
specify an editor program as an argument to fc then the
value of the variable FCEDIT is used. If FCEDIT is not
defined then /bin/ed is used. The edited command(s) is
printed and re-executed upon leaving the editor. The editor
name - is used to skip the editing phase and to re-execute
the command. In this case a substitution parameter of the
form old=new can be used to modify the command before execu-
tion. For example, if r is aliased to 'fc -e - ' then typ-
ing `r bad=good c' will re-execute the most recent command
which starts with the letter c, replacing the first
occurrence of the string bad with the string good.
Using the fc built-in command within a compound command will
cause the whole command to disappear from the history file.
The following options are supported:
Use the editor named by editor to edit the com-
mands. The editor string is a utility name, sub-
ject to search via the PATH variable. The value
in the FCEDIT variable is used as a default when
-e is not specified. If FCEDIT is null or unset,
ed will be used as the editor.
-l (The letter ell.) List the commands rather than
invoking an editor on them. The commands will be
written in the sequence indicated by the first
and last operands, as affected by -r, with each
command preceded by the command number.
-n Suppress command numbers when listing with -l.
-r Reverse the order of the commands listed (with -l
) or edited (with neither -l nor -s).
-s Re-execute the command without invoking an edi-
The following operands are supported:
last Select the commands to list or edit. The number of
previous commands that can be accessed is determined
by the value of the HISTSIZE variable. The value of
first or last or both will be one of the following:
A positive number representing a command number;
command numbers can be displayed with the -l
A negative decimal number representing the com-
mand that was executed number of commands previ-
ously. For example, -1 is the immediately previ-
A string indicating the most recently entered
command that begins with that string. If the
old=new operand is not also specified with -s,
the string form of the first operand cannot con-
tain an embedded equal sign.
When the synopsis form with -s is used:
o If first is omitted, the previous
command will be used.
For the synopsis forms without -s :
o If last is omitted, last defaults to
the previous command when -l is
specified; otherwise, it defaults to
o If first and last are both omitted,
the previous 16 commands will be
listed or the previous single command
will be edited (based on the -l
o If first and last are both present,
all of the commands from first to
last will be edited (without -l ) or
listed (with -l). Editing multiple
commands will be accomplished by
presenting to the editor all of the
commands at one time, each command
starting on a new line. If first
represents a newer command than last,
the commands will be listed or edited
in reverse sequence, equivalent to
using -r . For example, the following
commands on the first line are
equivalent to the corresponding com-
mands on the second:
fc -r 10 20 fc 30 40
fc 20 10 fc -r 40 30
o When a range of commands is
used, it will not be an error
to specify first or last values
that are not in the history
list; fc will substitute the
value representing the oldest
or newest command in the list,
as appropriate. For example, if
there are only ten commands in
the history list, numbered 1 to
fc 1 99
will list and edit, respec-
tively, all ten commands.
Replace the first occurrence of
string old in the commands to be
reexecuted by the string new.
When the -l option is used to list commands, the format of
each command in the list is as follows:
"%d\t%s\n", <line number>, <command>
If both the -l and -n options are specified, the format of
each command is:
If the commandcommand consists of more than one line, the
lines after the first are displayed as:
Example 1: Using history and fc
% history $ fc -l
1 cd /etc 1 cd /etc
2 vi passwd 2 vi passwd
3 date 3 date
4 cd 4 cd
5 du . 5 du .
6 ls -t 6 ls -t
7 history 7 fc -l
% !d $ fc -e - d
du . du .
262 ./SCCS 262 ./SCCS
336 . 336 .
% !da $ fc -e - da
Thu Jul 21 17:29:56 PDT 1994 Thu Jul 21 17:29:56 PDT 1994
% $ alias \!='fc -e -'
% !! $ !
date alias ='fc -e -'
Thu Jul 21 17:29:56 PDT 1994
See environ(5) for descriptions of the following environment
variables that affect the execution of fc: LC_CTYPE,
LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.
This variable, when expanded by the shell, determines
the default value for the e editor option's editor
option-argument. If FCEDIT is null or unset, ed will
be used as the editor.
Determine a pathname naming a command history file. If
the HISTFILE variable is not set, the shell may
attempt to access or create a file .sh_history in the
user's home directory. If the shell cannot obtain both
read and write access to, or create, the history file,
it will use an unspecified mechanism that allows the
history to operate properly. (References to history
``file'' in this section are understood to mean this
unspecified mechanism in such cases.) fc may choose to
access this variable only when initializing the his-
tory file; this initialization will occur when fc or
sh first attempt to retrieve entries from, or add
entries to, the file, as the result of commands issued
by the user, the file named by the ENV variable, or a
system startup file such as /etc/profile. (The ini-
tialization process for the history file can be depen-
dent on the system startup files, in that they may
contain commands that will effectively preempt the
user's settings of HISTFILE and HISTSIZE. For example,
function definition commands are recorded in the his-
tory file, unless the set -o nolog option is set. If
the system administrator includes function definitions
in some system startup file called before the ENV
file, the history file will be initialized before the
user gets a chance to influence its characteristics.)
The variable HISTFILE is accessed initially when the
shell is invoked. Any changes to HISTFILE will not
take effect until another shell is invoked.
Determine a decimal number representing the limit to
the number of previous commands that are accessible.
If this variable is unset, an unspecified default
greater than or equal to 128 will be used. The vari-
able HISTSIZE is accessed initially when the shell is
invoked. Any changes to HISTSIZE will not take effect
until another shell is invoked.
The following exit values are returned:
0 Successful completion of the listing.
>0 An error occurred.
Otherwise, the exit status will be that of the commands exe-
cuted by fc.
See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following attri-
| ATTRIBUTE TYPE | ATTRIBUTE VALUE |
| Availability | SUNWcsu |
csh(1), ed(1), ksh(1), set(1), set(1F), sh(1), source(1),
Man(1) output converted with