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iTerm2 is a third-party replacement utility for MacOS Terminal. iTerm2 brings the terminal into the modern age with lots of cool features that will make you way more productive when you need to use the command line.

If you haven't checked out iTerm2 yet, here are a couple of features that I think make it a practical application.

Hot Key

Hotkey Window

Register a hotkey that brings iTerm2 to the foreground when you're in another application. A terminal is always a keypress away. You can choose to have the hotkey open a dedicated window. This is very similar to the Quake Terminal functionality, commonly known as Guake Terminal.

Whenever I need to access Terminal, I type my short cut and instantly a top-down terminal appears ready for me to type my command. The window and session close when I click away from the top-down terminal.

Note: The HotKey functionality only works if you have the application open.


Profiles Colors

A profile is a named collection of settings, and you can have as many of them as you like. A key feature of a profile is that you can associate a command with it that is run when it begins. For instance, if you often ssh to a particular host, you could create a profile with the command "ssh" to automate that process.

What's nice about the Profiles functionality is that I can assign different colors to different profiles. So Production accounts can have a red background whereas Development and Staging can have the typical black background. I don't have to second guess where I am, by looking at the color of the background, I know when it's safe to type certain commands.

The folks over at Iterm2 created a library of 147 different color schemes that I can use, I don't have to be a color genius to define the style for my environment. Someone actually created a Dracula Theme, which is slightly better than the 'Dark' theme that is included with the Iterm2.


There are a lot of cool things that make iTerm2 a great solution for anyone that spends a considerable amount of time using the Mac Terminal.

One key reason that I like about iTerm2 is that George Nachman, the developer, spends a lot of time using the application. He is always looking for ways to make the application better.

iTerm2 is free and can be download from the iTerm2 Website. If you like it, consider making a donation.



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A Mac veteran since 1989, I'm here to share my experience with tips and tricks every Friday. Witnessing the evolution of Mac software and hardware firsthand, I've gained a deep understanding of how these machines work and can help you troubleshoot any issues that may come up.


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