How to View bash shell history and Change bash history file size in Ubuntu

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The Bash shell is the default shell environment in most Linux distributions, including all flavours of Debian. One default feature of the Bash shell is to record a history of all the commands entered by a user in a log file called .bash_history, found in the user's home directory.
View user bash history in Ubuntu

First open up a terminal from Applications > Accessories > Terminal and type the following command


This will show you all your terminal commands history on the terminal

If you want to save this history in to a file use the following command

history -w ~/userhistory.txt

Once you have save the file you can view using the following command from your terminal

gedit ~/userhistory.txt

Change bash history file size

If you want to change bash history file size open up your .bashrc using the following command from your terminal

gedit ~/.bashrc

Now add the following line at the top

export HISTFILESIZE=3000

Save and exit the file

As you can see, the limit can be changed.

Bash shell keeps it’s own history in a file. You can view that file as stated before, or by opening ~/.bash_history.

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3 Responses

  1. Anxious Nut says:

    I think you have to do “source ~/.bashrc” after that!

  2. davidc says:

    Good tip. I like to search thru history with ctrl-r inside bash – type a few chars and use ctrl-r again to cycle thru results.

  3. dvorka says:

    You may want to give a try to that allows even more convenient shell history navigation and management.

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