You can abbreviate a GDB command to the first few letters of the command name, if that abbreviation is unambiguous; and you can repeat certain GDB commands by typing just RET. You can also use the TAB key to get GDB to fill out the rest of a word in a command (or to show you the alternatives available, if there is more than one possibility).
A GDB command is a single line of input. There is no limit on
how long it can be. It starts with a command name, which is followed by
arguments whose meaning depends on the command name. For example, the
step accepts an argument which is the number of times to
step, as in `step 5'. You can also use the
with no arguments. Some commands do not allow any arguments.
GDB command names may always be truncated if that abbreviation is
unambiguous. Other possible command abbreviations are listed in the
documentation for individual commands. In some cases, even ambiguous
abbreviations are allowed; for example,
s is specially defined as
step even though there are other commands whose
names start with
s. You can test abbreviations by using them as
arguments to the
A blank line as input to GDB (typing just RET) means to
repeat the previous command. Certain commands (for example,
will not repeat this way; these are commands whose unintentional
repetition might cause trouble and which you are unlikely to want to
repeat. User-defined commands can disable this feature; see
section User-defined commands.
x commands, when you repeat them with
RET, construct new arguments rather than repeating
exactly as typed. This permits easy scanning of source or memory.
GDB can also use RET in another way: to partition lengthy
output, in a way similar to the common utility
(see section Screen size). Since it is easy to press one
RET too many in this situation, GDB disables command
repetition after any command that generates this sort of display.
Any text from a # to the end of the line is a comment; it does nothing. This is useful mainly in command files (see section Command files).
The C-o binding is useful for repeating a complex sequence of commands. This command accepts the current line, like RET, and then fetches the next line relative to the current line from the history for editing.
GDB can fill in the rest of a word in a command for you, if there is only one possibility; it can also show you what the valid possibilities are for the next word in a command, at any time. This works for GDB commands, GDB subcommands, and the names of symbols in your program.
Press the TAB key whenever you want GDB to fill out the rest of a word. If there is only one possibility, GDB fills in the word, and waits for you to finish the command (or press RET to enter it). For example, if you type
(gdb) info bre TAB
GDB fills in the rest of the word `breakpoints', since that is
info subcommand beginning with `bre':
(gdb) info breakpoints
You can either press RET at this point, to run the
breakpoints command, or backspace and enter something else, if
`breakpoints' does not look like the command you expected. (If you
were sure you wanted
info breakpoints in the first place, you
might as well just type RET immediately after `info bre',
to exploit command abbreviations rather than command completion).
If there is more than one possibility for the next word when you press TAB, GDB sounds a bell. You can either supply more characters and try again, or just press TAB a second time; GDB displays all the possible completions for that word. For example, you might want to set a breakpoint on a subroutine whose name begins with `make_', but when you type b make_TAB GDB just sounds the bell. Typing TAB again displays all the function names in your program that begin with those characters, for example:
(gdb) b make_ TAB GDB sounds bell; press TAB again, to see: make_a_section_from_file make_environ make_abs_section make_function_type make_blockvector make_pointer_type make_cleanup make_reference_type make_command make_symbol_completion_list (gdb) b make_
After displaying the available possibilities, GDB copies your partial input (`b make_' in the example) so you can finish the command.
If you just want to see the list of alternatives in the first place, you can press M-? rather than pressing TAB twice. M-? means META ?. You can type this either by holding down a key designated as the META shift on your keyboard (if there is one) while typing ?, or as ESC followed by ?.
