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Is there a way of opening a new terminal from the command line, and running a command on that new terminal (on a Mac)?

e.g., Something like:

Terminal -e ls

where ls is run in the new terminal.

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I'm trying to figure out how to run a ruby on rails server in a new terminal, using 1 command. – zlog Aug 17 '10 at 8:54
That sounds reasonable -- I take it you want the stdout to appear in the opened terminal. In that case, yes, you want to write a shell script that does the work you want, and then change its extension to .command, as below. – Norman Gray Aug 19 '10 at 14:00
up vote 10 down vote accepted
osascript -e 'tell app "Terminal"
    do script "echo hello"
end tell'

This opens a new terminal and executes the command "echo hello" inside it.

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I'm sure this obvious to an applescript expert but how about an example that launches any program? Basically like I can do 'xterm -e somecomnand' – gman Aug 15 '12 at 2:30
This can be slightly shorter: osascript -e 'tell app "Terminal" to do script "echo hello"' – joemaller May 9 '13 at 4:03

You can do it in a roundabout way:

% cat /tmp/hello.command
#! /bin/sh -
say hello
% chmod +x /tmp/hello.command
% open /tmp/hello.command

Shell scripts which have the extension .command and which are executable, can be double-clicked on to run inside a new Terminal window. The command open, as you probably know, is equivalent to double-clicking on a Finder object, so this procedure ends up running the commands in the script within a new Terminal window.

Slightly twisted, but it does appear to work. I feel sure there must be a more direct route to this (what is it you're actually trying to do?), but it escapes me right now.

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I tried this and a new terminal opens, but then I get: ~$ /Users/username/Work/Dev/scripts/hello.command ; exit; logout [Process completed] This is my hello.command: scripts$ cat hello.command #! /bin/sh - say hello – zlog Aug 17 '10 at 8:50
Ack, that didn't format out properly, but I think you get the idea. – zlog Aug 17 '10 at 8:51
@zlog: but it did say 'hello', yes? In's preferences, see the 'Settings' and the 'Shell' tab within that. You'll see a menu 'When the shell exits:'. I think the default is 'Don't close the window', and that's what you're seeing. If you change this to 'Close if the shell exited cleanly', the terminal window should disappear once the shell script finishes. – Norman Gray Aug 19 '10 at 9:32
#!/usr/bin/env ruby1.9

require 'shellwords'
require 'appscript'

class Terminal
  include Appscript
  attr_reader :terminal, :current_window
  def initialize
    @terminal = app('Terminal')
    @current_window =
    yield self

  def tab(dir, command = nil)
    app('System Events').application_processes[''].keystroke('t', :using => :command_down)
    cd_and_run dir, command

  def cd_and_run(dir, command = nil)
    run "clear; cd #{dir.shellescape}"
    run command

  def run(command)
    command = command.shelljoin if command.is_a?(Array)
    if command && !command.empty?
      terminal.do_script(command, :in => current_window.tabs.last)
end do |t| Dir.pwd, ARGV.length == 1 ? ARGV.first : ARGV

You need ruby 1.9 or you will need to add line require 'rubygems' before others requires and don't forget to install gem rb-appscript.

I named this script dt (dup tab), so I can just run dt to open tab in same folder or dt ls to also run there ls command.

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I would do this with AppleScript. You can streamline it by using the osascript command. Your script would be something like:

tell application "Terminal"
  tell application "System Events"
    keystroke "t" using {command down}
  end tell
end tell

If you're only going to ever access it in terminal, then you can omit all but the middle tell statement. If you want a new window instead of a new tab, replace the t keystroke with n.

I'm not an experienced enough AppleScripter to know how to get command-line arguments and then retype them in the new window, but I'm sure it's possible and not too difficult.

Also, I think this works and I'm not able to test right now, but I'm pretty sure you can start a shell script with some variant on #!/usr/bin/osascript -e and then save it as an executable however you want. Which, at least in my head, would make it possible for you to type something like $ runinnewterm ls /Applications

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This works, at least under Mountain Lion. It does initialize an interactive shell each time, although you can replace that after-the-fact by invoking it as "macterm exec your-command". Store this in bin/macterm in your home directory and chmod a+x bin/macterm:


on run argv
   tell app "Terminal" 
   set AppleScript's text item delimiters to " "
        do script argv as string
        end tell   
end run 
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