5 Ways to Open Terminal on Mac

Aug 2, 2023 - 3 Comments

Terminal in MacOS

The Terminal application on Mac provides a powerful command-line interface that allows users to interact with their computer using text-based commands. It offers advanced control, customization, and automation options, making it beneficial for developers, system administrators, and power users who prefer a more efficient and flexible way to execute tasks, manage files, navigate the file system, install software, run scripts, and access various system utilities and tools.

The Terminal may be generally for more advanced Mac users, but that doesn’t mean that opening the Terminal and getting started with it is. Here are five ways to open the Terminal on Mac, and they’re all simple enough that you can choose whichever works best for your workflow.

1: Open Terminal with Spotlight Search

Press Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight Search, then type “Terminal” and press Enter when the Terminal application appears in the search results.

Open the Terminal on Mac with Spotlight

This will instantly launch Terminal, and is perhaps the fastest way to open the Terminal on Mac if you do not have the app already in your dock.

Using Spotlight as an app launcher is one of the better Spotlight tips out there, as it works with any app you search for and hit return.

2: Open Terminal from Dock

If you have the Terminal application already added to your Dock, simply click on the Terminal icon to open it.

Open the Terminal on Mac with Dock

Drag the Terminal icon into the Dock, and away you go.

3: Open Terminal from Applications Folder in Finder

Open any new Finder window, navigate to the “Applications” folder (it’s typically in the Finder window sidebar by default), and then open the “Utilities” folder. Here, you’ll find the Terminal application. Double-click on it to launch.

Open the Terminal on Mac with Finder Applications folder

4: Open Terminal from Launchpad

If you use Launchpad to open applications, using Launchpad to open Terminal will suit your workflow well.

Click on the Launchpad icon in the Dock (the grid looking icon), then type “Terminal” in the search bar at the top. Hit return, or click on the Terminal icon when it appears in the search results to open.

Open the Terminal on Mac with Launchpad

5: Open Terminal from Finder Folders

If you right-click on folders in the Finder, you can access an “Open Folder in Terminal” from the Services contextual menu.

Open the Terminal on Mac with Finder on Mac

This will instantly open a new Terminal window into the current working directory.

Getting Started with Terminal

We routinely cover command line articles and tips, so check those out.

Do you have another method to open the Terminal on Mac? What is your preference? Share your thoughts in the comments.

* Unrelated fun note: I asked ChatGPT to rewrite the intro to this article as if an intoxicated person wrote it, it’s funny enough to share:

The Terminal thingy on Mac, man, it’s like this trippy way to talk to your computer, y’know? You just type in these wild words and bam! You can do all this crazy stuff like organize your junk and find these mind-blowing tools. It’s like unlocking this super gnarly code that makes your computer go, “Whoa, dude!” and do all this wild, mind-bending stuff, man. So rad!

If you haven’t messed around with using ChatGPT yet, check out this guide to get started, it can be as useful, or goofy, as you make it.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Command Line, Mac OS, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Elmer Cat says:

    Better yet, use Cmd-drag to add the Terminal application to the Finder’s toolbar. Not only can you launch Terminal by clicking on the handy toolbar button, if you drag a folder into the button, the Terminal will launch and automatically be navigated directly to the chosen folder’s path.

  2. Bev in TX says:

    Before Launchpad was added to Mac OS X (Lion?), I had the Application folder on the Dock. I still sometimes use it , as I’ve had a hard time breaking that habit.

    Folks can create a Quick Action in the Shortcuts app and apply a keyboard shortcut to it. Just use the Open App action and point it to Terminal. Then you don’t even need to take your hands off of the keyboard. I’ve seen similar things done via Automator, but that was more complicated.

  3. Ben Dover says:


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