Mac Terminal Commands PDF – (Full List Free Download)

Mac Terminal Commands PDF: Are you a Mac user looking to become an expert in using Mac Terminal Commands? Whether your goal is to become an administrator, or simply use the terminal command line effectively, this article is here to help you understand the basics.

Mac Terminal Commands PDF

Are you a Mac user looking to become an expert in using Mac Terminal Commands? Whether your goal is to become an administrator or use the terminal command line effectively, this article is here to help you understand the basics.

Understanding Your Command Line

The first step in understanding how to use the Mac terminal commands is to understand what they are and what their purpose is. The command line gives you direct access to the underlying operating system that runs all of your Mac applications. You can control every element of your computer by running this command line. In essence, it gives you complete control over your computer.

Commonly Used Terminal Commands

Once comfortable with how the command line works and what commands are available, try out some of the more commonly used ones. For instance, typing “ls” into a terminal window will list all of your files and directories for viewing purposes. Another commonly used one is “cd,” which allows you to change directories from one location to another.

As you become increasingly comfortable with how things work within the terminal, start experimenting on your own time with various commands that aren’t currently being utilized. 

This way, you can become familiar with all sorts of commands without worrying about damaging any crucial files or settings to discover which one works best for your needs.

What are the Terminal commands for Mac?

The Terminal is a powerful command line tool available in macOS. Here are some of the commonly used Terminal commands for Mac:

  1. List files and directories: ls
  2. Change directory: cd
  3. Show contents of a directory: ls -la (add ‘-l’ for long listing, add ‘-a’ for all files, including hidden ones), etc

Why Do I Need It?

Using the terminal is something only some people do every day, so having a cheat sheet handy is incredibly useful if you need to remember certain commands or want to look up specific functions quickly and easily. This resource also makes it easier for users to discover more advanced commands they may not have thought about using before.

How Do I See All Commands in Mac Terminal?

Using the “man” command in Mac Terminal is a great way to view all available commands. For example, you can type “man ls” to view information about the ls command. Additionally, you can use the –help option with any command to get more specific help on how to use it. Finally, many online resources are available where you can find information about all of the different Mac Terminal commands.

How to Use Cmd in Mac?

Using the command line on a Mac is a powerful way to perform many administrative and configuration tasks. To get started, open the Terminal application (which can be found in the Utilities folder under Applications). From here, you can run basic commands like pwd to find out your current working directory or ls to list files in that directory.

For more advanced usage, you can use commands like grep to search for text within files or chmod to modify file permissions. You can also customize many settings using configuration files (such as .bashrc) located in your user directory.

Many helpful tutorials and reference materials are available online if you would like to learn more about using the command line on a Mac.

What are some basic Mac terminal commands to get you started?

Here are some basic Mac terminal commands to get you started:

  • Open Applications – open + application name: This command is used to open applications and files on Mac. To use this, type ‘open’ followed by the application name into the Terminal window. For example, if you want to launch Safari, type “open Safari” and press Enter.
  • Find Files – find + filename: To find any file on your Mac, use this command by typing ‘find’ followed by the filename. This allows you to search for files beyond just their names; it will also retrieve files based on creation date, modification date, file extension, etc.
  • Copy Files – cp + source address + target address: If you need to copy a file from one location to another (either within or outside of your computer), this is the command that you need! Typing “cp” followed by the source address (the current location of the file) and target address (the required destination) into the Terminal will complete a copy process in no time.
  • Move Files – mv + source address + target address: This command does exactly the same job as the cp command – but with moving rather than copying. So if all you need is to move files from one location to another, type “mv” and then specify the source and destination locations to work correctly.
  • Delete Files – rm + pathname: If you want to delete a specific file from a specific location in your computer, typing “rm” followed by pathname into Terminal will do this for you! It should be noted that sometimes when deleting large files, it can take longer than usual, depending on your computer’s performance and its speed.
  • Create Folders – mkdir + foldername: This useful command makes creating folders easy – no more dragging icons around in Finder windows! All that needs doing here is simply entering “mkdir” with foldername right after it – just make sure not to add any dots or slashes onto foldername as this may create unnecessary errors within the Terminal itself!

