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One thing i miss from the Linux shell is the Alt+Dot shortcut. What it does is insert the last argument of the previous command. It appears to be a trivial technique, but it's really useful.

i.e. if you type this:

$ ls /Applications/MAMP/conf/apache/

The next time you just have to type a command + shortcut and the argument will be completed for you.

$ cd 'alt+dot'

On Mac i know 2 alternatives; pressing Esc+Dot or typing !$, !* with the magic space setup.

However while both alternatives do insert the last argument(s) you've used, they can't scroll back in command history like typing Alt+Dot repeatedly does.

I can live with this options for now, but i'd love to know if someone knows a better way to do it.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

You can press Esc-dot many times, it does the same things are alt-dot. But, like you, i find it more cumbersome to type to type than alt-dot.

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I can press it many times, but it just works the first time – pablasso Dec 18 '09 at 16:00
Nevermind, you're right. You just have to release esc to press it again, Then it works as expected scrolling through history. Being that treating the option key as meta messes up some other shortcuts, this is the cleanest solution. – pablasso Dec 18 '09 at 19:22
The easiest way to do this is to check "Use Option Key as Meta" in Terminal preferences, as described in Richard Hoskins' answer. – Nocturne Aug 21 '14 at 13:39

In, Preferences->Settings, select the Keyboard tab. Ensure "Use Option Key as Meta" is checked.

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Such a simple solution, thanks :) – pablasso Dec 18 '09 at 16:03
btw, i should mention that while this solves the alt+dot problem, it messes up another keyboard combinations like ], } or |. My keyboard (spanish) uses option+somekey to type them. Well, you can't have it all. – pablasso Dec 18 '09 at 19:09
For iTerm, open Preferences, Profiles > Keys, Choose option key acts as +Esc at the bottom. – Ivan Chau Aug 18 '14 at 7:19

Use option+.

Note that this is a feature of bash and not linux. Macs have bash on them as well. Alt-. is the shortcut for a builtin bash function insert-last-argument. Read the bash man page for how you can bind this to a different key combination.

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Thanks, i know is a bash feature but the shortcut is not enabled by default, at least not in since there's no meta key by default. See Richard's answer. – pablasso Dec 18 '09 at 16:13

If you open and enter preferences, and go to Settings > Keyboard and check “Use option as meta key”, you can use the bash shortcuts that use alt, for example:

Alt+B: Skip word backwards

Alt+F: Skip word forwards


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Welcome to Super User! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. For now, I edited the answer for you. – Oliver Salzburg Aug 15 '12 at 19:30

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