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Zsh Hist

Edit your Zsh history from the command line.

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Edit your Zsh history, without ever leaving the command line.

Uniform code formatting

Whenever you finish your command line, zsh-hist will automatically format it for you, before it is saved to history. You can also retroactively format your history with hist n.


  • For the formatting to be preserved completely when the command is saved history, you need to unsetopt HIST_REDUCE_BLANKS in your .zshrc file. Otherwise, most of the indentation will get lost.
  • Formatting the code can disable certain crazy uses of global aliases. For example, since the formatting turns most ;s into newlines, declaring ; as a global alias will most of the time simply not have any effect. Since this is not something a normal person would want to do, most users don't need to worry about this. However, if you are a purist and want that the formatting can never change the way Zsh works, then please enable the automatic alias expansion feature below.

(Optional) Automatic alias expansion

zsh-hist can automatically expand your aliases before each command line is saved to history. This is disabled by default.

Added Undo functionality

On any new command line, you can now press undo to pop the last command from your history into the line editor, letting you correct any mistakes you made, before running it back. Afterwards, the old, faulty command will be gone from your history and only the new, corrected one remains.

Additionally, if you make a typo and end up on the secondary prompt, you can now press undo to return to the primary prompt.

Push & Get lines to/from history

When you press push-line, push-input or push-line-or-edit, your line is now written to history (without being executed) instead of to the buffer stack.

This has the following benefits:

  • A pushed line does not automatically get popped back into your line editor. You can instead get it back at your own convenience with get-line, at which point it is removed from history. (Executing the line will of course add it back to your history, but at this point, it will not count as pushed anymore.)
  • Pushed lines persist as long as they remain in your history and can be shared between multiple sessions.
  • Pushed lines can be accessed using conventional history search mechanisms.

To get a list of all pushed lines in your history, just type hist l.

hist command syntax

  hist [<option>...] compress <delta>
  hist [<option>...] {reload|undo}
  hist [<option>...] <command> [<selection> ...]

Return value
  $reply  an associative array of history (index -> entry) tuples

  -f  force: never ask for confirmation
  -i  interactive: always ask for confirmation
  -q  quiet: do not print anything
  -s  silent: same as quiet
By default, hist asks for confirmation only when operating on multiple history

Commands (can be shortened to first letter):
  compress   delete each entry that differs <delta> chars or less from the next
  delete     remove from history
  edit       delete, then modify & append as new
  fix        delete + get
  get        load into buffer
  list       look, but do not touch
  normalize  delete, then auto-format & append as new
  reload     re-initialize local history from file
  undo       roll back to before last command in same session

Selections (for commands other than compress, reload or undo):
  no arg        pushed lines
  positive int  index from beginning of history
  negative int  offset from end of history
  pattern       all matching entries

  hist f -1         # Fix last entry (cut from history; paste into command line)
  hist n {1..9}     # Normalize (uniformly format) a range of history items
  hist d $'*(\n|;)' # Delete all entries ending in newline or semicolon
  hist l            # List all entries saved w/ `push-line` widget

Note about key bindings

zsh-hist does not change your key bindings. To use the keyboard commands (a.k.a "widgets") that zsh-hist enhances, you will need to know to which key strokes they are bound. Not all widgets discussed here are bound by default.

  • Type bindkey to see your current key bindings.
  • To add a new new keybinding or override an existing one, add lines like the following to your ~/.zshrc file, where ^ means Ctrl and ^[ means Alt (depending on your terminal):
  bindkey "^_" undo
  bindkey "^[q" push-line-or-edit
  bindkey "^[g" get-line


© 2020 Marlon Richert


This project is licensed under the MIT License. See the LICENSE file for details.