Execute commands and run tools in Terminal on Mac
You can use the command-line environment interactively by typing a command and waiting for a result, or you can use the shell to compose scripts that run without direct interaction.
To learn more about commands, you can use the Terminal app to read the documentation for low-level UNIX tools and APIs. See Reading UNIX Manual Pages on the Apple Developer website.
Execute commands in the shell
In the Terminal app on your Mac, enter the complete pathname of the tool’s executable file, followed by any needed arguments, then press Return.
If a command is located in one of the shell’s known folders, you can omit path information when entering the command name. The list of known folders is stored in the shell’s PATH environment variable and includes the folders containing most command-line tools.
For example, to run the
ls command in the current user’s home folder, enter the following at the command prompt, then press Return:
To run a command in the current user’s home folder, precede it with the folder specifier. For example, to run
MyCommandLineProg, use the following:
To open an app, use the open command:
% open -a MyProg.app
When entering commands, if you get the message
command not found, check your spelling. Here’s an example:
% opne -a TextEdit.app
zsh: opne: command not found
In the Terminal app on your Mac, click the Terminal window that is running the command you want to terminate.
This sends a signal that causes most commands to terminate.
Repeat previously entered commands
The commands you enter during a session are saved so you can repeat a previously used command without retyping it.
In the Terminal app on your Mac, press the Up Arrow key.
The last command you entered appears on the command line.
Continue pressing the Up Arrow key until you see the command you want, then press Return.