How can it be achieved so that every command that is entered, is visible in every open terminal's history?

When having multiple terminals open, the history isn't shared, i.e. what you entered in one terminals history, doesn't show up in another one. Think of an alternative to Bash's PROMPT_COMMAND="history -a" (which saves the history before the prompt is beeing displayed).


2 Answers 2


The following options would be applicable:

  • To save every command before it is executed (this is different from bash's history -a solution):

    setopt inc_append_history
  • To read the history file every time history is called upon, as well as the functionality from inc_append_history:

    setopt share_history

These can be set in your .zshrc file.

⚠️ Either set inc_append_history or share_history but not both. (see comments below)

  • When share_history is enabled, it reads and writes to the history file.
  • When inc_append_history is enabled, it only writes to the history file.

Related for bash: Is it possible to make writing to .bash_history immediate?

  • 7
    "SHARE_HISTORY: This option both imports new commands from the history file, and also causes your typed commands to be appended to the history file (the latter is like specifying INC_APPEND_HISTORY, which should be turned off if this option is in effect)." (From manual emphasis added) i.e. just the INC_APPEND_HISTORY option will do what you want. Commented Oct 20, 2014 at 10:30
  • 4
    Actually, just the SHARE_HISTORY option alone will do what you want. The phrase "which should be turned off if this option is in effect" translates to "[INC_APPEND_HISTORY] should be turned off if [SHARE_HISTORY] option is in effect". I've tested this on zsh 5.1.1 on Ubuntu Xenial. Commented Feb 2, 2017 at 0:33
  • 1
    @opert is correct: setopt share_history is what will accomplish the desired result. @MJB would you be willing to edit your answer to remove the mention of setopt inc_append_history? It obscures the actual answer.
    – bonh
    Commented Feb 22, 2017 at 16:40
  • Names are case insensitive and underscores are ignored so if you setopt | grep hist will get incappendhistory and sharehistory. Commented Oct 5, 2017 at 21:16
  • 1
    Just to clarify. You write command in shell 1, then switch to shell 2 and press enter. You will see that command as last only in case of share_history, but not inc_append_history. Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 17:52

If you use Robby Russell’s awesome OhMyZSH, it will take care of this and more.

See https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/blob/master/lib/history.zsh

That includes setopt inc_append_history.

  • It's his/hers/its. Important for shell work. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 12:36
  • 1
    @CeesTimmerman fixed, thank you. It's important for communication in general I believe. What did you mean by "Important for shell work"? Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 19:01
  • 2
    A typo in the shell can corrupt your entire system. Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 21:52
  • should I paste it into .zshrc?
    – alper
    Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 15:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .