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In Ubuntu 12.04 I use CTRL-R to enter a reverse history search. If the command I want is not found (after repeated CTRL-R), how do I immediately exit back to the (empty) command prompt with no historical command entered or executed on the command line?

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up vote 17 down vote accepted

CtrlG this will abort the search

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You can use:

  • The Emacs style keyboard quit command, Ctrl-G. Default key bindings in bash are purposefully Emacs-like.
  • The Vi style return to normal mode key bindings, Esc or Ctrl-[ (they're the same thing) .
  • Send a SIGKILL signal, Ctrl-C.

The first two have the least visible effect.

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{Grin} You can prevent the display of "^C" if you add stty -ctlecho to your startup files (.bashrc,.profile,.zshrc, etc) Now ALL three methods have least visible effect. – lornix Jul 14 '12 at 17:39
for some reason Esc and Ctrl-C do not work on the Ubuntu systems I have tried (including my current 12.04). – MountainX Jul 15 '12 at 17:52
@lornix: I like to have visual feedback of Ctrl-C. Just imagine the psychological impact of pressing Ctrl-C before submitting a command like rm -rf / (extreme example), going away, then coming back to the terminal. There's practical joke potential in this, of course. – Alexios Oct 8 '12 at 7:51

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