XKCD Console Cheatsheet

xkcd released a really original version of his site: unixkcd. It features a linux-like shell which you can use to navigate the comigs or go to other parts of the site. Some of the commands are not displayed and we have to figure out ourselves. Well, here I include a list of all possible commands, with some usage examples (where applicable).

UPDATE: The site no longer features the unixkcd interface by default anymore, but you can still use it clicking here.


display <comic_id>: Displays the comic with id comic_id.
display 721

next: Displays the next comic.

prev, previous: Displays the previous comic.

first: Displays the first comic.

last, latest: Displays the last comic (the latest).

random: Displays a random comic.

goto <comic_id>: Displays the comic 292 – “Go to”, and suggests: Did you mean “display”?

cd <directory>: cd’s into the specified directory. The available directories are: blog (also blag), forums (also fora), store and about.
– If the directory doesn’t exist => cd: “<path>” : No such file or directory

cat <filename>: Prints the contents of the specified file. Available files are: welcome.txt and licence.txt
– If no argument specified => You’re a Kitty!
– If the file is a directory => cat: “<path>” : Is a directory
– If no file/directory exists => cat: “<path>”: No such file or directory

ls: Lists all available files and directories.

rm <filename> => Removes the file from the filesystem.

rm -r filename => Removes recursively (so you can also remove directories).

reddit <comic_id>: Adds the specified comic number to reddit and then shows a reddit gadget with the number of votes for that comic. If you do not specify a number, then it adds the current location (the website root) to reddit, and shows the current number of votes.

[sudo] apt-get [update|upgrade|dist-upgrade]: Many things, as follows:

apt-get =>This APT has Super Cow Powers.
apt-get <weird_command> => E: Invalid operation <weird_command>
apt-get [update|upgrade|dist-upgrade] =>
E: Unable to lock the administration directory, are you root?
sudo apt-get update => Reading package lists… Done
sudo apt-get upgrade: If you’re using any version of IE or Firefox, or your browser’s version is < 3, it shows a link with the words “To complete installation, click here.” The link will take you to http://abetterbrowser.org. Else, it shows the message: This looks pretty good to me.
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade =>You are already running <os_name>.
sudo apt-get moo: Shows a fancy ascii-art cow and the message: ….”Have you mooed today?”…

sudo <command>: Executes the specified command if it exists (from the ones in this list).
– If the command does not exist => sudo: “<command>”: command not found
– There’s a special variation:

sudo make me a sandwich => Okay.

man <command>: Many things, as follows.

man last => Man, last night was AWESOME.
man help => Man, help me out here.
man next =>
Request confirmed; you will be reincarnated as a man next.
man cat =>
You are now riding a half-man half-cat.
man <other> => Oh, I’m sure you can figure it out.

pwd => You’re in a mess of twisty passages, all alike.


hello joshua => How about a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War?

xyzzy => Nothing happens.

date => March 32nd

emacs => You should really use vim.

vi, vim => You should really use emacs.

asl, a/s/l => Prints one of the following:

‘2/AMD64/Server Rack’
‘6/M/Battle School’
’48/M/The White House’
‘Exactly your age/A gender you’re attracted to/Far far away.’
’42/M/FBI Field Office’

find kitten => Shows the game from robotfindskitten.net

buy stuff => Enters the store (same as cd store).

<non-existing command> => Unrecognized command. Type “help” for assistance.

help => That would be cheating.

i read the source code: Prints an ascii heart: <3

make me a sandwich => What? Make it yourself. (reported by Nico Far)

more => Oh, yes! More! More!

locate => Locate what?

locate ninja => Ninja can not be found!
locate keys => Have you checked your coat pocket?
locate joke => Joke found on user.
locate problem => Problem exists between keyboard and chair.

finger => Mmmmmm…

echo => Echo … echo … echo …

bash => You bash your head against the wall. It’s not very effective. (I’m sure i’m not the only one to understand the hidden reference here, right?)

hello => Hello.

hi => Hi.

who => Who are you?

f**ck => I have a headache. (use all the letters when you type it)

xkcd => Yes?

