An A-Z Index of the Apple OS X (Terminal) commands

An A-Z Index of the Apple OS X command line (TERMINAL)
The tcsh command shell of Darwin (the open source core of OSX)
Command Explanation
alias Create an alias
alloc List used and free memory 
awk Find and Replace text within file(s) 
basename Convert a full pathname to just a folder path 
bash Bourne-Again SHell (Linux)
bless Set volume bootability and startup disk options.
break Exit from a loop
cal Display a calendar 
case Conditionally perform a command 
cat Display the contents of a file 
cd Change Directory
chflags Change a file or folder’s flags.
chgrp Change group ownership
chmod Change access permissions
chown Change file owner and group
chroot Run a command with a different root directory
cksum Print CRC checksum and byte counts
clear Clear terminal screen
cmp Compare two files 
comm Compare two sorted files line by line
complete Edit a command completion [word/pattern/list]
continue Resume the next iteration of a loop
cp Copy one or more files to another location 
cron Daemon to execute scheduled commands
crontab Schedule a command to run at a later date/time
cut Divide a file into several parts 
date Display or change the date & time 
dc Desk Calculator 
dd Data Dump – Convert and copy a file 
df Display free disk space 
diff Display the differences between two files
diff3Show differences among three files
digDNS lookup
dirname Convert a full pathname to just a path
dirs Display list of remembered directories
diskutilDisk utilities – Format, Verify, Repair
ditto Copy files and folders
dscl Directory Service command line utility 
du Estimate file space usage 
echo Display message on screen 
ed A line-oriented text editor (edlin)
enable Stop or start printers and classes.
env Set environment and run a utility 
eval Evaluate several commands/arguments 
exec Execute a command 
exit Exit the shell 
expect Programmed dialogue with interactive programs Also see AppleScript
expand Convert tabs to spaces
expr Evaluate expressions 
false Do nothing, unsuccessfully
fdisk Partition table manipulator for Darwin UFS/HFS/DOS
find Search for files that meet a desired criteria 
fmt Reformat paragraph text 
fold Wrap text to fit a specified width 
for Expand words, and execute commands
foreach Loop, expand words, and execute commands
fsck Filesystem consistency check and repair
fsaclctl Filesystem enable/disable ACL support
fs_usage Filesystem usage (process/pathname)
ftp Internet file transfer program 
GetFileInfo Get attributes of HFS+ files
getopt Parse positional parameters
goto Jump to label and continue execution 
grep Search file(s) for lines that match a given pattern
groups Print group names a user is in
gzip Compress or decompress files 
head Display the first lines of a file 
hdiutil Manipulate iso disk images 
history Command History 
hostname Print or set system name 
id Print user and group names/id’s
if Conditionally perform a command 
info Help info 
install Copy files and set attributes 
jobs List active jobs 
join Join lines on a common field 
kill Stop a process from running 
l List files in long format (ls -l) 
ll List files in long format, showing invisible files (ls -la) 
less Display output one screen at a time 
ln Make links between files (hard links, symbolic links) 
locate Find files 
logname Print current login name 
login log into the computer
logout Exit a login shell (bye)
lpr Print files 
lprm Remove jobs from the print queue
lpstat Printer status information
ls List information about file(s)
lsbom List a bill of materials file
lsof List open files 
man Help manual
mkdir Create new folder(s)
mkfifo Make FIFOs (named pipes)
more Display output one screen at a time
mount Mount a file system
mv Move or rename files or directories 
net Manage network resources 
nice Set the priority of a command 
nohup Run a command immune to hangups 
onintr Control the action of a shell interrupt 
open Open a file/folder/URL/Application 
osascript Execute AppleScript 
passwd Modify a user password
paste Merge lines of files
pbcopy Copy data to the clipboard
pbpaste Paste data from the Clipboard 
pico Simple text editor 
ping Test a network connection
pmset Power Management settings
popd Restore the previous value of the current directory 
pr Convert text files for printing
printenv Print environment variables
printf Format and print data
ps Process status
pushd Save and then change the current directory
pwd Print Working Directory 
quota Display disk usage and limits 
rcp Copy files between machines. 
repeat Execute a command multiple times 
rm Remove files 
rmdir Remove folder(s) 
rpm Remote Package Manager 
rsync Remote file copy – Sync file tree (also RsyncX) 
say Convert text to audible speech
sched Schedule a command to run at a later time.
screencapture Capture screen image to file or disk
sdiff Merge two files interactively
security Administer Keychains, keys, certificates and the Security framework
sed Stream Editor 
set Set a shell variable = value
setenv Set an environment variable = value
setfile Set attributes of HFS+ files
shift Shift positional parameters
shutdown Shutdown or restart OS X
sleep Delay for a specified time
softwareupdate System software update tool
sort Sort text files
split Split a file into fixed-size pieces
stop Stop a job or process 
su Substitute user identity 
sudo Execute a command as another user 
sum Print a checksum for a file 
switch Conditionally perform a command
tail Output the last part of files 
tar Tape ARchiver 
tee Redirect output to multiple files 
test Condition evaluation
textutil Manipulate text files in various formats
time Measure Program Resource Use
touch Change file timestamps
traceroute Trace Route to Host
tr Translate, squeeze, and/or delete characters 
true Do nothing, successfully 
tty Print filename of terminal on stdin 
type Describe a command 
umask Users file creation mask 
umount a device 
unalias Remove an alias
uname Print system information
unexpand Convert spaces to tabs
uniq Uniquify files
units Convert units from one scale to another
unset Remove variable or function names
unsetenv Remove environment variable
users Print login names of users currently logged in
uuencode Encode a binary file
uudecode Decode a file created by uuencode
vi Text Editor 
wc Print byte, word, and line counts
where Report all known instances of a command
which Locate a program file in the user’s path
while Execute commands 
who Print all usernames currently logged on 
whoami Print the current user id and name (`id -un’) 
xargs Execute utility – passing arguments 
yes Print a string until interrupted

1 Response to An A-Z Index of the Apple OS X (Terminal) commands

  1. Jack Smith says:

    Hey christian, this is a great overview, many thanks!


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