OpenVMS – Command line editing

DCL implements command line editing and recall, so that users can more easily correct typing errors and reuse previous command lines.

Recall buffer: access to recently issued commands

$ RECALL string Bring up last command beginning with string.
$ RECALL/ALL Displays all commands and their numbers.
$ RECALL number Use a number found in RECALL/ALL.

Command line editing (if it isn’t on, do: $ SET TERM/LINE):

$ {up-arrow} Previous command in recall buffer.
$ {down-arrow} Next command in recall buffer.
$ {Ctrl A} Toggle insert/overstrike editing.
$ {Ctrl D} Move one character left.
$ {Ctrl E} Move to the end of the line.
$ {Ctrl F} Move one character right.
$ {Ctrl H} Move to the beginning of the line.
$ {Ctrl J} Delete word left of cursor.
$ {Ctrl R} Rewrite the command line.
$ {Ctrl U} Delete line left of cursor.
$ {Ctrl X} Cancel the current command line.


$ {Ctrl 3} ASCII code for {Esc}.
$ {Ctrl I} ASCII code for {Tab}.
$ {Ctrl Z} Tell DCL "end of file". Used in some programs
to indicate more general sorts of "end" commands.

Of these, only {Ctrl I} will insert a character into the command line,
rather than just move the cursor around. No new characters may be
inserted before a tab ({Ctrl I}) in a command line, but existing characters
may be changed in overstrike mode, or deleted. This behavior is documented in the “I/O User’s Guide” and has existed since VMS 4.0.

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