List All Possible Terminal Commands 13


List All Possible Terminal Commands


I like Terminal. The power you have in such a little application. Anyway, I stumbled across this cool command while smashing my hands on the keyboard. In its simplicity it will list every single command available on your system. It will very between system to system, with the amount of commands available.

Open up Terminal and press and and hold Escape you should get a message saying “Display all 1420 possibilities? (y or n)” you then have the choice to press Y for yes or N or no. A second later all of the commands will be displayed. Not all at once, but in alphabetical order.

You then press enter to cycle through one line at a time. It will take a while to go through every line but you can find some cool commands. If you want to exit out of the list half way through press backspace (delete on a MacBook/Pro).

A very cool little tip and lets you find some cool commands. Not every command will work, and you should be very careful as some commands you will see can damage your system (rm comes to mind). If you are bored one day you now have every command available to you. It of course, wont show you commands within applications, for instance in emacs or vim.

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13 Responses to “List All Possible Terminal Commands”

  1. 1

    I didn’t know about this one, good tip! Note that you can scroll a page a time by hitting spacebar versus a line a time using enter. That might speed up your browsing a bit. Cheers.

    Comment By Rolling Pin on May 17th, at 12:31 am

  2. 2

    Sweet didn’t no that.

    Comment By James Powell on May 17th, at 10:16 am

  3. 3

    Maybe you should extend your post with the Double-TAB function. Just type a letter on the commandline and press Tab twice and you see the possibilties. Works even on switching trough the filesystem.

    Comment By Anonymous on May 17th, at 4:48 pm

  4. 4

    If you want to know what a command does but you are afraid it might be destructive, try using the “man” command. Typing man and a command from the list will give you a manual page explaining the command function and format. Everyone can start with “man man” (without the quotes :-)

    Comment By Sean on May 18th, at 11:55 pm

  5. 5

    Neat tip I like it.

    Comment By James Powell on May 19th, at 4:36 pm

  6. 6

    wow kewl sitye

    Comment By kEVIN FRAZIER on July 14th, at 2:52 pm

  7. 7

    Hi- it didn’t work for me.. I am trying to figure out how to close the extra monitor on my mac.
    There is no external device connected but I can still arrange a 2nd window… which makes my mouse go into
    lala land. I think I connected to a projector -but the option is still there. It is messing up my video card!

    Comment By jewels on March 4th, at 9:58 am

  8. 8

    a very fun command!
    first, write “emacs” (no quotations) and press enter.
    then press esc and x. type in either tetris, snake, or gomoku.


    Comment By Cecilia on May 10th, at 12:02 am

  9. 9

    a very fun command!
    first, write “emacs” (no quotations) and press enter.
    then press esc and x. type in either tetris, snake, or gomoku.

    very fun!

    Comment By Cecilia on May 10th, at 12:02 am

  10. 10

    you can use the word say and type after it and it should say what you told it to so fun!!!

    Comment By owen on February 17th, at 7:00 pm

  11. 11

    @bubble monkey – only if you don’t know what you are doing, you can cause your computer harm. But hitting tab twice and looking at commands will not.

    Comment By anonymous on August 28th, at 6:29 pm

  12. 12

    hi james
    my friend has an Imac and i am a windows user.
    i have loaded an applicaton that needs to get into sudo nano/private/etc/hosts.

    can you give me the steps to get into this part of the mac please?

    thank you

    Comment By ian Goodman on November 19th, at 7:23 am

  13. 13

    i got a macpro for chrx i m gone loco i dont know how to use terminal its defirant from windows can you halp pls i use to play trick on my frinds with the cmd now the pling ticks on me

    Comment By nader on January 3rd, at 5:48 am