Access Terminal from Anywhere in Mac OS X via Keyboard Shortcut with TotalTerminal

Jun 18, 2012 - 3 Comments

TotalTerminal in Mac OS X

TotalTerminal is an excellent tweak for those of us who frequently use the command line, it provides instant access to the Terminal from anywhere in Mac OS X with just a keyboard shortcut. Modeled after the classic Quake console, an official Terminal.app prompt drops down from the top of the screen where you can quickly enter a command or two and then hide it to get back to work within the OS X GUI.

Installing TotalTerminal is much easier these days than it’s early incarnation as Visor, and once installed the default hotkey for summoning the drop-down terminal is Control+~ (that’s Control tilde, the squigly line next to the 1 key). An accompanying menubar item allows you to access the command line as well, and of course you can customize the keyboard shortcut yourself. TotalTerminal gives you a lot of other options for customization, letting you change the positioning on screen of where the terminal appears, if it shows up on all Spaces, the delay for showing and hiding, whether or not it should animate itself, and a handy unix-friendly copy/paste setting.

TotalTerminal settings show changes to hotkey, positioning, and other customizations

It’s important to note that TotalTerminal will uninstall SIMBL due to conflicts between the two system-level tweaks. If you’re using SIMBL for colorizing Finder icons or some other system mods you may not want to use TotalTerminal at all. If you want to just try it out however, uninstalling TotalTerminal is as easy as installing it, by a simple choice of “uninstall” through the apps drop down menu.

Fully compatible with virtually every version of Mac OS X including Snow Leopard, Lion, and even OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, TotalTerminal is a worthy addition to Mac powerusers toolkits.

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Posted by: William Pearson in Command Line, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

3 Comments

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  1. JK Scheinberg says:

    Sadly this requires auth’ing as Admin to install. There is no reason for that and no one should install an app that requires this w/o understanding the implications of that. Would love to try this if they change it to just install as a user instead of globally requiring Admin access to install.

  2. Bob says:

    Usually you can just dig through the installer app and install it manually. This is what I do with adobe reader, as there is no way I am trusting adobe with super user access.

  3. Dennis Chow says:

    I found the default key combination didn’t work. It conflicts with an OS X shortcut to switch between open application windows.

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