Tips & Tricks



a
alias Create an alias •
alloc List used and free memory
apropos Search the whatis database for strings
asr Apple Software Restore
awk Find and Replace text within file(s)

b
basename Convert a full pathname to just a filename
bash Bourne-Again SHell
bg Send to background •
bind Display readline key and function bindings •
bless Set volume bootability and startup disk options
break Exit from a For, While, Until or Select loop •
builtin Execute a shell builtin •
bzip2 Compress or decompress files

c
cal Display a calendar
calendar Reminder Service
caller Return the context of a subroutine call •
case Conditionally perform a command •
cat Concatenate and print (display) the content of files
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
command Run a command (not a function) •
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
csplit Split a file into context-determined pieces
curl Transfer data from or to a server
cut Divide a file into several parts

d
date Display or change the date & time
dc Desk Calculator
dd Convert and copy a file, clone disks
declare Declare variable & set attributes •
defaults Set preferences, show hidden files
df Display free disk space
diff Display the differences between two files
diff3 Show differences among three files
dig DNS lookup
dirname Convert a full pathname to just a path
dirs Display list of remembered directories •
diskutil Disk utilities – Format, Verify, Repair
disown Unbind a job from the current login session •
ditto Copy files and folders
dot_clean Remove dot-underscore files
drutil Interact with CD/DVD burners
dscacheutil Query or flush the Directory Service/DNS cache
dseditgroup Edit, create, manipulate, or delete groups
dsenableroot Enable root access
dsmemberutil View user and groups rights
dscl Directory Service command line utility
du Estimate file space usage

e
echo Display text on screen •
ed A line-oriented text editor (edlin)
enable Enable and disable builtin shell commands •
env List or Set environment variables
eval Evaluate several commands/arguments •
exec Execute a command •
exit Exit the shell •
expand Convert tabs to spaces
expect Programmed dialogue with interactive programs
export Set an environment variable •
expr Evaluate expressions

f
false Do nothing, unsuccessfully
fc Fix command (history)
fdisk Partition table manipulator for Darwin UFS/HFS/DOS
fg Send job to foreground •
file Determine file type
find Search for files that meet a desired criteria
fmt Reformat paragraph text
fold Wrap text to fit a specified width
for Loop command •
fsck Filesystem consistency check and repair
fsaclctl Filesystem enable/disable ACL support
fs_usage Filesystem usage (process/pathname)
ftp Internet file transfer program
function Define Function Macros

g
GetFileInfo Get attributes of HFS+ files
getopt Parse positional parameters
getopts 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

h
halt Stop and restart the operating system
hash Refresh the cached/remembered location of commands •
head Display the first lines of a file
hdiutil Manipulate iso disk images
history Command History •
hostname Print or set system name

i
iconv Convert the character set of a file
id Print user and group names/id’s
if Conditionally perform a command •
ifconfig Configure network interface parameters
ipconfig View and control IP configuration state
info Help info
install Copy files and set attributes

j
jobs List active jobs •
join Join lines on a common field

k
kextfind List kernel extensions
kickstart Configure Apple Remote Desktop
kill Stop a process from running

l
l List files in long format (ls -l)
last Indicate last logins of users and ttys
launchctl Load or unload daemons/agents
ll List files in long format, showing invisible files (ls -la)
less Display output one screen at a time
let Evaluate expression •
lipo Convert a universal binary
ln Make links between files (hard links, symbolic links)
local Set a local (function) variable •
locate Find files
logname Print current login name
login log into the computer
logout Exit a login shell (bye) •
look Display lines beginning with a given string
lpr Print files
lprm Remove jobs from the print queue
lpstat Printer status information
ls List information about file(s)
lsregister Reset the Launch Services database
lsbom List a bill of materials file
lsof List open files

m
man Help manual
mdfind Spotlight search
mdutil Manage Spotlight metadata store
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

n
nano Simple text editor
net Manage network resources
netstat Show network status
networksetup Network and System Preferences
nice Set the priority of a command
nohup Run a command immune to hangups
ntfs.util NTFS file system utility

o
onintr Control the action of a shell interrupt
open Open a file/folder/URL/Application
opensnoop Snoop file opens as they occur
osacompile Compile Applescript
osascript Execute AppleScript

p
passwd Modify a user password
paste Merge lines of files
pbcopy Copy data to the clipboard
pbpaste Paste data from the Clipboard
ping Test a network connection
pkgutil Query and manipulate installed packages
plutil Property list utility
pmset Power Management settings
popd Restore the previous value of the current directory •
pr Convert text files for printing
printenv List environment variables
printf Format and print data •
ps Process status
pushd Save and then change the current directory
pwd Print Working Directory •

q
quota Display disk usage and limits

r
rcp Copy files between machines
read Read one line from standard input •
readonly Mark a variable or function as read-only •
reboot Stop and restart the system
return Exit a function •
rev Reverse lines of a file
rm Remove files
rmdir Remove folder(s)
rpm Remote Package Manager
rsync Remote file copy – Sync file tree (also RsyncX)

s
say Convert text to audible speech
screen Multiplex terminal, run remote shells via ssh
screencapture Capture screen image to file or disk
scutil Manage system configuration parameters
sdiff Merge two files interactively
security Administer Keychains, keys, certificates and the Security framework
sed Stream Editor
select Generate a list of items •
set Set a shell variable = value •
setfile Set attributes of HFS+ files
shasum Print or Check SHA Checksums
shift Shift positional parameters •
shopt Set shell options •
shutdown Shutdown or restart OS X
sips Scriptable image processing system
sleep Delay for a specified time
softwareupdate System software update tool
sort Sort text files
source Execute commands from a file •
split Split a file into fixed-size pieces
stat Display the status of a file
stop Stop a job or process
su Substitute user identity
sudo Execute a command as another user
sum Print a checksum for a file
suspend Suspend execution of this shell •
sw_vers Print Mac OS X operating system version
system_profiler Report system configuration
systemsetup Computer and display system settings

t
tail Output the last part of files
tar Tape ARchiver
tcpdump Dump traffic on a network
tee Redirect output to multiple files
test Condition evaluation •
textutil Manipulate text files in various formats (Doc,html,rtf)
time Measure Program Resource Use
times Print shell & shell process times •
tmutil Time Machine utility
top Display process information
touch Change file timestamps
tr Translate, squeeze, and/or delete characters
trap Execute a command when the shell receives a signal •
traceroute Trace Route to Host
true Do nothing, successfully
tty Print filename of terminal on stdin
type Describe a command •

u
ufs.util Mount/unmount UFS file system
ulimit limit the use of system-wide resources •
umask Users file creation mask
umount Unmount 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 •
until Loop command •
uptime Show how long system has been running
users Print login names of users currently logged in
uuencode Encode a binary file
uudecode Decode a file created by uuencode
uuidgen Generate a Unique ID (UUID/GUID)
uucp Unix to Unix copy

v
vi Text Editor

w
wait Wait for a process to complete •
wc Print byte, word, and line counts
whatis Search the whatis database for complete words
whereis Locate a program
which Locate a program file in the user’s path
while Loop command •
who Print all usernames currently logged on
whoami Print the current user id and name (`id -un’)
write Send a message to another user

x
xargs Execute utility – passing arguments
xattr Display and manipulate extended attributes
yes Print a string until interrupted
zip Package and compress (archive) files.
!! Run the last command again
Commands marked • are bash built-in commands. bash is the default shell, it runs under Darwin the open source core of OS X.

Go Back to Menu