- On a PC running Windows, you can use the command prompt by launching CMD.exe. Running commands enables you to work with your computer without using the graphical user interface. You can enter DOS commands at the Windows command prompt. On iMacs running the OS X operating system, which is based on UNIX, you can enter UNIX commands at the prompt in Apple’s Terminal.
- Apple’s iMac is designed for people who want to interact with a computer using the graphical user interface, clicking on items with the mouse. Apple also includes the OS X Terminal on all iMacs, enabling more advanced users to enter UNIX commands. Click “Applications” on the Dock of your iMac, then click “Utilities” and “Terminal” to launch the native Terminal application. A Terminal window appears. You can change the size of the this window, as well as configure what colors it uses for the background and text.
- You can use Terminal commands on your iMac to perform tasks and get information about your system. Type “Help” at the command prompt to see a list of commands, then type “help” followed by a space and the name of a command function to get more information about it. For example, type “help cd” to learn about the “change directory” command; type “top” at the command prompt and press “Enter” to see a list of all processes running on your iMac; type the letter “q” to quit seeing the processes and go back to the command prompt; type “uptime” to see how long your iMac has been running. You can open multiple Terminal windows to run different commands simultaneously.
- The command key on the iMac’s keyboard is marked with the Apple logo and is located to the left of the spacebar. Press the command key while pressing another key to use a keyboard shortcut in programs with a graphical user interface. For example, press the “Command” key and then press the “C” key to copy whatever you have selected, such as a file or a section of text; press the “Command” key and “V” to paste whatever you have copied; press the “Command” key and “X” to cut something that you have selected; press the “Command” key and “W” to close a window; press the "Command" key and “S” to save your file.