A command-line productivity tool powered by GPT-3 and GPT-4, will help you accomplish your tasks faster and more efficiently.

TheR1D TheR1D Last update: Sep 08, 2023


A command-line productivity tool powered by AI large language models (LLM). As developers, we can leverage AI capabilities to generate shell commands, code snippets, comments, and documentation, among other things. Forget about cheat sheets and notes, with this tool you can get accurate answers right in your terminal, and you'll probably find yourself reducing your daily Google searches, saving you valuable time and effort. ShellGPT is cross-platform compatible and supports all major operating systems, including Linux, macOS, and Windows with all major shells, such as PowerShell, CMD, Bash, Zsh, Fish, and many others.



pip install shell-gpt

You'll need an OpenAI API key, you can generate one here.

If the$OPENAI_API_KEY environment variable is set it will be used, otherwise, you will be prompted for your key which will then be stored in ~/.config/shell_gpt/.sgptrc.


sgpt has a variety of use cases, including simple queries, shell queries, and code queries.

Simple queries

We can use it as normal search engine, asking about anything:

sgpt "nginx default config file location"
# -> The default configuration file for Nginx is located at /etc/nginx/nginx.conf.
sgpt "mass of sun"
# -> = 1.99 × 10^30 kg
sgpt "1 hour and 30 minutes to seconds"
# -> 5,400 seconds

Summarization and analyzing

ShellGPT accepts prompt from both stdin and command line argument, you choose the most convenient input method for your preferences. Whether you prefer piping input through the terminal or specifying it directly as arguments, sgpt got you covered. This versatile feature is particularly useful when you need to pass file content or pipe output from other commands to the GPT models for summarization or analysis. For example, you can easily generate a git commit message based on a diff:

git diff | sgpt "Generate git commit message, for my changes"
# -> Commit message: Implement Model enum and get_edited_prompt()

You can analyze logs from various sources by passing them using stdin or command line arguments, along with a user-friendly prompt. This enables you to quickly identify errors and get suggestions for possible solutions:

docker logs -n 20 container_name | sgpt "check logs, find errors, provide possible solutions"
# ...

This powerful feature simplifies the process of managing and understanding data from different sources, making it easier for you to focus on what really matters: improving your projects and applications.

Shell commands

Have you ever found yourself forgetting common shell commands, such as chmod, and needing to look up the syntax online? With --shell or shortcut -s option, you can quickly find and execute the commands you need right in the terminal.

sgpt --shell "make all files in current directory read only"
# -> chmod 444 *
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: e

Shell GPT is aware of OS and $SHELL you are using, it will provide shell command for specific system you have. For instance, if you ask sgpt to update your system, it will return a command based on your OS. Here's an example using macOS:

sgpt -s "update my system"
# -> sudo softwareupdate -i -a
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: e

The same prompt, when used on Ubuntu, will generate a different suggestion:

sgpt -s "update my system"
# -> sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: e

We can ask GPT to describe suggested shell command, it will provide a short description of what the command does:

sgpt -s "show all txt files in current folder"
# -> ls *.txt
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: d
# -> List all files with .txt extension in current directory
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: e

Let's try some docker containers:

sgpt -s "start nginx using docker, forward 443 and 80 port, mount current folder with index.html"
# -> docker run -d -p 443:443 -p 80:80 -v $(pwd):/usr/share/nginx/html nginx
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: e

We can still use pipes to pass input to sgpt and get shell commands as output:

cat data.json | sgpt -s "curl localhost with provided json"
# -> curl -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{"a": 1, "b": 2, "c": 3}' http://localhost

We can apply additional shell magic in our prompt, in this example passing file names to ffmpeg:

# -> 1.mp4 2.mp4 3.mp4
sgpt -s "using ffmpeg combine multiple videos into one without audio. Video file names: $(ls -m)"
# -> ffmpeg -i 1.mp4 -i 2.mp4 -i 3.mp4 -filter_complex "[0:v] [1:v] [2:v] concat=n=3:v=1 [v]" -map "[v]" out.mp4
# -> [E]xecute, [D]escribe, [A]bort: e

Shell integration

Shell integration allows you to use Shell-GPT in your terminal with hotkeys. It is currently available for bash and zsh. It will allow you to have sgpt completions in your shell history, and also edit suggested commands right away.


