Cheatsheets to Stay Productive in the Command Line

(November 3, 2019)

To stay productive in the command line, I maintain a personal "cheatsheets" repository. There are many commands, or particular options of certain commands, that I don't use often enough for them to become muscle memory, but often enough for manning them or internet searching for "how do I resize an image with imagemagick" to become tedious.

I can recommend following a similar practice to anyone, though I don't recommend using my cheatsheets. They are usually quick notes that follow my own mental shortcuts, and in general are optimized to be quickly understood by me, based solely on my past experiences with these tools. I won't include options that are already obvious to me (if you haven't used git add -p or git rebase -i, you should go learn about them!), and might instead include tools that are already a second language to you (any ffmpeg ninjas out there?).

There are existing tools that aim to improve command line productivity in similar ways, like tldr or cheat. For my personal workflow, I figured that there's no reason to overcomplicate things when tools I already have (vim + git) do the job fine.

Now, for any new UNIX system I intend on spending a lot of time on, I'll git pull in my home directory. When I want to remind myself of a command's use case, or have just figured out a new cool trick that I know I'm going to forget if I don't write it down, my notes are just a vim ~/ch<TAB> away. If I do write any new tips down, a quick git push allows me to keep the cheatsheets synced across all other systems.

If you have any questions or comments about this post or site in general, feel free to email me.