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?

  • 7
    Press Ctrl+L twice and you get blank! – Pandya Jul 30 '14 at 12:19

11 Answers 11

up vote 411 down vote accepted

Yes, the command you're looking for is

reset

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.

As @Wallacoloo mentions in the comments, this command should do the same thing more quickly:

tput reset

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.

  • 7
    Probably doesn't matter for most users, but the behavior of reset is dependent on the terminal. – cthom06 Feb 7 '11 at 13:44
  • 2
    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
  • 13
    @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
  • @UncleZeiv colored prompt anchors usually help me to quickly find the needed spot. Though this is all just habits. – ulidtko Feb 9 '11 at 12:56
  • 7
    There's also tput reset which visibly does the same thing, but completes instantaneously (whereas reset can take up to about 2 seconds before the prompt reappears). – Ponkadoodle Mar 4 '16 at 22:57

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 OS X and believe it works fine on most *nix terminals.

For curious, this part '\e[3J' is a terminal escape command.

  • 1
    Hmm, works in xterm, Konsole and Linux VT, but doesn't in gnome-terminal... – Ruslan Jun 24 '14 at 13:02
  • 7
    Thanks, that's super useful! What does printf '\e[3J' mean? How does it clean the buffer? – Filip Spiridonov Jul 24 '15 at 17:03
  • 1
    Great find! And for those who want the Bash-style reset on mac: nano ~/.bashrc and add alias reset="clear && printf '\e[3J'" – Michael Deal Aug 12 '16 at 5:43
  • 3
    be careful aliasing reset -- it does more than just clear the terminal. for example, if you accidentally print a binary file with random garbage that corrupts the terminal (e.g. disables echoing of typed characters), reset can usually fix that. of course aliasing is fine as long as you know how to \override an alias-shadowed command. – RubyTuesdayDONO Oct 3 '16 at 12:51
  • 4
    This is the only answer that works to clear Putty scrollback when accessing some SSH via Winders. – dhaupin Jan 19 '17 at 15:56

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

reset and clear shortcut

  • +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
  • 3
    “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? – Michael Martin-Smucker 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
  • 1
    @Hibou57 "Reset and Clear" isn't expected to re-display the prompt, but if you hit Enter afterwards it should re-display the prompt. Does that work for you? – Don Hatch Nov 9 '16 at 2:32

run this command:

reset

This has the same effect as launching a new terminal.

  • 4
    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

Cross posting my answer from stackoverflow.

Use the following command to do a clear screen instead of merely adding new lines ...

printf "\033c"

yes that's a 'printf' on the bash prompt.

You will probably want to define an alias though...

alias cls='printf "\033c"'

Explanation

\033 == \x1B == 27 == ESC

So this becomes <ESC>c which is the VT100 escape code for resetting the terminal. Here is some more information on terminal escape codes.

Edit

Here are a few other ways of doing it...

printf "\ec" #\e is ESC in bash
echo -en "\ec" #thanks @Jonathon Reinhart.
# -e    Enable interpretation of of backslash escapes
# -n    Do not output a new line

KDE

The above does not work on the KDE console (called Konsole) but there is hope! Use the following sequence of commands to clear the screen and the scroll-back buffer...

clear && echo -en "\e[3J"

Or perhaps use the following alias on KDE...

alias cls='clear && echo -en "\e[3J"'

I got the scroll-back clearing command from here.

My favorite is printf "\ec". This can also be printf "\033c" or printf "\x1bc". That is an ansi escape sequence that miraculously clears the screen and buffer for the terminal output (for most standard terminals I have worked in it seems - I know it works in such as gnome-terminal, terminator, xterm, etc. on Ubuntu-like Linuxes)

I know this works in Linux Mint and Ubuntu 14.04, so I don't know why people are appending and prepedning things like clear && echo -ne "\033c. printf "\ec" has always worked for me.

Additionally, in my .bashrc I have a binding like this:

bind -x '"\C-t": printf "\ec"';

Now I press ctrlt all the time.

  • Do you know how could a mapping be created using the Windows key ? This snippet is really great, works exactly like Command-K on mac. Thank you. – Niloct Jan 12 '17 at 15:47
  • @Niloct you can see if the terminal supports it with xev (just type xev in a terminal inside an x-session). From what I could tell, urxvt doesn't support it; while I didn't try in a tty, I am confident it would not be supported. I also doubt xterm or gnome-terminal would support this. It's tricky with ansi-escapes. Cheers and sorry for late reply. – dylnmc Feb 3 '17 at 17:34
  • Alright @dylnmc, I appreciate it. Thanks for the comment. – Niloct Feb 3 '17 at 18:19

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.

I have found the following to be quite successful with Kubuntu:

alias clc="echo -en '\033c\033[3J'"

You can use cls to keep with the Windows tradition, use the Matlab version clc, or one of your own. Good luck!

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).

Another alternative to the @Hibou57 answer:

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

OR

# 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.

  • Slight correction: it prints the ^[ character (ESC) followed by the c character, not just the ^[ character alone. Combined, these amount to the "RIS" terminal code, which causes a reset. More info: xfree86.org/4.8.0/ctlseqs.html – jwd Oct 11 '17 at 15:29

If you're using yakuake or Konsole, try Ctrl+Shift+K.

Source: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=309008

protected by heemayl Dec 21 '15 at 9:18

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