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Better Command-Line Editing

Enable “Natural Text Editing” in iTerm2 to incorporate typical macOS-style text editing shortcodes into the command-line prompt. Two of the most useful commands enabled by this feature is the ability to jump forwards and backwards through words/arguments on the command-line with Alt-Left Arrow and Alt-Right Arrow.

To enable Natural Text Editing, click iTerm2->_Preferences_->_Profiles_->_Keys_. Then click _Load Preset_, and select _Natural Text Editing_ from the dropdown.

Enabling the 'Natural Text Editing' key mapping reset in iTerm2.

Enabling the 'Natural Text Editing' key mapping reset in iTerm2.

Clearing The Buffer

To clear iTerm’s scrollback buffer, you can enter the following command:

printf '\e]50;ClearScrollback\a'

This is useful when you want you are expecting to search stdout but don’t want previous results corrupting the search. It is also useful for increasing responsiveness when the scrollback buffer becomes large (especially if imgcat has been used). The commands clear, reset and Ctrl-K, while clearing the screen, will not clear the scrollback buffer.


Images can be displayed inline in a terminal with iTerm2’s imgcat script.

$ imgcat my_image.png

There is also a 3rd party tool under the same imgcat name which provides similar functionality at https://github.com/eddieantonio/imgcat.

tmux Integration

iTerm2 supports very powerful integration with tmux.

To start a tmux session that is integrated into iTerm2, first be running a terminal inside iTerm2, and then add -CC to your tmux invocation:

tmux -CC

Once the tmux session has been started inside iTerm2, you can then also use standard iTerm2 shortcuts to open new tmux windows, tabs or split panes.

  • Cmd-t: Open new tab
  • Cmd-n: Open new window
  • Cmd-d: Split vertically
  • Cmd-Shift-d: Split horizontally

Showing Hidden Files

By default, Finder in macOS hides all files and folders which begin with .. To configure Finder to show hidden files, type the following at the macOS command prompt:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

This has been confirmed to work with macOS Mojave v10.14.6.

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