To install shell integration, run:

sgpt --install-integration
# Restart your terminal to apply changes.

This will add few lines to your .bashrc or .zshrc file. After that, you can use Ctrl+l (by default) to invoke Shell-GPT. When you press Ctrl+l it will replace you current input line (buffer) with suggested command. You can then edit it and press Enter to execute.

Generating code

With --code parameters we can query only code as output, for example:

sgpt --code "Solve classic fizz buzz problem using Python"
for i in range(1, 101):
    if i % 3 == 0 and i % 5 == 0:
    elif i % 3 == 0:
    elif i % 5 == 0:

Since it is valid python code, we can redirect the output to file:

sgpt --code "solve classic fizz buzz problem using Python" > fizz_buzz.py
python fizz_buzz.py
# 1
# 2
# Fizz
# 4
# Buzz
# Fizz
# ...

We can also use pipes to pass input to sgpt:

cat fizz_buzz.py | sgpt --code "Generate comments for each line of my code"
# Loop through numbers 1 to 100
for i in range(1, 101):
    # Check if number is divisible by both 3 and 5
    if i % 3 == 0 and i % 5 == 0:
        # Print "FizzBuzz" if number is divisible by both 3 and 5
    # Check if number is divisible by 3
    elif i % 3 == 0:
        # Print "Fizz" if number is divisible by 3
    # Check if number is divisible by 5
    elif i % 5 == 0:
        # Print "Buzz" if number is divisible by 5
    # If number is not divisible by 3 or 5, print the number itself

Conversational Modes - Overview

Often it is important to preserve and recall a conversation and this is kept track of locally. sgpt creates conversational dialogue with each llm completion requested. The dialogue can develop one-by-one (chat mode) or interactively, in a REPL loop (REPL mode). Both ways rely on the same underlying object, called a chat session. The session is located at the configurable CHAT_CACHE_PATH.

Listing and Showing Chat Sessions

Dialogues had in both REPL and chat mode are saved as chat sessions.

To list all the sessions from either conversational mode, use the --list-chats option:

sgpt --list-chats
# .../shell_gpt/chat_cache/number
# .../shell_gpt/chat_cache/python_request

To show all the messages related to a specific conversation, use the --show-chat option followed by the session name:

sgpt --show-chat number
# user: please remember my favorite number: 4
# assistant: I will remember that your favorite number is 4.
# user: what would be my favorite number + 4?
# assistant: Your favorite number is 4, so if we add 4 to it, the result would be 8.

Chat Mode

To start a chat session, use the --chat option followed by a unique session name and a prompt. You can also use "temp" as a session name to start a temporary chat session.

sgpt --chat number "please remember my favorite number: 4"
# -> I will remember that your favorite number is 4.
sgpt --chat number "what would be my favorite number + 4?"
# -> Your favorite number is 4, so if we add 4 to it, the result would be 8.

You can also use chat sessions to iteratively improve GPT suggestions by providing additional clues.

sgpt --chat python_request --code "make an example request to localhost using Python"
import requests

response = requests.get('http://localhost')

Asking AI to add a cache to our request.

sgpt --chat python_request --code "add caching"
import requests
from cachecontrol import CacheControl

sess = requests.session()
cached_sess = CacheControl(sess)

response = cached_sess.get('http://localhost')

