For example, I'm running tail -f someLogFile. My screen has gotten full to the point that only the last line is changing. I now want to clear the screen; but the usual Ctrl+L doesn't work, just shows me the output ^L.

4 Answers 4


Using Ctrl + L Won't work as input from keyboard is not accepted, but you can do this:

Toolbar options of Terminal > Terminal > Reset and clear

This will do the trick!

  • Ah... I'm using guake at the moment which doesn't have a menu bar. But yes this would work on the default terminal.
    – Aditya M P
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 14:37
  • Then best option will be to redirect the output i.e. use $ command > output.txt This will write all the output in file output.txt Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 14:40

For Ubuntu (16.04) :

Go to Terminal > Preferences > Shortcuts (tab)

Under Terminal Section set Shortcut key for "Reset" and "Reset and Clear", which is disabled by default.

Hope this helps!


ctrl+L unfortunately doesn't work during tail.

There are a few things you could do. If you are using the default unity terminal, you can go to Terminal > Reset and clear.

If you are not using a graphic terminal or you're using a different terminal The best thing you could do is run the log into a text file using

tail -f /foo/bar > ~/output.txt

then you can view it using a text editor. That would let you scroll the file manually.


This will vary depending on what terminal client you are using.

Alt+F8 cleared the screen in my cygwin terminal (or right-click and choose "clear" if you are running from Windows).

PuTTY and other terminals probably have similar behavior.

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