I am typing a command, I remember I have to check something, if I press Ctrl+U the command disappears and I can type something else, but then the command I was typing is not in the history.

Is there a way to recover that command, or a different shortcut that I can press to save somewhere the command?

  • Another way to solve that would be to have a tabbed terminal. Just open a new tab. Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 22:52
  • @EmanuelBerg I know, I asked this question so I could stop doing that, I use guake and it is impossible to see which tab is open.
    – michelpm
    Commented May 1, 2013 at 13:46

3 Answers 3


Take a look at the push-line ZLE command. This command pushes the current contents of the line onto the buffer stack and clears the line. You can then enter another command and when ZLE starts up again, the line is popped from the buffer stack into the line buffer.

prompt@world$ cp abc /mnt/usr/bin       # The user presses Esc-q
prompt@world$                           # The line is cleared
prompt@world$ mount -v /dev/sdb1 /mnt   # And the user can enter another command
mount: /dev/sdb1 mounted on /mnt
prompt@world$ cp abc /mnt/usr/bin
# The first command is popped off of the stack
#  as soon as ZLE comes back.

By default, this command is bound to Alt/Escq in emacs mode. You can bind this command to a different key with the bindkey command. For example, in order to bind it to Alt/Escv, add bindkey '^[V' push-line to your zshrc.

  • Liked this one even better! Comment something so I can upvote you again ;D
    – michelpm
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 17:59
  • Thank you, but upvotes on comments don't give reputation points.
    – user26112
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 19:15
  • I was just kidding, didn't notice I was blinking? ;D
    – michelpm
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 19:30

Ctrl+Y will paste the last item you cut (with Ctrl+U, Ctrl+K, Ctrl+W, etc.).

  • 2
    ...And `Alt + y' will cycle though all you previously yanked
    – yPhil
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 13:56
  • Thanks a bunch! Ctrl+K and Alt+Y didn't work on zsh 5.0.0 (Ubuntu 13.04 x86_64).
    – michelpm
    Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 14:16
  • @michelpm: Yeah? Try zsh --version. I have zsh 4.3.17 (i686-pc-linux-gnu) and it works for me. (Edit: Oh. That's what you did.) Commented Apr 30, 2013 at 22:51

You're looking for the push-line command, which is bound to Ctrl+Q and Esc Q by default. This command clears the input and lets you enter another command; once you've executed or canceled this command, the previous command is brought back for editing.

With a multiline command , push-line only clears the current line, and keeps the other lines in the input buffer. There is another command push-input which clears the whole input buffer, not bound to any key by default.

I use a wrapper around this command. I type Ctrl+Z to “suspend” the command I'm typing and type another command. After I've run that command (or aborted it with Ctrl+C), the suspended command comes back for edition (even remembering the cursor position). As an additional convenience, if the command line is empty when I type Ctrl+Z, the key invokes the bg built-in instead (so a double Ctrl+Z sends a running command directly to the background).

fancy-ctrl-z () {
  emulate -LR zsh
  if [[ $#BUFFER -eq 0 ]]; then
    zle redisplay
    zle push-input
zle -N fancy-ctrl-z
bindkey '^Z'          fancy-ctrl-z

A low-tech method that works in any shell is to add a # at the beginning of the current line and press Enter.

  • Adding to the last comment, need this for that to work well: setopt interactive_comments, and still that goes to history unless put also a space in front and have declared setopt hist_ignore_space. I still like the push-line thing, but the ctrl+z does not work for the line I'm typing.
    – michelpm
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 9:31
  • @michelpm Oh, right, you need setopt interactive_comments in zsh. Entering the line in the history is the point, if you don't then the line is lost forever. The version of fancy-ctrl-z I posted works for me under zsh -f, it may be conflicting with a setting in your .zshrc though I don't see what. Commented May 2, 2013 at 9:44
  • The way I said I can still recover as if it was in the history, but it doesn't get persisted in the history, I can not recover after I close the shell. It is just a detail, but it is useful, because you don't want to store garbage or secrets there.
    – michelpm
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 11:10
  • Your fancy-ctrl-z does work, ignore my first comment.
    – michelpm
    Commented May 2, 2013 at 11:16
  • +1 for mentioning pos1 + # + enter
    – bluenote10
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 20:16

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