Powering up your Terminal in Mac


Programmers and tech enthusiasts use the terminal to communicate with their system at a deeper level. Following are some of the tools to make the terminal and your experience more powerful and enjoyable.


Use iTerm2 instead of the classic terminal. You can download it from their official website. This terminal offers a variety of cool features like

  • splitting the terminal in different panels
  • having multiple tabs
  • keep session and different profiles
  • search
  • extend its functionality by its Python API
  • and much more features


Change the default shell to a better one. Mac uses bash by default. A better one would be the z shell. On top of that Oh-my-zsh is a framework for the z shell (zsh).

It requires that you have git (usually pre installed) and zsh installed. It can be checked by

					zsh --version

If it does not exist, then you can follow these instructions that also show how to set it as default.

After installing and setting as default the zsh shell, you can easily install oh-my-zsh by executing the following command in your terminal:

					sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh/master/tools/install.sh)"           

Extracted from the instructions on their website

using it

Now that is installed, you can customize it by changing theme and plugins. That is it, you now have a super customizable shell. Make it look nice to your eyes by selecting a desirable theme (e.g. the fox) and adding a plugin to enrich functionality like auto-completing commands for git, opening Jira tickets for better workflow, etc.

For instance, you wish to google a term directly from the terminal instead of going to the web browser. That can be done by using the web-search plugin.

For example, googling for “powering up your terminal”:

					google powering up your terminal

It will open automatically the default web browser and google it. It can also search on stackoverflow

					stackoverflow oh my zsh

It will open automatically the default web browser and google it. It can also search on stackoverflow

also on goodreads, scholar, and more as listed in their examples on github.

And that is just one of the many plugins out there.


Bit caution on adding too many plugins as they tend to slow down the shell. Have a look on their cheatsheet. In general, it is pretty cool. Adding this type of tool set in your repertoire, definitely makes you faster and boost your productivity. Thanks for reading.

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Professional IT consultant, writer, programmer enthusiast interested in all sorts of coding.
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