DIY Linux

The Ultimate Raspberry Pi Commands Cheat Sheet

Ian Buckley 01-08-2020

The Raspberry Pi is the most popular single-board computer (SBC) available. Just $35 gets you a powerful, fully-fledged Linux computer with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and 40 connected general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins. It’s no surprise that the Raspberry Pi is equally popular between professional engineers, computer hobbyists, makers, and in the education sector.

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While the Raspberry Pi runs on Linux, there are a few more features that you’d find in a common Linux distribution. The addition of GPIO pins, along with the two main libraries supporting them, means much more to remember!

That’s why we’ve prepared this handy cheat sheet for day-to-day Raspberry Pi usage.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Ultimate Raspberry Pi Commands Cheat Sheet.

The Ultimate Raspberry Pi Commands Cheat Sheet

CommandResult
Raspbian OS Terminal
cat [name]Show the contents of the file [name]
cd ..Change to parent directory
cd [path]Move to the directory at [path]
cd /Change to root directory
cd ~Change to your home directory - usually "/home/"
chmod [who][+,-,=][permissions] [name]Change the permissions for a file
chmod 777 [name]Allow all users to read, write and execute the file [name]
chmod u+x [name]Allow the user to execute [name]
cp -r [from] [to]Copy all files and subdirectories from source [from] to destination [to]
cp [from] [to]Copy a file from source [from] to destination [to]
findSearch for files and their contents
grep ‘string’ [name]Search inside one or more files for occurrences of ‘string’
head [name]Return all occurrences of 'string' within file [name]
lsList the contents of the current directory
ls -aList all files including hidden files
ls -lList the contents of the current directory with more file information
ls [path]List the contents of the directory found at [path]
man [command]Open the manual/help page for [command]
man manOpen the manual/help page for the ‘man’ command (helpception)
mkdir [name]Create a directory called [name] in the current working directory
mv -r [from] [to]Move all files and directories from source [from] to destination [to]
mv [from] [to]Move a file from source [from] to destination [to]
pwdShow the name of the current working directory
python/python3 --versionShows you what version of Python you currently have installed
rm -r *Remove all files and directories from the current working directory
rm [name]Remove the specified file
rm *Remove all files from the current working directory
rmdir [name]Remove the empty directory [name] from the current working directory
sudo [command]Superuser do. Execute [command] with elevated privileges (Allows you to do things you usually wouldn't have access to)
sudo apt-get ​install [package]Install a package
sudo apt-get updateUpdate the list of packages
sudo apt-get upgradeUpgrade the installed packages - must be run after sudo apt-get update
sudo ​chown pi:root [name]Change the owner of the file [name] to user 'pi' and set the group to 'root'
​sudo raspi-configLaunch the Raspberry Pi configuration menu
sudo rebootSafely restart your Pi
sudo shutdown -h nowSafely shutdown your Pi immediately
sudo suPlaces you in the root directory with root user access - be careful with this!
tail [name]Show the end of file [name]
tar -cvzf [name] [path]Create compressed file [name] from the contents of [path]
tar -xvzf [name]Extract the contents of the compressed file [name]
wget [uri]Download the file found at [uri] on the internet
RPi.GPIO Library
import RPi.GPIO as GPIOImport the RPi.GPIO module into the python sketch
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BCM)Use Broadcom pin numbers (GPIO 14, GPIO 15 etc)
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BOARD)Use board pin numbers (4,5, 8 etc)
GPIO.getmode()Returns current pin numbering mode (BCM, BOARD, or None)
GPIO.setup([pin number], GPIO.IN)Set up the pin at [pin number] to be an input
GPIO.setup([pin number], GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_DOWN)Set up the pin at [pin number] to be an input with internal pull down resistance
