How to view all commands supported by the MacOS Terminal

In our Mac guides and tutorials we have used the terminal on countless occasions. This tool, which scares many, is tremendously useful for achieving certain things with our computers and today we want to explain how to list all the commands that the Terminal accepts and see what each one is for .

You will probably never need most of the commands that you will be able to see by following these instructions, but we still think it is important that you know how to look at the list and be able to consult what each one is for in case you need to resort to it at any time for any reason.

How to view all commands supported by the MacOS Terminal
How to view all commands supported by the MacOS Terminal

Most often, we use Terminal to change certain settings on our Macs, but it can also be useful to restart processes that are unresponsive and not possible from Activity Monitor, or to perform much more advanced tasks.

How to see all the commands available in the MacOS Terminal

With this little “trick” you can see all the commands that the MacOS Terminal accepts. It’s a list of over 1400 items and works with all recent versions of the Apple Mac operating system.

1.- The first thing you need to do is open a Terminal window from ApplicationsUtilities (you can also launch it from Spotlight if you prefer).

Without typing anything on the command line, press the ESC key four times.

3.- The terminal will ask you if you want to show the list of commands and all you have to do is press the key and (yes).

When you do these steps, the terminal will start listing all the commands it accepts . The list does not load completely from the first moment, but you will have to press enter to move forward in the list or press the delete key if you want to leave the list before reaching the end.

How to know what each MacOS Terminal command does

Now that you know how to see the full list of commands that accept macOS, you’re probably wondering how you can see what each one is for. As usual, Apple has thought about it and has incorporated a shortcut to see a little “manual” of each one.

Right click on the command you want to know about and select the option Open page “man” .

With these simple steps the Mac will show you a new window with the description of the command and the utilities it has . This way you’ll know exactly what each of them is for (although in my tests I’ve seen that some don’t have a “man” page, although they are a minority).

It is also possible to access this information without leaving the terminal or taking the mouse. In case you prefer this way, what you have to do is type in the Terminal:

man COMMAND

Substitute the word COMMAND for the command you want to see its manual or man page.

Finally, another option is to use the help menu and enter the command in the search box to open this page of information about each of them.

What did you think of this trick for Mac? I think it’s a great help to get to know our equipment a little better and learn how to get more out of the terminal and lose your fear while doing it.

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