Mac Terminal Commands Cheat Sheet

Learning how to navigate the Terminal using command line instructions is an essential skill. Here are some basic Mac terminal commands to get you started:

TabAuto-complete file and folder names
Ctrl + AGo to the beginning of the line you’re currently typing on
Ctrl + EGo to the end of the line you’re currently typing on
Ctrl + UClear the line before the cursor
Ctrl + KClear the line after the cursor
Ctrl + WDelete the word before the cursor
Ctrl + TSwap the last two characters before the cursor
Esc + TSwap the last two words before the cursor
Ctrl + LClear the screen
Ctrl + CKill whatever you’re running
Ctrl + DExit the current shell
Option + →Move cursor one word forward
Option + ←Move cursor one word backward
Ctrl + FMove cursor one character forward
Ctrl + BMove cursor one character backward
Ctrl + YPaste whatever was cut by the last command
Ctrl + ZPuts whatever you’re running into a suspended background process
Ctrl + _Undo the last command
Option + Shift + Cmd + CCopy plain text
Shift + Cmd + VPaste the selection
ExitEnd a shell session
/ (Forward Slash)Top level directory
. (Single Period)Current directory
.. (Double Period)Parent directory
~ (Tilde)Home directory
sudo [command]Run command with the security privileges of the super user
nano [file]Opens the Terminal editor
open [file]Opens a file
[command] -hGet help about a command
man [command]Show the help manual of the command
Change Directory
CdHome directory
cd [folder]Change directory, e.g. cd Documents
cd ~Home directory
cd/Root of the drive
cd –Previous directory or folder you last browsed
PwdShow your working directory
cd..Move up to the parent directory
cd../..Move up two levels
List Directory Contents
LsDisplay the name of files and subdirectories in the directory
ls –CForce multi-column output of the listing
ls –aList all entries including those with .(period) and ..(double period)
ls -1Output the list of files in one entry per line format
ls –FDisplay a / (slash) immediately after each path that is a directory, * (asterisk) after executable programs or scripts, and @ after a symbolic link
ls –SSort files or entries by size
ls –lList in a long format. Includes file mode, owner and group name, date and time file was modified, pathname, and more
ls -l /List of the file system from root with symbolic links
ls –ltList the files sorted by time modified (most recent first)
ls –lhLong listing with human readable file sizes in KB, MB, or GB
ls –loList the file names with size, owner, and flags
ls –laList detailed directory contents, including hidden files
File Size and Disk Space
DuList usage for each subdirectory and its contents
du -sh [folder]Human readable output of all files in a directory
du –sDisplay an entry for each specified file
du -sk* | sort -nrList files and folders, totaling the size including the subfolders. Replace sk* with sm* to list directories in MB
df -hCalculate your system’s free disk space
df -HCalculate free disk space in powers of 1,000 (as opposed to 1,024)
File and Directory Management
mkdir <dir>Create new folder named <dir>
mkdir -p <dir>/<dir>Create nested folders
mkdir <dir1> <dir2> <dir3>Create several folders at once
mkdir “<dir>”Create a folder with a space in the filename
rmdir <dir>Delete a folder (only works on empty folders)
rm -R <dir>Delete a folder and its contents
touch <file>Create a new file without any extension
cp <file> <dir>Copy a file to the folder
cp <file> <newfile>Copy a file to the current folder
cp <file>~/<dir>/<newfile>Copy a file to the folder and rename the copied file
cp -R <dir> <“new dir”>Copy a folder to a new folder with spaces in the filename
cp -i <file><dir>Prompts you before copying a file with a warning overwrite message
cp <file1> <file2> <file3>/Users/<dir>Copy multiple files to a folder
ditto -V [folder path][new folder]Copy the contents of a folder to new folder. In here “-V” print a line of status for every file copied
rm <file>Delete a file (This deletes the file permanently; use with caution.)
rm -i <file>Delete a file only when you give confirmation
rm -f <file>Force removal without confirmation
rm <file1> <file2> <file3>Delete multiple files without any confirmation
mv <file> <newfilename>Move/rename
mv <file> <dir>Move a file to the folder, possibly by overwriting an existing file
mv -i <file> <dir>Optional -i flag to warn you before overwriting the file
mv *.png ~/<dir>Move all PNG files from current folder to a different folder
Command History
Ctrl + RSearch through previously used commands
history nShows the previous commands you’ve typed. Add a number to limit to the last n items