GPIO.setup([pin number], GPIO.IN, pull_up_down=GPIO.PUD_UP)Set up the pin at [pin number] to be an input with internal pull up resistance
GPIO.setup([pin number], GPIO.OUT)Set up the pin at [pin number] to be an output
GPIO.setup([pin number], GPIO.OUT, initial=1)Set up the pin at [pin number] to be an output with the initial value '1'
GPIO.output([pin number], 1)Set [pin number]'s value to 1. Note that 1, GPIO.HIGH and True are the same thing
GPIO.output([pin number], 0)Set [pin number]'s value to 0. Note that 0, GPIO.LOW and False are the same thing
i = GPIO.input([pin number])Set the variable i to the value of [pin number]
if GPIO.input([pin number]):Use the value of [pin number] as a boolean in code
GPIO.cleanup()Reset all GPIO pins (good practice to call before leaving any program)
GPIO.VERSIONReturns current RPi.GPIO version
GPIO Zero Library
LEDs
from gpiozero import LEDImport the LED section of the gpiozero library
led = LED(17)Assign the 'led' variable to an LED on pin GPIO 17
led.on()Turn on the LED stored in the 'led' variable
led.off()Turn off the LED stored in the 'led' variable
led.toggle()Toggle the LED stored in the 'led' variable (if it's off, turn it on and vice versa)
Motors
from gpiozero import MotorImport the Motor section of the gpiozero library
motor = Motor(17, 18)Assign the variable 'motor' to a Motor object containing the forward and backward drive pin numbers
motor.forward()Activate the forward pin of the variable 'motor'
motor.backward()Activate the backward pin of the variable 'motor'
motor.reverse()Reverse the current motor direction
motor.stop()Stop the motor
Buzzer
from gpiozero import BuzzerImport the Buzzer section of the gpiozero library
bz = Buzzer(3)Assign the variable bz to a Buzzer on pin GPIO3
bz.on()Turn the buzzer on
bz.off()Turn the buzzer off
bz.toggle()Toggle the buzzer's state (if it's off, turn it on and vice versa)
Servo
from gpiozero import ServoImport the Servo section of the gpiozero library
servo = Servo(17)Assign the 'servo' variable to a Servo on GPIO 17
servo.min()Move the servo to its minimum value
servo.mid()Move the servo to its middle value
servo.max()Move the servo to its maximum value
servo.value = 0.5Move the servo to a set numerical point (min = -1, max = 1)
Raspi Camera Image
raspistillCommand to take a still image with attached camera, modify with arguments below
--width, -wSet image width
--height, -hSet image height
--quality, -qSet JPEG quality (75 is most common)
--raw, -rInserts raw Bayer data from the camera into the JPEG metadata
--output, -oOutput filename (required for saving)
--latest, -lAdd latest frame to filename
--verbose, -vVerbose debugging information during run
--timeout, -tSet a time to wait before capturing an image.
--encoding, -eEncoding to use for output file - jpg, gif, bmp, or png
Raspi Camera Video
raspividCommand to take a video using attached camera, modify with arguments below
--width, -wSet image width (between 64px - 1920px)
--height, -hSet image height (between 64px - 1080px)
--bitrate, -bSet bitrate in bits per second (i.e 15 Mbits/s = 15000000)
--output, -oOutput filename (required for saving)
--verbose, -vVerbose debugging information during run
--timeout, -tSet a time to wait before capturing video
--framerate, -fpsSpecify the frames per second for recording

Expand Your Knowledge With Linux

These commands will help you navigate the Pi’s terminal, and program its GPIO pins. That said, this cheat sheet doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. There is a huge depth of support for hobby components, cameras and screens for the Raspberry Pi. Listing them in one place is almost impossible!

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The good thing is, since the Raspberry Pi is a Linux computer, you can reference a cheat sheet for general Linux systems The Linux Commands Reference Cheat Sheet This simple cheat sheet will help you get comfortable with the Linux command line terminal in no time. Read More to expand your knowledge even further.

Related topics: Cheat Sheet, Raspberry Pi.

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