Home Cheatsheets How To Display Linux Commands Cheatsheets Using Eg

How To Display Linux Commands Cheatsheets Using Eg

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 5.6K views

Learning Linux commands are getting easier day by day! If you know how to use man pages properly, you are halfway across Linux commandline journey. There are also some good man page alternatives available which helps you to display Linux commands cheatsheets. Unlike the man pages, these tools will only display concise examples for most commands and exclude all other theoretical part. Today, let us discuss one more useful addition to this list. Say hello to eg, a command line cheatsheet tool to display useful examples for Linux commands.

What Is Eg?

Eg provides practical examples for many Linux and Unix commands. If you want to quickly find out examples of a specific Linux command without going through the lengthy man pages, eg is your companion.

Just run eg followed by the name of the command and get the concise examples of the given command right at the Terminal window. It is that simple!

Eg is a free, open source program written in Python language and the code is freely available in GitHub.

For those wondering, eg comes from the Latin word "Exempli Gratia" that literally means "for the sake of example" in English. Exempli Gratia is known by its abbreviation e.g., in English speaking countries.

Install Eg In Linux

Eg can be installed using Pip package manager. If Pip is not available in your system, install it as described in the below link.

After installing Pip, run the following command to install eg on your Linux system:

$ pip install eg

Display Linux commands Cheatsheets Using Eg

Let us start by displaying the help section of eg program. To do so, run eg without any options:

$ eg

Sample output:

usage: eg [-h] [-v] [-f CONFIG_FILE] [-e] [--examples-dir EXAMPLES_DIR]
          [-c CUSTOM_DIR] [-p PAGER_CMD] [-l] [--color] [-s] [--no-color]

eg provides examples of common command usage.

positional arguments:
  program               The program for which to display examples.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --version         Display version information about eg
  -f CONFIG_FILE, --config-file CONFIG_FILE
                        Path to the .egrc file, if it is not in the default
  -e, --edit            Edit the custom examples for the given command. If
                        editor-cmd is not set in your .egrc and $VISUAL and
                        $EDITOR are not set, prints a message and does
  --examples-dir EXAMPLES_DIR
                        The location to the examples/ dir that ships with eg
  -c CUSTOM_DIR, --custom-dir CUSTOM_DIR
                        Path to a directory containing user-defined examples.
  -p PAGER_CMD, --pager-cmd PAGER_CMD
                        String literal that will be invoked to page output.
  -l, --list            Show all the programs with eg entries.
  --color               Colorize output.
  -s, --squeeze         Show fewer blank lines in output.
  --no-color            Do not colorize output.

You can also bring the help section using this command too:

$ eg --help

Now let us see how to view example commands usage.

To display cheatsheet of a Linux command, for example grep, run:

$ eg grep

Sample output:

 print all lines containing foo in input.txt
 grep "foo" input.txt
 print all lines matching the regex "^start" in input.txt
 grep -e "^start" input.txt
 print all lines containing bar by recursively searching a directory
 grep -r "bar" directory
 print all lines containing bar ignoring case
 grep -i "bAr" input.txt
 print 3 lines of context before and after each line matching "foo"
 grep -C 3 "foo" input.txt
 Basic Usage
 Search each line in input_file for a match against pattern and print
 matching lines:
 grep "<pattern>" <input_file>
Display Linux commands cheatsheets using Eg
Display Linux commands cheatsheets using Eg

As you see in the above output, eg displays example commands for grep utility along with a brief description. No need to go through long man pages, no need to refer any flags. You will get examples for the given command instantly.

You can even get the examples for eg command as well:

$ eg eg

Change Pager

By default, Eg uses less pager to display the command examples page by page if the entire output doesn't fit on the screen. Hit ENTER key to navigate through all examples in the subsequent pages.

You can also use different pager using --pager-cmd option. For example, to use cat as a pager, run:

$ eg grep --pager-cmd=cat

This will show the entire output in a single page on the screen.

To change pager permanently, you need to set the pager in eg configuration file.

Edit eg configuration file:

$ nano ~/.egrc

Note: If the configuration file doesn't exist, create it.

$ touch ~/.egrc

And then open the eg config file in a text editor and add the following lines in it:


Save the file and close it. From now on, eg will use cat command as pager.

List Available Commands

The developer and all other contributors of eg project have added many examples for each command. You can view the list of all available commands using command:

$ eg --list

As of writing this guide, eg provides examples for 85 command line utilities.

$ eg --list | wc -l

Edit Commands

If you want to add more examples to a command, simply pass -e flag to edit the default set of commands and add your own commands.

Before adding/editing custom commands, create a directory to save the custom commands. This is the directory where you are going to save all your custom commands.

$ mkdir ~/.eg/

Next, edit the eg configuration file:

$ nano ~/.egrc

Add the following lines in it:

    custom-dir = ~/.eg/

Save the file and close it. Now you can edit any command and add your custom examples.

For instance, to edit grep command examples, run:

$ eg -e grep

This will open your default editor. Add the examples and save them. The newly added commands will be shown before the default examples the next time you run eg grep command.

Eg is highly customizable. You can change the colors in the output, remove the empty lines in the output, and regex substitutions etc. Here is a sample egrc file with every option specified:

    # Lines starting with # are treated as comments
    examples-dir = /path/to/examples/dir
    custom-dir = /path/to/custom/dir
    color = true
    squeeze = true
    pager-cmd = 'less -R'

    pound = '\x1b[30m\x1b[1m'
    heading = '\x1b[38;5;172m'
    code = '\x1b[32m\x1b[1m'
    prompt = '\x1b[36m\x1b[1m'
    backticks = '\x1b[34m\x1b[1m'
    pound_reset = '\x1b[0m'
    heading_reset = '\x1b[0m'
    code_reset = '\x1b[0m'
    prompt_reset = '\x1b[0m'
    backticks_reset = '\x1b[0m'

    # This will remove all four-space indents.
    remove-indents = ['^    ', '', True]

Many man pages doesn't provide example commands. Also some man pages are very long. Eg is one of the good alternative to man pages. Instead of scrolling through a lengthy man page, you can quickly find an example of given command instantly.

Since there is no command named woman in Linux, why don't you just alias eg to woman?

$ alias woman=eg
$ man grep
$ woman grep

For more details, refer the official GitHub repository of eg utility given below.


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Hariy Droband October 30, 2021 - 10:46 pm

Very good! Can replace many cheat sheets.

Lord_Chencho November 23, 2021 - 9:51 pm

May God pay you with a son dude :- 1


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