MS-DOS Commands :: doskey


Displays a history of previously entered commands (similar to the history command in Linux). It also enables you to create command macros.

Press the following keys to navigate the history:

  • Up arrow: Recall older commands.
  • Down arrow: Recall newer commands.
  • Esc: Stop recalling and clear the command line.
  • F7: Display history in popup. Arrow keys to scroll; Enter to select
  • Alt-F7: Immediately erases command history.
  • F8: Search history (e.g.: type copy then F8 for commands starting with copy). F8 again to find next.

Command Variations:

doskey macro = text

Creates a command macro named macro and sets its value to text. After the macro is defined, you can run that macro simply by typing its name at the command prompt and pressing Enter. Note: Spaces before/after the = character are optional.

The text can contain the following special meaning characters:

  • $* : Equals everything on the command line after the macro name.
  • $1, $2, ... $9 : Batch parameters. Similar to %1-%9 in batch files.
  • $T : Command separate to allow multiple commands in one macro.

doskey ls = dir /w /o:ne $*

Creates a macro command named ls that displays a wide directory listing sorted by filename and filename extension (this is similar to the Linux ls directory listing command). If you type ls then a listing of the current directory is display; if you type ls directory then a listing of the specified directory is displayed; if you type ls *.txt then a listing of all .txt files in the current directory is displayed.

Command Options:

The following examples demonstrate some of the more useful options of the doskey command. For the complete list of options, type doskey /? or help doskey

doskey /history

Displays the history.

doskey /macros

Displays the defined macros.

doskey /reinstall

Restarts the doskey program. As a side effect, erases the command history as well as the defined macros. If you find that doskey has stopped responding to history keys (e.g.: up/down arrow keys) then simply restart it with this command option.

help doskey

Edits command lines, recalls Windows XP commands, and creates macros.


  /REINSTALL          Installs a new copy of Doskey.
  /LISTSIZE=size      Sets size of command history buffer.
  /MACROS             Displays all Doskey macros.
  /MACROS:ALL         Displays all Doskey macros for all executables which have
                      Doskey macros.
  /MACROS:exename     Displays all Doskey macros for the given executable.
  /HISTORY            Displays all commands stored in memory.
  /INSERT             Specifies that new text you type is inserted in old text.
  /OVERSTRIKE         Specifies that new text overwrites old text.
  /EXENAME=exename    Specifies the executable.
  /MACROFILE=filename Specifies a file of macros to install.
  macroname           Specifies a name for a macro you create.
  text                Specifies commands you want to record.

UP and DOWN ARROWS recall commands; ESC clears command line; F7 displays
command history; ALT+F7 clears command history; F8 searches command
history; F9 selects a command by number; ALT+F10 clears macro definitions.

The following are some special codes in Doskey macro definitions:
$T     Command separator.  Allows multiple commands in a macro.
$1-$9  Batch parameters.  Equivalent to %1-%9 in batch programs.
$*     Symbol replaced by everything following macro name on command line.

(Enlarge: help doskey)