bash history for current session

Maybe I’m overlooking something but is there a way to get your current bash history for the current session you are using like

if i run

ssh host
$ pwd
$ ls
$ cd /tmp

I just want to see those 3 commands and nothing else


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

A slightly roundabout way:

history -a ~/current_history

This will save the current session’s unsaved bash history to ~/current_history, which you can then view.

Method 2

I had the problem that I wanted to write the current history to a file but still wanted the entries to be recorded in the main bash history

I solved this by just attaching the file with cat:

history -a current-history
cat current-history >> .bash_history

Method 3

You use history -a with a filename. This can be a device-file, like /dev/stdout.

Then you can pipe that however you like. For example, to view your current session history in less you can

history -a /dev/stdout | less

Method 4

Use comp to compare the entire history (incl. current Bash session) with the already persisted history in .bash_history and only print those lines that are unique to the current session — which should show only those commands that were executed since starting the current Bash shell

comm -23 <( history | cut -c 8- ) ~/.bash_history

Edit: as @Wildcard pointed out this command does not work for all distributions of comm. I tested this on Mac OS.

A variation of the same idea using diff:

diff <( history | cut -c 8- ) ~/.bash_history | sed -n 's/^< //pg'

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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