![value]Execute the last command typed that starts with a value
!!Execute the last command typed
ls -ldDisplay the default permission for a home directory
ls -ld/<dir>Display the read, write, and access permission of a particular folder
chmod 755 <file>Change the permission of a file to 755
chmod -R 600 <dir>Change the permission of a folder (and its contents) to 600
chown <user>:<group> <file>Change the ownership of a file to user and group. Add -R to include folder contents
ps -axOutput currently running processes. Here, a shows processes from all users and x shows processes that are not connected with the Terminal
ps -auxShows all the processes with %cpu, %mem, page in, PID, and command
topDisplay live information about currently running processes
top -ocpu -s 5Display processes sorted by CPU usage, updating every 5 seconds
top -o rsizeSort top by memory usage
kill PIDQuit process with ID <PID>. You’ll see PID as a column in the Activity Monitor
ps -ax | grep <appname>Find a process by name or PID
ping <host>Ping host and display status
whois <domain>Output whois info for a domain
curl -O <url/to/file>Download file via HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP
ssh <username>@<host>Establish SSH connection to <host> with user <username>
scp <file><user>@<host>:/remote/pathCopy <file> to a remote <host>
arp -aView a list of all devices on your local network. It will show you the IP and MAC address of all the devices
ifconfig en0View your device IP and MAC address
traceroute [hostname]Identify the path and the hops traversed by the packets from your device to the destination address
brew doctorCheck brew for potential problems
brew helpList of useful homebrew formula and cask commands
brew install <formula>|<cask>Install a formula or cask
brew uninstall <formula>|cask>Uninstall a formula or cask
brew list –formulaList only installed formulas
brew list –caskList only installed cask
brew deps <formula>|<cask>List all the dependencies of a formula or cask
brew search text|/regex/Search formula or cask through regex
brew upgrade <formula>|<cask>Upgrade the formula or cask
brew outdated <formula>|<cask>Search for outdated formula or cask
brew outdated –formulaSearch for outdated formula
brew outdated –caskSearch for outdated cask
brew pin [installed_formula]Pin a formula from getting upgraded
brew unpin [installed_formula]Unpin to upgrade a package
brew cleanupRemove stale lock files and outdated packages for all formula and casks.
Environment Variable or Path
printenvDisplay a list of currently set environment variables. Also tells you which shell you’re using
$echoTells the terminal to print something and show it to you
echo $PATHCheck the value of the PATH variable which storea a list of directories with executable files
echo $PATH >path.txtExport the path directory to a text file
export PATH=$PATH:absolute/path to/program/Execute a program via terminal only in your current session. If you use a program regularly, add the path to shell configuration file.
find <dir> -name <“file”>Find all files named <file> inside <dir>. Use wildcards (*) to search for parts of filenames
grep “<text>” <file>Output all occurrences of <text> inside <file> (add -i for case insensitivity)
grep -rl “<text>” <dir>Search for all files containing <text> inside <dir>
cat <file>Output the content of <file>
less <file>Output the contents of <file> using the less command that supports pagination and more
head <file>Output the first 10 lines of <file>
<cmd> > > <file>Appends the output of <cmd> to <file>
<cmd> > <file>Direct the output of <cmd> into <file>
<cmd1> | <cmd2>Direct the output of <cmd1> to <cmd2>

Mac Terminal Commands PDF  

Mac Terminal, a powerful tool that allows users to enter commands in order to control various aspects of their computer. The Terminal can be daunting if you’re new to it, but luckily there are many resources available that can help you learn how to use the Terminal efficiently.

Here is a Mac Terminal Commands Cheat Sheet PDF to download for future use. Once you’ve downloaded our cheat sheet(s), just store them in an easy-to-find location – like your desktop – so you won’t ever be more than a click away from recalling all those helpful terminal commands!


In conclusion, the Mac Terminal is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used to do all kinds of useful tasks. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a PDF of all the important and useful commands you need to know. With it, you’ll be able to master the Mac Terminal in no time!

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