Using the Terminal in OS X is probably the most powerful and immediate way to affect deep changes on your Mac. If you’re a fan of using the command line, then it’s always nice to learn a new trick.

We’re never opposed to learning new ways to “hack” OS X through the Terminal. For example, we know we can prevent our Mac from sleeping using the “Caffeinate” command. Another great trick is to change where OS X automatically saves screenshots.

Today’s trick comes in the form of marks. Marks work much like bookmarks in that they allow you to execute commands and mark positions that you can come back to later in time.

However, bookmarks are different in that they persist from Terminal window/tab to Terminal window/tab. Marks only apply to a single window or tab. Neither will last however, after you exit out of Terminal.

How Marks Work

Every time you press “Enter” in a Terminal window, the line will be marked by inserting a bracket at the beginning of a command.

Marks make it simple then to jump through commands, particularly if you execute a command with a long output.

You can then jump through marks by using “Command+Up” or “Command+Down”.

So that’s pretty easy and straightforward, how then do you configure marks behavior?

If you want to outright disable marks, then you can do so from the Terminal’s Edit menu, Edit > Marks > Automatically Mark Prompt Lines. However, you can still mark a command by using the keyboard combination Command+Enter.

For all the commands on using or not using marks, check out the Edit > Marks Terminal menu.

Alternatively, if you want to leave automatic marking enabled, but skip a line, then you can use Command+Shift+Enter.

Of course, you may want to retain all the power that marks have to offer, but simply wish not to see them. In that case, go to the View menu and select “Hide Marks”.

If you hide marks, they’ll still be there, you simply won’t see them.

Let’s say you have automatic marking disabled and you forget to mark an important line as you’re flying through your commands. You can still manually mark a line by selecting in the Terminal window with the mouse and then using Edit > Marks > Mark as Prompt, or through the keyboard shortcut Command+U.

Finally, there’s one more really useful command you can glean from this newfound Terminal power. To select content automatically, add Shift. In other words, if there’s a particularly command you want to copy and use again or you want to copy log output or something of that nature, use Command+Shift+Up or Command+Shift+Down.

Now, you can simply copy the output to the clipboard for pasting into something else, such as if diagnosing a problem or demonstrating a point.

RELATED: How to Prevent Your Mac from Sleeping with No Additional Software

Adding marks to your Terminal skills is a powerful way to breeze through multiple screens of output with great ease. Better still, you can pick and choose your way by deciding whether or not you want to use marks or when you use them.

In this way, you’ll never lose your place, or you do, you’ll be able to find it again quickly and easily.

Profile Photo for Matt Klein Matt Klein
Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8.
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