su => God mode activated. Remember, with great power comes great … aw, screw it, go have fun.

whoami => You are Richard Stallman

uname => Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator

top => It’s up there –^

ping => There is another submarine three miles ahead, bearing 225, forty fathoms down.

your gay => Keep your hands off it!

ssh => ssh, this is a library.

cheat => shows a link that says “*** FREE SHIPPING ENABLED ***“. The source code doesn’t do anything in particular, so if this is true the it is so just because shipping is free and not because you typed in this keyword.

wget => Enters the store (same as cd store).

curl => Starts loading “something”, never receiving a response.

curl <url>, wget <url> =>Loads the url inside an inline frame. Very useful if you wish to surf the web through unixkcd =)

irc <nickname> => Opens a Mibbit chat widget.

poweroff, shutdown, reboot, restart => Must be root.

sudo [poweroff | shutdown]: Check it out yourself! (reported by Adrian Díaz)

sudo [reboot | restart] => Reboots the shell, first printing the following for a very short period of time:

Broadcast message from [email protected]
The system is going down for maintenance NOW!

logout, exit, quit => Ends the shell session, showing the message “Bye.”

nano => Seriously? Why don’t you just use Notepad.exe? Or MS Paint? (reported by “n”)

clear => Clears the screen. Also triggered by pressing Ctrl+L

go <direction> (reported by Joe)

go => Go where?
go down => On our first date?
go <direction> => You cannot go <direction>

kill => Terminator deployed to 1984 (reported by Nico Far)

sleep => The console will goes blank with the message “you take a nap“. After 3 or 4 seconds, it appears again with the message “You awake refreshed“. (yet another hidden reference, I believe – reported by Jon)

serenity => You can’t take the sky from me. (reported by Ann)

locate raptor => BEHIND YOU!!! (reported by ann and Melissa)

use the force luke => I believe you mean source.” (reported by Seng)

use the source luke => I’m not luke, you’re luke! (reported by Seng)

enable time travel => TARDIS error: Time Lord missing.” (reported by Seng)

Keyboard Shortcuts

CTRL + W => Deletes the previous word in the terminal.
CTRL + H => Deletes the previous character in the terminal.
CTRL + L => Clears the screen.
CTRL + A => Goes to the beginning of the line.
CTRL + E => Goes to the end of the line.


The console also features a game. I will let the readers figure it out (or else its no fun). The commands are:

go <direction>
light <what>


There is at least one thing you can’t do by typing anything, so I guess it falls more into the “cheats” category. Enter the following keys in sequence to see cumulative changes to the interface. You can repeat the cheat up to five times:

[up] [up] [down] [down] [left] [right] [left] [right] [B] [A]

Thanks Insignis for reporting it!

Wrapping Up

Yet another really original idea by xkcd, I loved it! Spread the word!! (you can use the floating links to the right).

The sourcecode is available from the website or from github.


There’s some more commands I missed. If you know one or a few of them, please comment and I will update the list! Thanks to those that have already informed me about a couple of them.

23 Comments XKCD Console Cheatsheet

    1. Gabriel Somoza

      Thanks, I’ll add the command to the list as soon as I have a couple of minutes. However, note that the “go (where)” command just echoes “You cannot go (where)” when the parameter is not recognized. An example of a correct parameter is “go down”.

  1. Jon

    If you type “sleep” the console will go blank with the message “you take a nap”. Random clicking will bring you back to the unixkcd interface, with the message “you awake refreshed” and all the commands you typed earlier still up. Figured that one out myself.

  2. Ann

    Try “locate raptor” it responds with “BEHIND YOU!!!”
    Also “Serenity”: “You can’t take the sky from me”

  3. insignis

    Enter (with the arrow keys and the B and A keys) up up down down left right left right B A. Each time you enter it, up to five times, the interface changes a bit.

  4. Bruce

    If you type “sleep” the console will go blank with the message “you take a nap”. Random clicking will bring you back to the unixkcd interface, with the message “you awake refreshed” and all the commands you typed earlier still up. Figured that one out myself.


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