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I can issue the clear command or press Ctrl + L to clear the current Ubuntu terminal, but this just shifts previous output upwards and if you use mouse scroll or PgUP and PgDown keys it's hard to distinguish where the output of previous command ends and output of current command begins.

Is there a way to really clear the terminal so I won't see previous command results?


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Press Ctrl+L twice and you get blank! –  Pandya Jul 30 '14 at 12:19

7 Answers 7

up vote 135 down vote accepted

Yes, the command you're looking for is


In contrast to clear, or Ctrl+L, reset will actually completely re-initialise the terminal, instead of just clearing the screen. However, it won't re-instantiate the shell (bash). That means that bash's state is the same as before, just as if you were merely clearing the screen.

From the other answers:

  • You can set a Keyboard Shortcut to reset the terminal, as explained by towolf.

  • If you're running Kubuntu, and your terminal is Konsole, you need to go to Edit → Clear history, since reset doesn't work the same way there, as UncleZeiv notes.

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nice. i guess I'll never use clear again :) –  Stann Feb 6 '11 at 21:58
I wish I'd heard about this ages ago! Thanks :D –  Adrian Petrescu Feb 7 '11 at 2:33
Probably doesn't matter for most users, but the behavior of reset is dependent on the terminal. –  cthom06 Feb 7 '11 at 13:44
Personally I don't mind that something is left "up" along the scroller when I hit ^L. I don't see it (that's what I want!), I don't feel it, and if suddenly I would need to restore what was there — no problem. reset in contrast is much harder tool — I'll use it when something went wrong with the terminal — like, when weird escape sequences accidentally ruined the display altogether. –  ulidtko Feb 7 '11 at 13:56
@ulidtko: it does matter when you run consecutive sessions of programs with tons of output. If you scroll back it's easy to get confused about which execution printed something. I know perfectly well that more sophisticated solutions could be used in these cases, but nonetheless it's a scenario that comes about pretty often in quick & dirty debugging sessions. –  UncleZeiv Feb 9 '11 at 12:49

Another alternative to the @Hibou57 answer:

# The Octal Way
alias clear="echo -e '\033c\c'"


# The Hex Way
alias clear="echo -e '\x1b\c'"

Basically this will have exactly the same effect, it will print the ^[ character (which clear your terminal) and does not output the trailing new line.

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Alternatively to reset, you can do echo -e "\033c", or have in your .bashrc, something like alias cls="echo -ne '\033c'"

The UNIX/Linux StackExchange, has a thread on this: How to clear terminal completely? (unix.stackexchange.com), as well as SuperUser : Clear terminal using keyboard shortcut (superuser.com).

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I was looking for this for a while and I found some genius that posted this:

clear && printf '\e[3J'

Clears the whole screen buffer, very clean. Works on OSX and believe it works fine on most *nix terminals.

I hope someone finds that as useful as I did :)

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Hmm, works in xterm, Konsole and Linux VT, but doesn't in gnome-terminal... –  Ruslan Jun 24 '14 at 13:02
Best answer. Even purges tmux history (as in Ctrl+b PgUp; reset fails to do so; tested in rxvt-unicode/urxvt; tmux-specific alternative: clear && tmux clearhist). –  user569825 Jul 28 '14 at 9:52
Thanks, works great on my Mac - I really missed a real Bash-style reset. –  JohnnyCoder Feb 17 at 21:22

You can also assign a shortcut in gnome-terminal by going to Edit → Keyboard Shortcuts. I use Ctrl+Alt+C.

reset and clear shortcut

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+1. I always have the Menubar hidden; so even after years and years of using gnome, I never thought to look for this. Thanks :-) –  Stefano Palazzo Feb 9 '11 at 12:53
“Reset” do nothing for me, and “Reset and Clear” clear everything but does not re‑display the prompt. None of these menu entries behave like the “reset” command from a terminal. –  Hibou57 Jul 9 '14 at 8:50
As @Hibou57 said, my keyboard shortcut for "Reset" doesn't seem to do anything. Is this functionality broken in 14.04? –  michaelms Aug 23 '14 at 20:37
“Is this functionality broken in 14.04?”: this is the same with 12.04. –  Hibou57 Aug 24 '14 at 2:53

Well it really depends, if you are using Konsole for instance even reset doesn't prevent you to scroll past the first line. In that case you have to use some feature of the particular terminal you are using. For Konsole, it's Edit > Clear History.

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run this command:


This has the same effect as launching a new terminal.

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When using putty, after running reset, I can still scroll up and see previous stuff. Is this an issue with PuTTY rather than reset? –  Svish Feb 7 '11 at 14:43
@svish -- that's just a putty implementation issue or decision. –  belacqua Feb 8 '11 at 22:52
@jgbelacqua, Deal :) –  Svish Feb 9 '11 at 9:27

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