Amit Merchant

Amit Merchant

A blog on PHP, JavaScript, and more

Copy last terminal command to clipboard in Linux and macOS

January 12, 2023 ·

Sometimes, it’s useful to quickly copy over the command that you executed recently in your terminal when you want to share it with someone.

The easiest way to do so is by copying it to the system clipboard so that you can paste it wherever you want. Recently, Paul Redmond shared how to do it on the macOS.

macOS

Here’s the command to copy the last command to the clipboard.

$ fc -ln -1 | pbcopy

As you can tell, the fc command is used to access the command history list. We can couple it with option -ln which invokes the list with suppressed command numbers. The -1 represents the last executed command in the terminal.

Lastly, we can pass the output of this command to pbcopy which is used to copy data from STDIN to the clipboard. It’s an in-built utility in macOS.

And that’s how you can copy the last command in the clipboard.

Linux

If you’re using a Bash terminal on Linux, you can use the following command to copy the last command in the clipboard.

$ fc -nl -1 | xclip -selection clipboard

As you can tell, the first part of the command here is the same as macOS but instead of using pbcopy, we need to use xclip to copy the command to the clipboard. It’s something you need to install first.

For instance, you can install xclip on systems based on Ubuntu like so.

$ sudo apt install xclip

Make it seamless using Alias

You can create an alias for these commands to make the entire process of copying the command more seamless and easy to invoke.

Here’s how I would do it.

On macOS,

$ alias lc="fc -ln -1 | pbcopy"

On Linux,

$ alias lc="fc -nl -1 | xclip -selection clipboard"

Now, you can do it just by running lc in your terminal!

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