How To Open And Use The Terminal Application On A Mac?


If you are not familiar with the Mac Terminal, see it as the ultimate command shortcut hub, one that lets you take charge of your OS in a very rapid and effective manner (It can also be used if you know a thing or two about UNIX operating systems).

Knowing how to use Terminal is like communicating in a different tongue — you have to learn the basic rules to make it happen.

For instance, all the characters typed by you is vital, even spaces, you have to navigate through lines using your arrow keys; and you must press “return” or “enter” to give a command.

We will break down the few simple commands you need to know about, but before that, you will need to open the Terminal and this is how to go about that.

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How Can I Open The Terminal On A Mac?

There are 2 main ways to get to the Terminal- the Apps folder in your Finder or searching in Spotlight.

How To Open Terminal Via The Finder?

  1. Tap the Finder logo, seen in the bottom toolbar of your display. (It appears in the form of a 2-toned smiling face).
  2. On the left toolbar, tap “Applications”
  3. Swipe down and have the “Utilities” folder opened.
  4. Double tap “Terminal” to have it launched.

How To Open Terminal Via Spotlight?

  1. Press “Command” and the space bar at the same time, (It will open a search bar on your display).
  2. Type in “Terminal”
  3. Double tap “Terminal” in the left sidebar to have your Mac’s Terminal opened.

If you intend to use the Terminal several times, pinning it to your PC’s bottom toolbar is a wise thing to do for seamless access. To get that done, right-tap the Terminal logo in the dock (it will be visible there except Terminal is not open.) Then hover over “Options” and choose “Keep in Dock.”

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Some Simple Commands You Can Use On A Mac’s Terminal

Do not forget- After entering each command, you will need to tap “Return” for the command to stand.

Below are some vital commands you must equip yourself with, ensure the precise phrasing and spacing below are copied into your commands:

Open an application:


If this particular phrasing is typed by you, Terminal will open your Spotify application.

Or, if the application contains a space in its name:


Open a file with the default app:

To get this done, you will need to be aware of the command pathway for the file you intend to access. To achieve this, the file can be dragged to the Terminal window to add to the line, or right tap the file and choose “Copy [NAME]” and then make use of the Command+V shortcut to have it pasted into the Terminal. Even if it seems like the latter just copies the actual file name, it really captures the entire pathway. Any which way, hit the spacebar after the application name and the command will take effect.


Open a file with an application you specify:

Once more, you will require the file pathway to make use of this command.


Open a text-based file with the text editor:

Be aware that the file pathway is key here as well.

Open -a Text Edit [FILE PATHWAY]

To access your Terminal’s settings, hold down the command key as you click the comma button. And, if you intend to stop a command you’ve input, it can be done by clicking the window (if you are yet to select it) and hold down “control” plus hitting “c.” Alternatively, if you intend to repeat a command, just use the up arrow key to check out previously used commands, and when you locate what you desire, press “return.”

Do not be bothered if there is a mistake in your command pathways- You will receive a message telling you “No such file or directory exists.”


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