7 Terminal Commands That Every Mac User Should Know - WindowsTips.net - Windows Tips and Tricks with Geek

Sunday, February 27, 2022

7 Terminal Commands That Every Mac User Should Know

 A backlight MacBook keyboard.

Find a File: find

Example usage: find /location/ -name <file>

This command can help you locate files on your disk. Follow the find command with the location of the directory that you want to search in, the -name flag, and then the name of the file that you want to find.

find macOS Terminal Command

You can always use a wildcard * to search partial filenames. For example, find /location/ -name '*.png' would find all files with the .PNG extension in the specified location.

Open a File: open

Example usage: open <file>

You can use the open command to open files or directories simply by specifying the path or path with filename thereafter. Open multiple directories or files by chaining them at the end of the command. For example, open file1.txt file2.txt file3.txt.

open macOS Terminal Command

You can also open files in specific applications using the -a flag, followed by the name of the application (or the path to the .APP file if you know it). For example: open -a Preview file.pdf.

Edit a File: nano

Example usage: nano <file>

nano is a basic open-source text editor included with macOS for editing files within the Terminal. You can edit text-based files, including system files, using the nano command, followed by the filename.

nano macOS Terminal Command

Once you’re in nano, pay attention to the commands at the bottom of the screen, which involve the control key. To save a file, hit Control+O (known as “Write Out”) or quit without saving using Control+X.

Run as Super User: sudo

Example usage: sudo <command>

The sudo prefix is used to execute a command as a “super user,” also known as root or admin. Once you’ve entered a command prefixed by sudo, you’ll be required to enter your administrator password to execute it.

sudo macOS Terminal Command

Some commands require root access in order to work. If you want to edit a system file, for example, you might need to use sudo nano <file> in order to save your changes.

Show the Working Directory: pwd

Example usage: pwd

To display the current directory that you’re in (or “print working directory”), you can use the pwd command. This is especially useful for printing a path that you can later copy and paste.

pwd macOS Terminal Command

Show Running Processes: top

Example usage: top

To see a list of currently running processes and how much CPU and memory they’re currently using, execute top. By default, the process will display all processes by CPU usage, with the process id or PID displayed alongside each entry.

top macOS Terminal Command

You can hit “Q” to get back to the command line when you’re done.

Terminate a Process: kill

Example usage: kill <PID>

To kill a process, you’ll first need to run the top command to find its process ID (or PID). You can then use the kill command, followed by the number displayed alongside the process. For example: kill 1569.

kill macOS Terminal Command

Learn More about a Command: man

Example usage: man <command>

Each command on this list has a manual associated with it that explains exactly how to use it and what the different flags do, along with some more exotic examples of the commands being used.

man macOS Terminal Command

For example, the top command has a lot of flags and other modifiers, which you can read about using: man top. If you want to master the command line, use of the man command is vital.

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