I was curious if there is a way to clear the terminal buffer/output through some keyboard shortcut. I am using Ubuntu. I am aware that

Ctrl + L

clears the terminal, but you can still scroll back to see the old text. I am looking for something similar to what


command does. On Mac

apple + k

seems to do the trick.

  • You can type "clear". – Darren Feb 22 '17 at 19:14

In gnome terminal, you can edit the keyboard shortcuts with Edit -> Reset Shortcuts... You can then map the command "Reset and Clear", which seems to do what you're looking for.

Alternatively, you can limit the scrollback history to a small number (say 0) and Ctrl+L will be closer to what you are looking for.

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  • 2
    This may have changed in newer versions of gnome and the gnome terminal. For me it's Edit -> Preferences -> Shortcuts (I'm using GNOME Terminal v3.16.2) – user486673 Aug 21 '15 at 13:43
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    "Reset and Clear" was what I was looking for, except that it failed to preserve the prompt. Following immediately with Ctrl+L restores the prompt. So with Reset and Clear bound to Ctrl+K, I can hit Ctrl+K, Ctrl+L to clear the scrollback and leave me with a ready prompt. – Trevor Dixon Jun 7 '17 at 11:45
  • CTRL+u clears from cursor to beginning of line

  • CTRL+k clears from cursor to end of line

  • CTRL+d clears one character to the right of the cursor

  • Esc+Backspace clears one word to the left of the cursor

  • Esc+d clears one word to the right of the cursor

  • Alt+left/right jumps to the beginning of the previous/next word

To clear the entire screen add the following alias to your ~/.bashrc file:

alias cls="echo -ne '\033c'"

Now, in a new terminal typing cls will clear everything including the scroll buffer. It works much faster than reset since it does not reset anything.

In fact reset is only needed when you want to fix a broken terminal, e.g. after running cat on a binary file.

If you are on OSX, then Command ()+k will clear the terminal (and the chrome devtools console 😉).

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  • And how would I add a shortcut to do this using without typing out cls? – FloatingRock Jul 5 '14 at 6:01
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    @FloatingRock: this would depend on your desktop environment and possibly your terminal, if the terminal has no way of attaching a command to a shortcut, then your only chance is to set a system-global shortcut which is DE-dependent. For example, in XFCE, that would be Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts, don't remember for other shells. – ccpizza Jul 6 '14 at 15:19
  • I've been looking for something like this for months.. – aggregate1166877 Dec 2 '14 at 14:36

Ctrl+L redraws the terminal; it doesn't clear it. If you're in a full-screen app like less or vim, the Ctrl-L command is what you use to redraw a corrupted screen. In vim with color syntax highlighting, for example, you can use ctrl_l to update the colors if you scroll a long distance and vim gets confused by matching quotes or brackets or similar.

Just for reference if someone searches and finds this... If you need to clear the scroll-back buffer, either set your buffer to 0 lines or close the window and reopen it. Or "while true; do print; done" and then interrupt with ctrl+c when you've output enough lines to blow the buffer. The scroll buffer is application dependent, so while the given solution works for Gnome terminal, it won't work for really any other terminal device.

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  • This "blow the buffer" wont work for unlimited scrollback mode. – Ruslan Oct 8 '18 at 14:40
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    @Ruslan I want one of these infinite memory machines. ;) – dannysauer Oct 9 '18 at 16:22

I use Konsole. I've always used Ctrl+Shift+X in the past to clear everything, including the scrollback. There is a new and better way now: Ctrl+Shift+K and Googling "konsole keyboard shortcuts clear history" doesn't get you there very easily, but it gets you here.

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In Ubuntu 18.4 Ctrl+Alt+ L will do the trick.

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If you are on Ubuntu, open your terminal and go to Preferences - Shortcuts. There, find "Reset and Clear" option. Click that and type your shortcut as what you want. This works on my Ubuntu 20.04.

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