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OS X Tip: Terminal Application

Much of what you would ever need to configure in OS X can be done via the System Preferences, but some little hidden gems exist behind the scenes that can improve machine performance and in some small ways even your own productivity. For example, if you don’t use your Dashboard Screen, why not stop it from running in the background eating up your machine resources. Do you have a bunch of apps cluttering up your dock? Why not add some organizational spaces between your application groups?
There are tons of hidden gems like this in most systems, and as you can see OS X is no exception. But sometimes, as the tips I linked to above exhibit, you need to go behind the scenes to get things done and the OS X Terminal app is fantastic for that. I love this application, but it does have a few out of the box settings that I am not a fan of. I do however have a few configuration changes to make Terminal a bit more my style.

Like many of you, I am a visual person and enjoy being around and working with anything that I consider beautiful or interesting to my eye. As such, the first two things I always change within the Terminal in a new OS X install is the colors and fonts. This is done simply by accessing the “Startup” configuration panel from terminal preferences. In this screen I change the “On start, open New window with settings” to use the “Homebrew” scheme as it has that geeky Matrix look and feel about it. Secondly, I change the “New windows open with” and “New tabs open with” to “Same Settings.”

terminal-prefs-startup-screen

Lastly, one of my biggest pet peeves with Terminal is that fact that when I type the word “exit” on the command line it exits the process but doesn’t close the window. This can be easily remedied by once again accessing the Terminal preferences and navigating to the “Settings” tab. From within this tab select the “shell” option and change the “When the shell exits option” to be “Close if the shell exited cleanly.”

terminal-prefs-shell-settings-screen

And that’s all there is to it. If you completely exit the Terminal application and come back in you should see it defaults to the profile scheme you selected above in step 1, and if you type the word exit it should close the terminal window. There are obviously many other options you can change for the Terminal Application, and most are relatively innocuous, but do be careful and research any of the more advanced options before changing them as you don’t want to negatively affect your application experience. In the end these aren’t big changes, but when you use them day in and day out adding that personal touch makes it that much nicer to get through the day.

As I stated above, I like the “homebrew” profile scheme, which one do you like the best?

About Matthew Snider

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2 Replies

  1. I love terminal. Command-line is awesome.
    For example, if you want to find all photos within a certain folder (and its subfolders) that were after a certain date and copy them to a different folder, doing that via command line is much quicker than the GUI route.

    1. Yup, command line rocks! Copying files is faster as well. If you take the time to get even a little proficient you can do some pretty powerful stuff.

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