The read builtin command has -e option

-e  Use Readline to handle input. This permits input editing in the same
    manner as the command line.

What's Readline in the specification:

$ man readline
No manual entry for readline
$ man Readline
No manual entry for Readline

There are no details of readline.

  • 1
    How can I get help on terminal commands? – As type read reveals (and you already found out), read is a shell builtin. Those are documented in the shell's manual pages, so man bash is the correct source in your case. – dessert Apr 14 '18 at 6:52

See man bash, which has an entire section on Readline:

   This  is  the  library  that  handles  reading  input  when  using   an
   interactive  shell,  unless  the  --noediting  option is given at shell
   invocation.  Line editing is also used when using the -e option to  the
   read  builtin.

GNU Readline is a library that's developed alongside bash, but is used by a number of other programs to provide better interactive command-line usage (for example, Python's REPL loop). It can be configured using ~/.inputrc or /etc/inputrc. See the readline site for more details.

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  • @SergiyKolodyazhnyy I think those are just for the API. The readline site's documentation is more comprehensive. – muru Apr 14 '18 at 6:53
  • yep, the site might be a bit more comprehensive, but just in case someone stumbles around here looking for readline manpages, it actually a thing that exists. Correction on my last comment, though, it's part of readline-common package, had to track it down via .list files. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Apr 14 '18 at 7:00

To jump directly to the READLINE section of the bash man page, I define the following alias in my $HOME/.bash_aliases file.

alias man-readline="man -P 'less -p ^READLINE' bash"
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Use man 3 readline for man page for Readline.

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  • Note this requires libreadline-devel on some systems – Steven Penny Apr 14 '18 at 17:23

Use info rluserman for the complete manual, with interactive links.

Hit H and the bottom half of the screen will display a list of commands you can use to find what you need. Such as [ and ] to go through the nodes in rluserman. Or try to find something specific by starting a search, for example:

Suppose you were looking for the vi-editing-mode;

  1. hit / to start a search
  2. type your query, e.g. vi, and confirm by hitting Enter
  3. use { and } to go back and forth through the occurrences in the manual.

(PS. vi\W', would be better because this would rule out hits like 'provided')

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