Mac OS X shell commands
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Mac OS X shell commands


Article ID: 181217


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Deployment Solution




What are the Mac OS X commands that can be run via


A complete and up-to-date list of supported commands and their usage can be found at Apple's Developer Connection (ADC) website.

 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 and time
 dc  Desk Calculator
 dd  Data Dump: Convert and copy a file
 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
 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/IDs
 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 computers.
 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