Mac OS X is beautiful, but the Terminal UI and UX hurts – let’s fix it!
There are times when one has to drop back to the command line. But the default Terminal window on Mac OS is small, black and white and forces me to think about case sensitivity. Let’s make the Terminal window a bit more beautiful! I want mine to look like this:
- Ocean Blue Theme
- Some transparency
- Not case sensitive
- Nicely formatted folder listings
Configure the window
First let’s make Ocean the standard profile. Open a Terminal window and go to settings. Select “Ocean” and click “Standard”
Next, switch to the tab “Window” and set the columns to 160 and the rows to 50 to make the window bigger.
To get the transparency, select the background color and put opacity to 95%.
Fixing case sensitivity
set completion-ignore-case On
set show-all-if-ambiguous On
we achieve the following: when typing “cd Do” followed by TAB, the result will be
iMacRR:~ rene$ cd do
iMacRR:~ rene$ cd Do
- No more case sensitivity! Even though “Documents” and “Downloads” both start with an uppercase “D”, I can now use a lower case “d”.
- Instead of beeping or not doing anything because of the ambiguity, the Terminal window now shows me a list of available matches.
Instead of setting the properties manually, we can create a text file named “.inputrc” and put it into the user home folder (Open Finder, press SHIFT+ALT+G and go to “~”).
Now the last change: format of the directory listing
When I type “ls“, I really mean “ls -lpFh“.
- l: long list format (more overview)
- p: write a slash if an entry is a folder (easier identification of folders)
- F: show special characters if files can be executed, are symbolic links, etc.
- h: show file size in sensible units (Megabytes, Kilobytes, …)
iMacRR:~ rene$ ls -lpFh
drwxr-xr-x 5 rene staff 170B 8 Nov 13:53 Applications/
drwxr-xr-x@ 5 rene staff 170B 8 Nov 08:58 Applications (Parallels)/
-rwxr-xr-x 1 rene staff 56M 26 Jan 2007 Basta!.pdf*
drwx——+ 13 rene staff 442B 8 Nov 16:41 Desktop/
drwx——+ 14 rene staff 476B 8 Nov 16:47 Documents/
drwx——+ 16 rene staff 544B 8 Nov 16:32 Downloads/
In order to be able to only type “ls”, I create a file named “.bash_profile” in my home folder (Open Finder, press SHIFT+ALT+G and go to “~”). This is a text file with the content:
alias ls=’ls -lpFh’
You can download both files here. Happy command-lining.