Aaron Brown (arundelo) wrote,
Aaron Brown

GNU Screen cheat-sheet

I created this account so I could see some people's friends-only posts, but I might as well post something of my own.

If you use console-mode unix programs and would like to

  • leave stuff running when you log out of a machine and have it still be running when you log back in,
  • or switch between multiple programs without using Ctrl-Z/fg or multiple terminal windows,
  • or be able to see multiple programs at once without using multiple terminal windows,
  • or copy and paste between programs without using the mouse,

then you will like GNU Screen. At my old job I sat at a Windows 2000 machine but did most of my work on a GNU/Linux machine (in a closet). Every day I logged into my desktop machine, logged into the closet machine via PuTTY, and ran screen -D -R, which brought up all of the Linux stuff I had left running the day before. Here's a cheat sheet I came up with to learn screen's keystrokes:

GNU screen usage

  This is a summary of some common command-line options and
  keystrokes for use in the terminal multiplexer GNU screen.
  For more details, see screen's man page.  All commands
  (except in copy/scrollback mode or command-line mode)
  start with the command character, which is assumed here to
  be the default Ctrl+A (notated here as "C-a").

Command-line options

  screen    When called from inside a screen session (on the
            computer that that screen session is running
            on):  Open up a new window with a command shell
            in it.  When called from outside a screen
            session:  Start a new screen session.

  screen -D -R
            Reattach a detached screen session.

  screen -t Fooing foo bar baz
            Create a new window, run the command "foo" with
            arguments "bar" and "baz" in it, and title it

  screen -e^Oo
            Start a new screen session with a command
            character of "C-o" (and a literal Ctrl+O
            sendable as "C-o" followed by "o").  This is
            useful when you have a screen session running on
            computer foo, inside which you are sshed into
            computer bar, and you want to start a screen
            session on computer bar with a different command

Basic command-character commands

  C-a ?     Help.

  C-a a     Send the command character itself ("C-a") to the
            program running in the current window.

  C-a "     Present a list of all windows for selection.
            Use the arrow or number keys (or vi- or
            Emacs-style cursor keys) to highlight a window
            and press <Enter> to switch to it.

  C-a 0     Switch to window number 0 (works with 0-9).

  C-a C-a   Toggle to the window displayed previously.  (If
            you're using another command character,
            substitute it for both these "C-a"s.)

  C-a A     Change the current window's title.

  C-a c     Create a new window with a shell and switch to
            that window.

  C-a <Esc> Enter copy/scrollback mode.  (See
            "Copy/scrollback mode" section below.)

  C-a ]     Send the contents of the paste buffer to the
            program running in the current window.  (See
            "Copy/scrollback mode" section below.)

  C-a t     Show time, date, hostname, and some other stuff.

  C-a @     Do nothing.  (Useful when you hit "C-a" by

  C-a :     Enter command line mode.  Examples:
            - "C-a :number 7" changes the window number of
              the current window to 7.
            - "C-a :escape ^Oo" sets the command character
              to Ctrl+O.
            - "C-a :hardstatus alwayslastline" makes status
              show up on the last line rather than the
              terminal title bar.
            See the man page for more details.

  C-a C-z   Suspend screen.  (You will be back at the shell
            you started screen from.)

  C-a d     Detach screen.  (Do this before you log out --
            you will be back at the shell you started screen

Copy/scrollback mode

  h,j,k,l   Move cursor left, down, up, right (as in vi).
            Regular arrow keys also work.

  C-b       Page up (<PageUp> key also works).

  C-f       Page down (<PageDown> key also works).

  <Space>   Set mark.  When the second mark is set, the text
            between the two marks will be put into screen's
            paste buffer and copy/scrollback mode will be

  ^         Move to first nonwhitespace character on current

  $         Move to last nonwhitespace character on current

  0         Move to leftmost column.

  c         Set the left margin for block-mode copying.

  C         Set the right margin for block-mode copying.

  x         Exchange the first mark with the current cursor
            position.  This is good for moving an already
            set mark.

  <Esc>     Exit copy/scrollback mode.  (Any key that
            doesn't have another meaning will do this.)


  Regions allow looking at two or more screen windows at the
  same time.

  C-a S     Split the current region into two new ones.
            (The blank window will be displayed in the new
            region until you use one of the window selection

  C-a <Tab> Switch focus to the next region.

  C-a Q     Delete all regions but the current one.  (This
            does not destroy any windows.)
Tags: turing machines

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