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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

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ispell [options] [files]

Compare the words of one or more named files with the system dictionary. Display unrecognized words at the top of the screen, accompanied by possible correct spellings, and allow editing via a series of commands.



Back up original file in filename.bak.


Count two correctly spelled words without a space between them as a spelling error.


Count two correctly spelled words without a space between them as a legitimate compound word.

-d file

Search file instead of standard dictionary file.


File is in HTML/XML format.


Suggest combinations of known roots and affixes, even if the result is not known. For example, "generous" and "ly" are known, so "generously" would be suggested as a word, even if it were not in the dictionary.


Expect nroff or troff input file.


Do not guess new words using known roots and affixes. The opposite of -m.

-p file

Search file instead of personal dictionary file.


Expect TEX or LATEX input file.

-w chars

Consider chars to be legal, in addition to a-z and A-Z.


Do not back up original file.


Search for missing blanks (resulting in concatenated words) in addition to ordinary misspellings.


Do not produce error messages in response to concatenated words.

-L number

Show number lines of context.


List interactive commands at bottom of screen.


Suppress printing of interactive commands.


Do not attempt to suggest more root/affix combinations.


Sort suggested replacements by likelihood that they are correct.

-T type

Expect all files to be formatted by type.

-W n

Never consider words that are n characters or fewer to be misspelled.


Use hat notation (^L) to display control characters, and M- to display characters with the high bit set.

Interactive commands


Display help screen.


Accept the word in this instance.


Replace with suggested word that corresponds to number.


Invoke shell and execute command in it. Prompt before exiting.


Accept word as correctly spelled, but do not add it to personal dictionary.


Accept word and add it (with any current capitalization) to personal dictionary.


Search system dictionary for words.


Exit without saving.


Replace word.


Accept word and add lowercase version of it to personal dictionary.


Skip to the next file, saving changes.


Redraw screen.


Suspend ispell.

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