by cheat

cheat /cheat

cheat allows you to create and view interactive cheatsheets on the command-line. It was designed to ...

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allows you to create and view interactive cheatsheets on the command-line. It was designed to help remind *nix system administrators of options for commands that they use frequently, but not frequently enough to remember.

The obligatory xkcd


with cheatsheets.


The next time you're forced to disarm a nuclear weapon without consulting Google, you may run:

cheat tar

You will be presented with a cheatsheet resembling the following:

# To extract an uncompressed archive:
tar -xvf '/path/to/foo.tar'

To extract a .gz archive:

tar -xzvf '/path/to/foo.tgz'

To create a .gz archive:

tar -czvf '/path/to/foo.tgz' '/path/to/foo/'

To extract a .bz2 archive:

tar -xjvf '/path/to/foo.tgz'

To create a .bz2 archive:

tar -cjvf '/path/to/foo.tgz' '/path/to/foo/'


has no dependencies. To install it, download the executable from the releases page and place it on your



is configured by a YAML file that will be auto-generated on first run. Should you need to create a config file manually, you can do so via:
mkdir -p ~/.config/cheat && cheat --init > ~/.config/cheat/conf.yml

By default, the config file is assumed to exist on an XDG-compliant configuration path like

. If you would like to store it elsewhere, you may export a
environment variable that specifies its path:
export CHEAT_CONFIG_PATH="~/.dotfiles/cheat/conf.yml"


Cheatsheets are plain-text files with no file extension, and are named according to the command used to view them:

cheat tar     # file is named "tar"
cheat foo/bar # file is named "bar", in a "foo" subdirectory

Cheatsheet text may optionally be preceeded by a YAML frontmatter header that assigns tags and specifies syntax:

syntax: javascript
tags: [ array, map ]
// To map over an array:
const squares = [1, 2, 3, 4].map(x => x * x);


executable includes no cheatsheets, but community-sourced cheatsheets are available. You will be asked if you would like to install the community-sourced cheatsheets the first time you run


Cheatsheets are stored on "cheatpaths", which are directories that contain cheatsheets. Cheatpaths are specified in the


It can be useful to configure

against multiple cheatpaths. A common pattern is to store cheatsheets from multiple repositories on individual cheatpaths:
# conf.yml:
# ...
  - name: community                   # a name for the cheatpath
    path: ~/documents/cheat/community # the path's location on the filesystem
    tags: [ community ]               # these tags will be applied to all sheets on the path
    readonly: true                    # if true, `cheat` will not create new cheatsheets here

  • name: personal path: ~/documents/cheat/personal # this is a separate directory and repository than above tags: [ personal ] readonly: false # new sheets may be written here



option instructs
not to edit (or create) any cheatsheets on the path. This is useful to prevent merge-conflicts from arising on upstream cheatsheet repositories.

If a user attempts to edit a cheatsheet on a read-only cheatpath,

will transparently copy that sheet to a writeable directory before opening it for editing.

Directory-scoped Cheatpaths

At times, it can be useful to closely associate cheatsheets with a directory on your filesystem.

facilitates this by searching for a
folder in the current working directory. If found, the
directory will (temporarily) be added to the cheatpaths.


To view a cheatsheet:

cheat tar      # a "top-level" cheatsheet
cheat foo/bar  # a "nested" cheatsheet

To edit a cheatsheet:

cheat -e tar     # opens the "tar" cheatsheet for editing, or creates it if it does not exist
cheat -e foo/bar # nested cheatsheets are accessed like this

To view the configured cheatpaths:

cheat -d

To list all available cheatsheets:

cheat -l

To list all cheatsheets that are tagged with "networking":

cheat -l -t networking

To list all cheatsheets on the "personal" path:

cheat -l -p personal

To search for the phrase "ssh" among cheatsheets:

cheat -s ssh

To search (by regex) for cheatsheets that contain an IP address:

cheat -r -s '(?:[0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}'

Flags may be combined in intuitive ways. Example: to search sheets on the "personal" cheatpath that are tagged with "networking" and match a regex:

cheat -p personal -t networking --regex -s '(?:[0-9]{1,3}\.){3}[0-9]{1,3}'

Advanced Usage

Shell autocompletion is currently available for

, and
. Copy the relevant completion script into the appropriate directory on your filesystem to enable autocompletion. (This directory will vary depending on operating system and shell specifics.)


supports enhanced autocompletion via integration with fzf. To enable
  1. Ensure that
    is available on your
  2. Set an envvar:
    export CHEAT_USE_FZF=true

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