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Command line assistance

One of the problems with using typed commands for doing things on a computer is that you need to know the command – you can’t just browse a list to find one. That particular problem has been tackled. The How-To-Geek describes How to Get Help With a Command from the Linux Terminal: 8 Tricks for Beginners & Pros Alike.

First up is a command option. The ‘-h’ for a help screen is rather standard as a quick way to learn about the command.

If you almost know the command name, you can use tab completion to see a list of commands that start with the first few letters you type.

If the command isn’t installed, Ubuntu will often tell you the package you need to install if you try to invoke it.

The bash help command, the man pages, and the info pages are also resources to help find commands and their options. You can run the output of man through grep to pick out those lines with a key phrase or term you are looking for.

The apropos or man -k commands search the man pages to help you find references to key phrase and locate a specific command.

the whatis command will provide a short description of what a command does from its man page.

If all else fails, an I’net search can provide enough material to keep you busy for months trying to figure out what really fits what you want to do.

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