How To List Commands In Linux

Linux, an open-source operating system modeled after UNIX, is famous for its powerful command-line interface. For beginners and experienced users alike, being able to list all available commands quickly can be quite helpful. This blog post will guide you through the steps to list commands in Linux.

There are several ways to list commands in Linux, but the most common methods involve using the terminal.

Method 1: Using Compgen Command

The compgen command in Linux is used to list all the commands that could be successfully completed at a terminal. The -c option with the compgen command is used to list all the commands in Linux.

$ compgen -c

When you run the above command, it will display a list of all commands.

Method 2: Using Bash

The second method to list all commands in Linux is by using bash. Run the following command in your terminal:

$ echo $PATH | tr ':' '\n' | xargs -n 1 ls

This command works by taking the $PATH variable, splitting it into lines by replacing ‘:’ with ‘\n’, and then using xargs to list all commands in each directory.

Method 3: Checking the Directories

Another way to check commands in the Linux terminal is by checking the directories where binaries are stored. The most commonly used directories are /bin, /usr/bin, /sbin and /usr/sbin. You can list the commands in these directories by using the ls command as shown:

$ ls /bin
$ ls /usr/bin
$ ls /sbin
$ ls /usr/sbin

These commands list files in specified directories. Most of these files represent commands that can be used in the terminal.


Listing commands in Linux is quite straightforward. Whether you are using the compgen command, manipulating the $PATH variable with bash, or checking the binaries in directories, you can quickly and easily see a list of all commands available on your Linux system.

Learning how to navigate the Linux command line can be a steep learning curve, but it’s a vital skill in today’s tech-centric world. Stay tuned to our blog to keep learning more about Linux and other useful tech topics.