The fc built-in re-executes or prints commands from command history.


  • fc [-qr] [-e editor] [start [end]]

  • fc -s[q] [old=new] [start]

  • fc -l[nrv] [start [end]]


When executed without the -l (--list) option, the built-in executes the commands in the command history range specified by the operands. If the -s (--silent) option is not specified, the shell invokes an editor which allows you to edit the commands before they are executed. The commands are executed when you quit the editor. If the -s (--silent) option is specified, the commands are immediately executed. In either case, the executed commands are printed to the standard output and added to the history.

When executed with the -l (--list) option, the built-in prints the commands in the command history range specified by the operands. By default, commands are printed with their history entry numbers, but output format can be changed using the -n (--no-numbers)) and -v (--verbose) options.


-e editor

Specify an editor that is used to edit commands.

If this option is not specified, the value of the FCEDIT variable is used. If the variable is not set either, ed is used.


Print command history entries.


Don’t print entry numbers when printing history entries.


Don’t print commands before executing.


Reverse the order of command entries in the range.


Execute commands without editing them.


Print execution time before each history entry when printing.


start and end

The start and end operands specify a range of command history entries that are executed or printed. If one of the operands is an integer, it is treated as a history entry number. A negative integer means the nth most recent entry where n is the absolute value of the integer. If one of the operands is not an integer, it is treated as part of a command string: the most recent entry that starts with the string is selected as the start or end of the range.

If the first entry of the range that is specified by start is newer than the last entry of the range that is specified by end, the range is reversed as if the -r (--reverse) option was specified. (If the option is already specified, it is cancelled.)

The default values for start and end are:

with -l without -l






same as start


An operand of this format replaces part of the command string. If the command string contains old, it is replaced with new and the new string is executed. Only the first occurrence of old is replaced.

Exit status

If commands was executed, the exit status of the fc built-in is that of the last executed command. Otherwise, the exit status is zero unless there is any error.


The fc built-in is a mandatory built-in.

The POSIX standard does not define the -q (--quiet) or -v (--verbose) options, so they cannot be used in the POSIXly-correct mode.

Command history cannot be modified during line-editing.