Burak Üstün

Terminal for Mac (Basics)


Key/Command Description
Ctrl + AGo to the beginning of the line you are currently typing on. This also works for most text input fields system wide. Netbeans being one exception
Ctrl + EGo to the end of the line you are currently typing on. This also works for most text input fields system wide. Netbeans being one exception
Ctrl + QClears everything on current line
Ctrl + LClears the Screen
⌘Cmd + KClears the Screen
Ctrl + UCut everything backwards to beginning of line
Ctrl + KCut everything forward to end of line
Ctrl + WCut one word backwards using white space as delimiter
Ctrl + YPaste whatever was cut by the last cut command
Ctrl + HSame as backspace
Ctrl + CKill whatever you are running
Ctrl + DExit the current shell when no process is running, or send EOF to a the running process
Ctrl + ZPuts whatever you are running into a suspended background process. fg restores it.
Ctrl + _Undo the last command. (Underscore. So it’s actually Ctrl + Shift + minus)
Ctrl + TSwap the last two characters before the cursor
Ctrl + FMove cursor one character forward
Ctrl + BMove cursor one character backward
Esc + FMove cursor one word forward
Esc + BMove cursor one word backward
Esc + TSwap the last two words before the cursor
TabAuto-complete files and folder names


Key/Command Description
cdHome directory
cd [folder]Change directory e.g. cd documents
cd /Root of drive
cd -Previous directory
lsShort listing
ls -lLong listing
ls -aListing incl. hidden files
ls -lhLong listing with Human readable file sizes
ls -REntire content of folder recursively
sudo [command]Run command with the security privileges of the superuser (Super User DO)
open [file]Opens a file ( as if you double clicked it )
topDisplays active processes. Press q to quit
nano [file]Opens the file using the nano editor
vim [file]Opens the file using the vim editor
clearClear screen
resetResets the terminal display


Key/Command Description    
[command-a]; [command-b]Run command A and then B, regardless of success of A  
[command-a] && [command-b]Run command B if A succeeded  
[command-a] [command-b]Run command B if A failed
[command-a] &Run command A in background  


Key/Command Description
[command-a] | [command-b]Run command A and then pass the result to command B e.g ps auxwww | grep google


Key/Command Description
history nShows the stuff typed – add a number to limit the last n items
Ctrl + rInteractively search through previously typed commands
![value]Execute the last command typed that starts with ‘value’
!!Execute the last command typed


Key/Command Description
touch [file]Create new file
pwdFull path to working directory
.Current folder, e.g. ls .
..Parent/enclosing directory, e.g. ls ..
ls -l ..Long listing of parent directory
cd ../../Move 2 levels up
catConcatenate to screen
rm [file]Remove a file, e.g. rm data.tmp
rm -i [file]Remove with confirmation
rm -r [dir]Remove a directory and contents
rm -f [file]Force removal without confirmation
cp [file] [newfile]Copy file to file
cp [file] [dir]Copy file to directory
mv [file] [new filename]Move/Rename, e.g. mv file1.ad /tmp
pbcopy < [file]Copies file contents to clipboard
pbpastePaste clipboard contents
pbpaste > [file]Past clipboard contents into file, pbpaste > paste-test.txt


Key/Command Description
mkdir [dir]Create new directory
mkdir -p [dir]/[dir]Create nested directories
rmdir [dir]Remove directory ( only operates on empty directories )
rm -R [dir]Remove directory and contents
[command] | [command]Allows to combine multiple commands that generate output, e.g. cat data.txt | pbcopy
lessOutput content delivered in screensize chunks
[command] > [file]Push output to file, keep in mind it will get overwritten
[command] » [file]Append output to existing file
[command] < [file]Tell command to read content from a file

Key/Command Description
find [dir] -name [search_pattern]Search for files, e.g. find /Users -name "file.txt"
grep [search_pattern] [file]Search for all lines that contain the pattern, e.g. grep "Tom" file.txt
grep -r [search_pattern] [file]Recursively search for all lines that do not contain the pattern
grep -v [search_pattern] [file]Search for all lines that do NOT contain the pattern


Key/Command Description
[command] -hOffers help
[command] —helpOffers help
info [command]Offers help
man [command]Show the help manual for [command]
whatis [command]Gives a one-line description of [command]
apropos [search-pattern]Searches for command with keywords in description
March 09, 2017