Keyboard shortcuts only get you so far. If you really want to harness the real power of your computer you need to take it to the command line. This week, learn to use the terminal like a master.
Get a Great Terminal Emulator
All operating systems offer a command prompt, but that doesn’t mean the built-in version is best. We’ve taken a look at the many alternatives and found great options for Windows, OS X, and Linux. You’ll get by just fine with an included terminal emulator, so don’t feel the need to download (and, in some cases, purchase) another version. As you get more comfortable, however, you may find additional features of a third-party option (or just some enhancements) help you get things done a little bit faster.
Learn the Basics of the Command Line
The command line works similarly regardless of what operating system you use, but there are distinct differences you’ll need to know in order to get much done. Check out our command line primer to get an idea of the basics for OS X and Linux. Windows isn’t terribly different, but the standard *nix format is better to learn because you’ll need to use it with most web servers as well. Using Cygwin or just making a few alternations to the existing command prompt does the trick. Once you’ve got the basics down, just keep reference handy (especially this cheat sheet if you’re a Linux user) as you continue to learn.
Master Time-Saving Shortcuts
Knowing the basics of the command line really helps when you need to use it for certain tasks and tweaks, but you can do so much more if you really dive in and get to know your options. First, check out our top 10 tools that are better in the command line so you know some of the best use cases. As great as the command line may be, you won’t want to use it for absolutely everything. That said, you can use it for many things and save yourself time if you know a few helpful commands. My favorite task is resizing images. But that’s just one shortcut. To learn more, read our guide on becoming a command line ninja and keep an eye on our command line tag page for more tips.