Excellent Utilities: peco – interactive filtering tool

This is a new series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We’ll be covering a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.

The Command Line Interface (CLI) is a way of interacting with your computer. And if you ever want to harness all the power of Linux, it’s highly recommended to master it. It’s true the CLI is often perceived as a barrier for users migrating to Linux, particularly if they’re grown up using GUI software exclusively. While Linux rarely forces anyone to use the CLI, some tasks are better suited to this method of interaction, offering inducements like superior scripting opportunities, remote access, and being far more frugal with a computer’s resources.

This series has included a few console based apps: lnav, mdless, fkill, McFly. Let’s take a look at another rather memorable utility. It’s called peco.

peco (pronounced peh-koh) is a CLI utility that filters text interactively. The tool is written in the Go programming language.


peco is open source goodness, so you’ve got full unfettered access to the source code. Building peco is very simple. Type the following commands at a shell:

$ git clone https://github.com/peco/peco.git
$ make build
$ go build cmd/peco/peco.go

If you’re averse to building software, the project also provides binaries for 32-bit and 64-bit Linux and Windows. And there’s also binaries for ARM based processors under Linux. You may find a convenient package available for your Linux distribution. For example, there’s a package in the Arch User Repository.

And if you’re looking for a cross-platform package, there’s a snap package available (link is in the Summary section).

Next page: Page 2 – In Operation

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Other Features
Page 4 – Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Excellent Utilities
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
AbricotineMarkdown editor with inline preview functionality
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
fkillKill processes quick and easy
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
exaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
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  1. You should compare it with fzf. Seems to be much more popular (for example, fzf is in both Arch and Fedora repos, but I didn’t find peco in either). I’m sure there are subtle differences if you dig deep enough, but it would be good to know if something fundamental is different / better in one or the other.

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