We can use --code or --shell options to initiate --chat, so you can keep refining the results:

sgpt --chat sh --shell "What are the files in this directory?"
# -> ls
sgpt --chat sh "Sort them by name"
# -> ls | sort
sgpt --chat sh "Concatenate them using FFMPEG"
# -> ffmpeg -i "concat:$(ls | sort | tr '\n' '|')" -codec copy output.mp4
sgpt --chat sh "Convert the resulting file into an MP3"
# -> ffmpeg -i output.mp4 -vn -acodec libmp3lame -ac 2 -ab 160k -ar 48000 final_output.mp3


There is very handy REPL (read–eval–print loop) mode, which allows you to interactively chat with GPT models. To start a chat session in REPL mode, use the --repl option followed by a unique session name. You can also use "temp" as a session name to start a temporary REPL session. Note that --chat and --repl are using same chat sessions, so you can use --chat to start a chat session and then use --repl to continue the conversation in REPL mode. REPL mode will also show history of your conversation in the beginning.


sgpt --repl temp
Entering REPL mode, press Ctrl+C to exit.
>>> What is REPL?
REPL stands for Read-Eval-Print Loop. It is a programming environment ...
>>> How can I use Python with REPL?
To use Python with REPL, you can simply open a terminal or command prompt ...

REPL mode can work with --shell and --code options, which makes it very handy for interactive shell commands and code generation:

sgpt --repl temp --shell
Entering shell REPL mode, type [e] to execute commands or press Ctrl+C to exit.
>>> What is in current folder?
>>> Show file sizes
ls -lh
>>> Sort them by file sizes
ls -lhS
>>> e (enter just e to execute commands, or d to describe them)

Example of using REPL mode to generate code:

sgpt --repl temp --code
Entering REPL mode, press Ctrl+C to exit.
>>> Using Python request localhost:80
import requests
response = requests.get('http://localhost:80')
>>> Change port to 443
import requests
response = requests.get('https://localhost:443')

Picking up on a chat mode conversation with REPL mode

sgpt --repl number
───── Chat History──────
user: ###
Role name: default
You are Command Line App ShellGPT, a programming and system administration assistant.
You are managing Darwin/MacOS 13.3.1 operating system with zsh shell.
Provide only plain text without Markdown formatting.
Do not show any warnings or information regarding your capabilities.
If you need to store any data, assume it will be stored in the chat.

Request: please remember my favorite number: 4
assistant: Sure, I have stored your favorite number as 4.
user: what would be my favorite number raised to the power of 4
assistant: Your favorite number raised to the power of 4 would be 256.
Entering REPL mode, press Ctrl+C to exit.
>>> What is the sum of my favorite number and your previous response?
The sum of your favorite number (4) and my previous response (256) would be 260.


ShellGPT allows you to create custom roles, which can be utilized to generate code, shell commands, or to fulfill your specific needs. To create a new role, use the --create-role option followed by the role name. You will be prompted to provide a description for the role, along with other details. This will create a JSON file in ~/.config/shell_gpt/roles with the role name. Inside this directory, you can also edit default sgpt roles, such as shell, code, and default. Use the --list-roles option to list all available roles, and the --show-role option to display the details of a specific role. Here's an example of a custom role:

sgpt --create-role json
# Enter role description: You are JSON generator, provide only valid json as response.
# Enter expecting result, e.g. answer, code, shell command, etc.: json
sgpt --role json "random: user, password, email, address"
  "user": "JohnDoe",
  "password": "p@ssw0rd",
  "email": "[email protected]",
  "address": {
    "street": "123 Main St",
    "city": "Anytown",
    "state": "CA",
    "zip": "12345"

Request cache

Control cache using --cache (default) and --no-cache options. This caching applies for all sgpt requests to OpenAI API:

sgpt "what are the colors of a rainbow"
# -> The colors of a rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

Next time, same exact query will get results from local cache instantly. Note that sgpt "what are the colors of a rainbow" --temperature 0.5 will make a new request, since we didn't provide --temperature (same applies to --top-probability) on previous request.

This is just some examples of what we can do using OpenAI GPT models, I'm sure you will find it useful for your specific use cases.

