How To Open Terminal Windows on Apple Mac Computers


The Terminal application on Mac provides access to the Unix command line interface. It allows you to control your Mac using text-based commands for greater speed and efficiency compared to the graphical user interface.

As someone with over 10 years of experience using Macs, I will provide detailed, step-by-step instructions on the various methods to open Terminal windows on a Mac. Whether you’re a beginner seeking to learn the basics or an advanced user looking to streamline your workflow, this guide has got you covered.

Ways to Open Terminal

There are several quick and simple ways to open a Terminal window on your Mac. Here are the main methods:

1. Use Spotlight Search

The fastest way is to use Spotlight Search (Cmd + Spacebar):

  • Press Cmd + Spacebar to bring up Spotlight Search
  • Type in “Terminal”
  • Press Return after the Terminal application appears

This will immediately open a Terminal window.

2. Use Launchpad

Another option is to open Launchpad (click the rocket icon in your dock) and search for Terminal there:

  • Click the Launchpad icon in the dock
  • Type in “Terminal” in the search bar
  • Click on the Terminal application icon

3. Open from Finder

You can also access Terminal through Finder:

  • Open Finder (or click Finder in the top menu bar)
  • Select Applications from the sidebar
  • Go to the Utilities folder
  • Double click on Terminal

4. Use Keyboard Shortcut

For even quicker access, set a keyboard shortcut for Terminal:

  • Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts tab
  • Select App Shortcuts on the left
  • Click the + button at the bottom
  • Set the application to Terminal
  • Enter a keyboard shortcut like Cmd + T
  • Click Add

Now just use your custom keyboard shortcut anytime to open Terminal.

Customizing Terminal

You can customize Terminal windows to suit your preferences and workflow. Here are some useful customizations:

Change Default Shell

The default shell is zsh but you can change it to others like bash:

  • Go to Terminal > Preferences > General
  • Select your preferred shell from the dropdown menu under “Shells open with”

Style the Window

To set a custom background color, text color or font:

  • Go to Terminal > Preferences > Profiles
  • Click the + button to create a new profile
  • Choose the profile’s appearance settings
  • Click Default to make it the default profile

Add Keyboard Shortcuts

Set custom hotkey shortcuts for commands:

  • Go to Terminal > Preferences > Profiles > Keyboard
  • Click + to add a new keyboard shortcut
  • Assign a hotkey and enter the corresponding command

Open New Windows and Tabs

  • Cmd + N opens a new Terminal window
  • Cmd + T opens a new tab
  • Cmd + Shift + T cycles between tabs
  • Cmd + W closes a window or tab


Learning how to efficiently open and customize Terminal on a Mac takes your computing skills to advanced levels. Implement the shortcuts and customizations outlined above to boost your productivity. With practice, Terminal will become an indispensable part of your workflow.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m always happy to help fellow Mac users master the Terminal.