Excellent Utilities: peco – interactive filtering tool

Last Updated on May 22, 2022

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
AES CryptEncrypt files using the Advanced Encryption Standard
AnanicyShell daemon created to manage processes’ IO and CPU priorities
brootNext gen tree explorer and customizable launcher
CerebroFast application launcher
cheat.shCommunity driven unified cheat sheet
CopyQAdvanced clipboard manager
crocSecurely transfer files and folders from the command-line
DeskreenLive streaming your desktop to a web browser
dufDisk usage utility with more polished presentation than the classic df
ezaA turbo-charged alternative to the venerable ls command
Extension ManagerBrowse, install and manage GNOME Shell Extensions
fdWonderful alternative to the venerable find
fkillKill processes quick and easy
fontpreviewQuickly search and preview fonts
horcruxFile splitter with encryption and redundancy
KoohaSimple screen recorder
KOReaderDocument viewer for a wide variety of file formats
ImagineA simple yet effective image optimization tool
LanguageToolStyle and grammar checker for 30+ languages
Liquid PromptAdaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
lnavAdvanced log file viewer for the small-scale; great for troubleshooting
lsdLike exa, lsd is a turbo-charged alternative to ls
Mark TextSimple and elegant Markdown editor
McFlyNavigate through your bash shell history
mdlessFormatted and highlighted view of Markdown files
notiMonitors a command or process and triggers a notification
NushellFlexible cross-platform shell with a modern feel
nvitopGPU process management for NVIDIA graphics cards
OCRmyPDFAdd OCR text layer to scanned PDFs
Oh My ZshFramework to manage your Zsh configuration
PaperworkDesigned to simplify the management of your paperwork
pastelGenerate, analyze, convert and manipulate colors
PDF Mix ToolPerform common editing operations on PDF files
pecoSimple interactive filtering tool that's remarkably useful
ripgrepRecursively search directories for a regex pattern
RnoteSketch and take handwritten notes
scrcpyDisplay and control Android devices
StickySimulates the traditional “sticky note” style stationery on your desktop
tldrSimplified and community-driven man pages
tmuxA terminal multiplexer that offers a massive boost to your workflow
TuskAn unofficial Evernote client with bags of potential
UlauncherSublime application launcher
WatsonTrack the time spent on projects
Whoogle SearchSelf-hosted and privacy-focused metasearch engine
ZellijTerminal workspace with batteries included
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4 years ago

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.

Isobel Craven
Isobel Craven
4 years ago

sitaram, if you want to compare peco with fzf go right ahead.