Runtime configuration file

You can setup some parameters in runtime configuration file ~/.config/shell_gpt/.sgptrc:

# API key, also it is possible to define OPENAI_API_KEY env.
# OpenAI host, useful if you would like to use proxy.
# Max amount of cached message per chat session.
# Chat cache folder.
# Request cache length (amount).
# Request cache folder.
# Request timeout in seconds.
# Default OpenAI model to use.
# Default color for OpenAI completions.
# Force use system role messages (not recommended).
# When in --shell mode, default to "Y" for no input.
# Disable streaming of responses

Possible options for DEFAULT_COLOR: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, bright_black, bright_red, bright_green, bright_yellow, bright_blue, bright_magenta, bright_cyan, bright_white.

Switch SYSTEM_ROLES to force use system roles messages, this is not recommended, since it doesn't perform well with current GPT models.

Full list of arguments

╭─ Arguments ─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────╮
│   prompt      [PROMPT]  The prompt to generate completions for.                                             │
╭─ Options ───────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────╮
│ --model            TEXT                             OpenAI GPT model to use. [default: gpt-3.5-turbo]       │
│ --temperature      FLOAT RANGE [0.0<=x<=2.0]        Randomness of generated output. [default: 0.1]          │
│ --top-probability  FLOAT RANGE [0.1<=x<=1.0]        Limits highest probable tokens (words). [default: 1.0]  │
│ --editor                                            Open $EDITOR to provide a prompt. [default: no-editor]  │
│ --cache                                             Cache completion results. [default: cache]              │
│ --help                                              Show this message and exit.                             │
╭─ Assistance Options ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────╮
│ --shell  -s                 Generate and execute shell commands.                                            │
│ --describe-shell  -d        Describe a shell command.                                                       │
│ --code       --no-code      Generate only code. [default: no-code]                                          │
╭─ Chat Options ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────╮
│ --chat        TEXT  Follow conversation with id, use "temp" for quick session. [default: None]              │
│ --repl        TEXT  Start a REPL (Read–eval–print loop) session. [default: None]                            │
│ --show-chat   TEXT  Show all messages from provided chat id. [default: None]                                │
│ --list-chats        List all existing chat ids. [default: no-list-chats]                                    │
╭─ Role Options ──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────╮
│ --role         TEXT  System role for GPT model. [default: None]                                             │
│ --create-role  TEXT  Create role. [default: None]                                                           │
│ --show-role    TEXT  Show role. [default: None]                                                             │
│ --list-roles         List roles. [default: no-list-roles]                                                   │


By default, ShellGPT leverages OpenAI's large language models. However, it also provides the flexibility to use locally hosted models, which can be a cost-effective alternative. To use local models, you will need to run your own API server. You can accomplish this by using LocalAI, a self-hosted, OpenAI-compatible API. Setting up LocalAI allows you to run language models on your own hardware, potentially without the need for an internet connection, depending on your usage. To set up your LocalAI, please follow this comprehensive guide. Remember that the performance of your local models may depend on the specifications of your hardware and the specific language model you choose to deploy.


Run the container using the OPENAI_API_KEY environment variable, and a docker volume to store cache:

docker run --rm \
           --env OPENAI_API_KEY="your OPENAI API key" \
           --volume gpt-cache:/tmp/shell_gpt \
       ghcr.io/ther1d/shell_gpt --chat rainbow "what are the colors of a rainbow"

Example of a conversation, using an alias and the OPENAI_API_KEY environment variable:

alias sgpt="docker run --rm --env OPENAI_API_KEY --volume gpt-cache:/tmp/shell_gpt ghcr.io/ther1d/shell_gpt"
export OPENAI_API_KEY="your OPENAI API key"
sgpt --chat rainbow "what are the colors of a rainbow"
sgpt --chat rainbow "inverse the list of your last answer"
sgpt --chat rainbow "translate your last answer in french"

You also can use the provided Dockerfile to build your own image:

docker build -t sgpt .

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