Terminal Cheatsheet

Useful tidbits for OSX and other *nix systems…

To display your path:


(each directory in the path is separated by a colon)

To display your shell:


To modify your path (add a directory):

echo 'PATH=$PATH:usr/local/bin' >> ~/.bash_profile
source .bash_profile

Typical configuration files

To reload your modified profile:

. ./.profile
source ~/.profile
source ~/.bash_profile

To create symbolic links:

ln -s original_path symlink_name

To remove symbolic links:

cd to directory
rm -r symlink_name

To see which environment variables are defined in your current shell:


To set an environment variable (modify your config file):

setenv VAR value (tcsh)
export VAR=value (bash)

To unset an environment variable:

unset VAR

(tcsh and bash)

To copy files from one location to another:

cp current_location new_location

To copy directories from one location to another:

cp -r current_location new_location

To add a temporary host name to your hosts file

sudo echo "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx domain_name.com" >> /private/etc/hosts

To remove a temporary host name from your hosts file

cd /etc/
perl -e 'open(F, "hosts"); @array = (); close(F); open(FH, "> hosts");print FH @array[0..($#array - 1)]; close(FH);'

To access a path that includes whitespaces and is stored in an environment variable:


To remove alias arrows in Finder:

cd /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources
sudo mv AliasBadgeIcon.icns AliasBadgeIcon_OFF.icns
killall Finder

To resotre alias arrows in Finder:

cd /System/Library/CoreServices/CoreTypes.bundle/Contents/Resources
sudo mv AliasBadgeIcon_OFF.icns AliasBadgeIcon.icns
killall Finder

To show hidden files in Finder:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
killall Finder

To hide files in Finder:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO
killall Finder

To make directory paths visible across the top of a Finder window: Mac OS X Leopard (version 10.5)

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES
killall Finder

To remove the glass effect from your dock (darkens the dock):

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean NO;
killall Dock

To restore the glass effect to your dock:

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES;
killall Dock

To disable Dashboard:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES
killall Dock

To restore Dashboard:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO
killall Dock

To tarball a website (xfer to another server)
1. on the original machine

cd /
tar -cpzf filename.tar.gz *

2. on dest machine

cd /
wget http://oldserver.com/filename.tar.gz
wget username:password@http://oldserver.com/filename.tar.gz (for authentication)
tar -xzf filename.tar.gz

To backup MySQL databases

mysqldump --add-drop-table -u dbusername -p dbname > dbname.bak.dump


mysqldump --opt -u dbusername -p dbname > dbname.bak.dump

To restore MySQL databases

mysql -u dbusername -p dbname < dbname.bak.dump

To restart Apache (2.0)

apachectl -k graceful

To stop Apache (2.0)

apachectl -k stop

To restart Apache (1.x)

service httpd restart

To stop Apache (1.x)

service httpd stop 
service httpd start

To restart the server

shutdown now -r

To get hardware architecture info

uname -a

To patch a file

patch < path/file.patch

To patch a file and backup the original

patch < path/file.patch -b

To test patch a file before actually applying the patch

patch < path/file.patch --dry-run

To reverse a file patch

patch -p0 -R < path/file.patch

To relocate an SVN repository

svn switch --relocate svn://host/repos \ http://host/repository

To backup an SVN repository (using gzip for compression)

svnadmin dump /svn_parent_path/repos > svn_repos_dump_date
gzip -9 svn_repos_dump_date

To break an SVN repository lock

svn unlock --force http://host/repository/file

To change your login background picture

cd /System/Library/CoreServices/
sudo mv DefaultDesktop.jpg DefaultDesktop.jpg.bak
sudo cp /Path/to/your/new/background.jpg DefaultDesktop.jpg

To convert an ICNS icon file to a PNG

sips -s format png /path/to/someIcon.icns --out /path/to/newImage.png

To highlight stack items on hover (NOTE: change “yes” to “no” to revert)

defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilte-stack -boolean yes
killall Dock

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