Sometimes the string you need, while logically a "word", may contain
parentheses or other characters that GDB normally excludes from
its notion of a word. To permit word completion to work in this
situation, you may enclose words in
' (single quote marks) in
The most likely situation where you might need this is in typing the
name of a C++ function. This is because C++ allows function
overloading (multiple definitions of the same function, distinguished
by argument type). For example, when you want to set a breakpoint you
may need to distinguish whether you mean the version of
that takes an
name(int), or the version
that takes a
name(float). To use the
word-completion facilities in this situation, type a single quote
' at the beginning of the function name. This alerts
GDB that it may need to consider more information than usual
when you press TAB or M-? to request word completion:
(gdb) b 'bubble( M-? bubble(double,double) bubble(int,int) (gdb) b 'bubble(
In some cases, GDB can tell that completing a name requires using quotes. When this happens, GDB inserts the quote for you (while completing as much as it can) if you do not type the quote in the first place:
(gdb) b bub TAB GDB alters your input line to the following, and rings a bell: (gdb) b 'bubble(
In general, GDB can tell that a quote is needed (and inserts it) if you have not yet started typing the argument list when you ask for completion on an overloaded symbol.
For more information about overloaded functions, see section C++ expressions. You can use the command
overload-resolution off to disable overload resolution;
see section GDB features for C++.
You can always ask GDB itself for information on its commands,
using the command
You can use
h) with no arguments to display a short list of named classes of commands:
(gdb) help List of classes of commands: aliases -- Aliases of other commands breakpoints -- Making program stop at certain points data -- Examining data files -- Specifying and examining files internals -- Maintenance commands obscure -- Obscure features running -- Running the program stack -- Examining the stack status -- Status inquiries support -- Support facilities tracepoints -- Tracing of program execution without
stopping the program user-defined -- User-defined commands Type "help" followed by a class name for a list of commands in that class. Type "help" followed by command name for full documentation. Command name abbreviations are allowed if unambiguous. (gdb)
Using one of the general help classes as an argument, you can get a
list of the individual commands in that class. For example, here is the
help display for the class
(gdb) help status Status inquiries. List of commands: info -- Generic command for showing things about the program being debugged show -- Generic command for showing things about the debugger Type "help" followed by command name for full documentation. Command name abbreviations are allowed if unambiguous. (gdb)
With a command name as
helpargument, GDB displays a short paragraph on how to use that command.
aproposcommand searches through all of the GDB commands, and their documentation, for the regular expression specified in args. It prints out all matches found. For example:
apropos reloadresults in:
set symbol-reloading -- Set dynamic symbol table reloading multiple times in one run show symbol-reloading -- Show dynamic symbol table reloading multiple times in one run
complete argscommand lists all the possible completions for the beginning of a command. Use args to specify the beginning of the command you want completed. For example:
complete iresults in:
if ignore info inspectThis is intended for use by GNU Emacs.
In addition to
help, you can use the GDB commands
show to inquire about the state of your program, or the state
of GDB itself. Each command supports many topics of inquiry; this
manual introduces each of them in the appropriate context. The listings
info and under
show in the Index point to
all the sub-commands. See section Index.
This command (abbreviated
i) is for describing the state of your program. For example, you can list the arguments given to your program with
info args, list the registers currently in use with
info registers, or list the breakpoints you have set with
info breakpoints. You can get a complete list of the
You can assign the result of an expression to an environment variable with
set. For example, you can set the GDB prompt to a $-sign with
set prompt $.
In contrast to
showis for describing the state of GDB itself. You can change most of the things you can
show, by using the related command
set; for example, you can control what number system is used for displays with
set radix, or simply inquire which is currently in use with
show radix. To display all the settable parameters and their current values, you can use
showwith no arguments; you may also use
info set. Both commands produce the same display.
Here are three miscellaneous
show subcommands, all of which are
exceptional in lacking corresponding
- Show what version of GDB is running. You should include this information in GDB bug-reports. If multiple versions of GDB are in use at your site, you may need to determine which version of GDB you are running; as GDB evolves, new commands are introduced, and old ones may wither away. Also, many system vendors ship variant versions of GDB, and there are variant versions of GDB in GNU/Linux distributions as well. The version number is the same as the one announced when you start GDB.
- Display information about permission for copying GDB.
- Display the GNU "NO WARRANTY" statement, or a warranty, if your version of GDB comes with one.
Go to the first, previous, next, last section, table of contents.