Cheat sheets for common commands

Bob Mottram 1c081bd83c Added cheat sheet for irssi 7 years ago
autocompletion 6cae837a2f Merge branch 'master' of into 0rax-master 7 years ago
cheatsheets 1c081bd83c Added cheat sheet for irssi 7 years ago
.gitignore 6627b06b1d Add gitignore 7 years ago
LICENSE ba48816ba1 Made trivial changes to the README. Added the GPL 3 license. 7 years ago 500a205c38 Update 7 years ago
cheat d8c723681a Graceful failure on failed copy to DEFAULT_CHEAT_DIR 7 years ago 3234d21654 Fixing filename error in 7 years ago


cheat allows you to create and view interactive cheatsheets on the command-line. It was designed to help remind *nix system administrators of options for commands that they use frequently, but not frequently enough to remember.

The obligatory xkcd

cheat depends only on python.


The next time you're forced to disarm a nuclear weapon without consulting Google, you may run:

cheat tar

You will be presented with a cheatsheet resembling:

# To extract an uncompressed archive: 
tar -xvf /path/to/foo.tar

# To extract a .gz archive:
tar -xzvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .gz archive:
tar -czvf /path/to/foo.tgz /path/to/foo/

# To extract a .bz2 archive:
tar -xjvf /path/to/foo.tgz

# To create a .bz2 archive:
tar -cjvf /path/to/foo.tgz /path/to/foo/

To see what cheatsheets are availble, run cheat with no arguments.

Note that, while cheat was designed primarily for *nix system administrators, it is agnostic as to what content it stores. If you would like to use cheat to store notes on your favorite cookie recipes, feel free.


Installing for all users (requires root)

Clone this repository and cd into it, then run

sudo python install

Installing in your home directory

Clone this repository and cd into it, then run

mkdir -p ~/bin
cp cheat ~/bin
mkdir ~/.cheat
cp cheatsheets/* ~/.cheat


After installing for all users or in your home directory, try cheat tar for instance.


In case you got an error such as:

ImportError: No module named argparse

You're probably using python < 2.7 and you need to manually install the argparse module. You can do this easily with pip:

sudo apt-get install python-pip
sudo pip install argparse

Other methods:

Modifying Cheatsheets

The value of cheat is that it allows you to create your own cheatsheets - the defaults are meant to serve only as a starting point, and can and should be modified.

Cheatsheets are stored in the ~/.cheat/ directory, and are named on a per-keyphrase basis. In other words, the content for the tar cheatsheet lives in the ~/.cheat/tar file. To add a cheatsheet for a foo command, you would create file ~/.cheat/foo, whereby that file contained the cheatsheet content.

Note that cheat supports "subcommands" simply by naming files appropriately. Thus, if you wanted to create a cheatsheet not only (for example) for git but also for git commit, you could do so be creating cheatsheet files of the appropriate names (git and git commit).

After you've customized your cheatsheets, I urge you to track ~/.cheat/ along with your dotfiles.

Advanced Features


Personal cheatsheets are saved in the ~/.cheat directory by default, but you can specify a different default by exporting a DEFAULT_CHEAT_DIR environment variable:

export DEFAULT_CHEAT_DIR=/path/to/my/cheats


You can additionally instruct cheat to look for cheatsheets in other directories by exporting a CHEATPATH environment variable:

export CHEATPATH=/path/to/my/cheats

You may, of course, append multiple directories to your CHEATPATH:

export CHEATPATH=$CHEATPATH:/path/to/more/cheats

You may view which directories are on your CHEATPATH with cheat -d.

Enabling Syntax Highlighting

cheat can apply syntax highlighting to your cheatsheets if so desired. To enable this feature, set a CHEATCOLORS environment variable:

export CHEATCOLORS=true

Creating/Editing Cheatsheets

Provided that you have an EDITOR environment variable set, you may create new cheatsheets via:

cheat -e foo

If the 'foo' cheatsheet already exists, it will be opened for editing.

By default, cheat will attempt to write new cheatsheets to ~/.cheat, and will create the ~/.cheat directory if necessary. If it is unable to do so, the new cheatsheet will be written to the default cheatsheet directory instead, though this will likely require sudo.


If you would like to contribute cheetsheets or program functionality, please fork this repository, make your changes, and send me a pull request.

Related Projects

  • lucaswerkmeister/cheats: An implementation of this concept in pure bash that also allows not only for numerical indexing of subcomands but also supports running commands interactively.

  • jahendrie/cheat: A bash-only implementation that additionally allows for cheatsheets to be created and grep searched from the command-line. (jahendrie contributed key ideas to this project as well.)

  • cheat RubyGem: A clever gem from 2006 that clearly had similar motivations. It is unclear whether or not it is currently maintained.