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How to use the Terminal command line in macOS

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This will sign you up to our newsletter Enter your Email. Read our privacy policy. Enjoyed this article? Stay informed by joining our newsletter! Enter your Email. Scroll down for the next article. Are Mac Cleaning Apps Worthless? Press enter to go back to your terminal. To rename this terminal, type Ctrl-a A. You should see a prompt appear at the bottom asking you to give the window a title. Call it Terminal 1.

If you press Ctrl-a " again, you should see the terminal listed by the title we gave it. Now, let's create two more terminals and give them different names. The first way to create a new terminal is by typing Ctrl-A c. Rename it one more time by typing Ctrl-a A and calling it Terminal 2. You should now be able to type Ctrl-a " again and see both terminals. Now let's create one more terminal and name it at the same time. You can do this by typing screen -t "Terminal 3".

This will create another terminal named Terminal 3. You can check this by typing Ctrl-a ". You can also use the -t flag to provide a number for the terminal window. For instance, screen -t "Terminal 9" 9 will create a new terminal window called Terminal 9 with a terminal number of 9. I will show you why this can be useful in the next section.

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There are a number of different methods for navigating between windows. One simple way is using Ctrl-a n and Ctrl-a p.

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This simply switches between the previous and next window. Another method is by selected Ctrl-a [terminal-number].


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For instance, to navigate to Terminal 9 that we created earlier, you can simply type Ctrl-a 9. You can also have more than one terminal window open at the same time. To do this, split the terminal window using Ctrl-a S. Once you have split panes, you can easily switch between them using Ctrl-a [Tab].


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  • Once you are in the second pane, you need to select the terminal you want to see in that pane. You can do this using any of the methods described above: Ctrl-a " , Ctrl-a n , Ctrl-a p , or Ctrl-a [term-num]. If at any point you want to exit out of split-pane view, simply navigate to the pane you want and type Ctrl-a Q.

    If the other pane doesn't disappear right away, it should get overwritten as you keep using the terminal window or you can type Ctrl-L or clear to reset the screen. One cool feature is that you can use these navigation tools even while you have other programs open within your terminal.

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    Try this example: open up a couple terminal windows and open vi in one of them. You should be able to navigate back and forth between the different terminals without having to close vi. This is my personal favorite feature of screen. Type Ctrl-a d to detach from your screen session. You are now back to your standard terminal. Type screen -list. It should list that you have one screen session open. Type screen -r to reattach to this session.

    Once you reattach, you should see that all of the state of your terminal windows has been maintained.

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    If you had more than one screen session open, you would have to provide the process id PID following screen -r to select which session you want to reattach. It's important to note that you don't necessarily need to type Ctrl-a d to detach the screen session to use this feature. If you accidentally close the Terminal application while you have important work open as I have done many times , you will still be able to reattach and resume your work if you were using screen.

    To remove the startup message, add the following line to your. If you want to run multiple screen sessions at the same time, it's important to have a better way to differentiate screen sessions than by PID.

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