Mac os x terminal command line

This directory is used for navigating up one level towards the top of the directory hierarchy. For example, the path.. Depending on the shell, if you follow a symbolic link into a subdirectory, typing cd.. At the beginning of a path, the tilde character represents the home directory of the specified user, or the currently logged in user if no user is specified. Most other characters, including space characters, should be avoided because they have special meaning to the shell. Although some OS X file systems permit the use of these other characters, including spaces, you must do one of the following:.

Add single or double quotation marks around the path or the portion that contains the offending characters. Single quotes are safer than double quotes because the shell does not do any interpretation of the contents of a single-quoted string. However, double quotes are less likely to appear in a filename, making them slightly easier to use.

Getting to Know the Command Line

When in doubt, use a backslash before the character in question, or two backslashes to represent a literal backslash. On a typical UNIX system, the storage provided by local disk drives is presented as a single tree of files descending from a single root directory. This differs from the way the Finder presents local disk drives, which is as one or more volumes, with each volume acting as the root of its own directory hierarchy.

To satisfy both worlds, OS X includes a hidden directory, Volumes , at the root of the local file system. This directory contains all of the volumes attached to the local computer. They do so using three standard file descriptors, which are created by the shell and are inherited by the program automatically.


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These standard file descriptors are listed in Table A The standard input file descriptor is the means through which a program obtains input from the user or other tools. You can also redirect the output from files or other commands to stdin , allowing you to control one tool with another tool. By default, standard output sends data back to the user. You can also redirect this output to the input of other tools. By default, errors are displayed on the command line like standard output. The purpose for having a separate error descriptor is so that the user can redirect the actual output data from the tool to another tool without that data getting corrupted by non-fatal errors and warnings.

To learn more about working with these descriptors, including redirecting the output of one tool to the input of another, read Shell Input and Output. To terminate the currently running program from the command line, press Control-C. This keyboard shortcut sends an abort ABRT signal to the currently running process. In most cases this causes the process to terminate, although some tools may install signal handlers to trap this signal and respond differently.

See Trapping Signals in Advanced Techniques for details. In addition, you can terminate most scripts and command-line tools by closing a Terminal window or SSH connection. This sends a hangup HUP signal to the shell, which it then passes on to the currently running program. If you want a program to continue running after you log out, you should run it using the nohup command, which catches that signal and does not pass it on to whatever command it invokes. Shell scripting involves a mixture of built-in shell commands and standard programs that run in all shells. Although most shells offer the same basic set of commands, there are often variations in the syntax and behavior of those commands.

In addition to the shell commands, OS X also provides a set of standard programs that run in all shells. Table A-3 lists some commands that are commonly used interactively in the shell. Most of the items in this table are not specific to any given shell. For syntax and usage information for each command, see the corresponding man page. Displays the current date and time using the standard format. You can display this information in other formats by invoking the command with specific flags. Writes its arguments to stdout.

This command is most often used in shell scripts to print status information to the user. Used to scroll through the contents of a file or the results of another shell command. This command allows forward and backward navigation through the text. Displays the contents of the specified directory or the current directory if no path is specified. Pass the -a flag to list all directory contents including hidden files and directories.

Pass the -l flag to display detailed information for each entry. Pass - with -l to show extended attributes. Moves files and directories from one place to another. You also use this command to rename files and directories. You can use this command to launch applications from Terminal and optionally open files in that application. Deletes the specified file or files.

You can use pattern matching characters such as the asterisk to match more than one file. You can also remove directories with this command, although use of rmdir is preferred. Sends an abort signal to the current command. In most cases this causes the command to terminate, although commands may install signal handlers to trap this command and respond differently.

In most cases this causes the command to be suspended, although commands may install signal handlers to trap this command and respond differently. Once suspended, you can use the fg builtin to bring the process back to the foreground or the bg builtin to continue running it in the background. Some programs require the use of environment variables for their execution. The shell itself uses environment variables to store information such as the name of the current user, the name of the host computer, and the paths to any executable programs.

You can also create environment variables and use them to control the behavior of your program without modifying the program itself. For example, you might use an environment variable to tell your program to print debug information to the console. To set the value of an environment variable, you use the appropriate shell command to associate a variable name with a value. This form of inheritance can be a useful way to configure the application dynamically.

For example, your application can check for the presence or value of an environment variable and change its behavior accordingly. Different shells support different semantics for exporting environment variables, so see the man page for your preferred shell for further information. Child processes of a shell inherit a copy of the environment of that shell.

Shells do not share their environments with one another. Thus, variables you set in one Terminal window are not set in other Terminal windows. The command line can be a scary place when you first encounter it. For the most part they may be scanning for some key words, but mostly they are just waiting for it to stop.

So what we need to do is open the terminal. Open the Terminal application.


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You may want to add this to your dock. This is the system as a whole. This is both the command line as well as the output from previous commands. This is the beginning of the command line. It usually provides some contextual information like who you are, where you are and other useful info. After the prompt is where you will be typing commands. This is the actual interface to the console.

Nearly all commands follow a common pattern with 3 main parts. The program, the options, and the arguments. Type the code above. This is a common convention used is denote what follows is a command to be run. Once you have typed it out, hit enter to run it, and see what happens. The program is the verb. It describes what you want to do. Options are like the adverb. They usually modify the way the program will run. In our example -l is an option. Without this option, the list will be simply the filenames. When we modify the command with -l , it will display to us the files along with more detailed information.

Options are just that: Any command should have some default behavior when called without options. Most often the order of the options do not matter, but occasionally they may. These are the objects of our sentence.

How to open Terminal on Mac

They describe what we want our command to act on. So we are saying we want to list all of our files in our home folder. Some programs may not need arguments. For instance, without arguments, ls will list the files in the directory you are currently in.

Basic Mac commands in Terminal

More on that later. Again, each program has different arguments, and the order of the arguments typically matter. In the console, you are always working in a directory, or folder, on your computer. We call this your working directory. You can see where you are using pwd short for print working directory.

This command will print out your current location. You can change your directory with cd short for change directory. If you pass it an argument, it will change your to that location, if it exists. This is relative path, because I specified my destination relative to my current directory.

How to use Terminal on Mac: Basic commands and functions

Even when you learn what commands you can use, there is still a lot of power in each command or program. There are often dozens of available options, and depending on your arguments, your command could behave in several different ways. Fortunately, most commands have a manual. To read, use the man command. For instance to learn more about ls , run. There are a ton of different commands you can use, but only a couple dozen will get you pretty effective in the command line.

Our faculty of tech professionals guide learners like you from mastering the fundamentals of coding to polishing the portfolio and skills of a job-ready software developer. Try one of them out with a free seven-day trial today. Great article. Having worked with Unix V and C Language most of my career, you have brought back fond memories. Thanks Jim gonna kick some pirates out with dose of there own medicine hopefully thanks, iwith this New to me understanding got my head pointed towards goal! Otherwise for all the tools we gotta read the manuals. Hello, there! However, I have never really used.

My line of work? Completely different!!!. I just came a cross a big problem… I want to copy a whole bunch thousands of pictures from my old macbook to a new one. How can I do it using the terminal? Using Terminal… Can I transfer or import to an excel spreedsheet?

Shell is user interface for access to operating system services.