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When we use clear command or Ctrl+L in terminal, it clears terminal but we can still scroll back to view the last used commands. Is there a way to completely clear the terminal?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 36 down vote accepted

You can use tput reset.

Besides reset and tput reset you can use following shell script.

echo -e \\033c

This sends control characters Esc-C to the console which resets the terminal.

Google Keywords: Linux Console Control Sequences

man console_codes says:

The sequence ESC c causes a terminal reset, which is what you want if the screen is all garbled. The oft-advised "echo ^V^O" will only make G0 current, but there is no guarantee that G0 points at table a). In some distributions there is a program reset(1) that just does "echo ^[c". If your terminfo entry for the console is correct (and has an entry rs1=\Ec), then "tput reset" will also work.

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+1 from me, Sachin :-) – Nikhil Mulley Jan 7 '12 at 17:38

You can use the reset command, that will reset the terminal settings.

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I know you're on a gnome terminal, but I thought I'd answer with a tip for others who might be (like me) on a Mac:

If you're using or then Control+L will scroll up so the terminal looks blank, but Cmd+K will actually reset the terminal / clear scroll-back.

Or, if you're able to set keyboard preferences for your terminal you may be able to assign something like Ctrl+K to input echo -e \\033c as was mentioned above.

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Anthon's answer works in KDE Konsole, but not urxvt. In urxvt, I've been using reset for a few years to clear the scrollback (along with all the other things it does), and wasn't satisfied that it didn't work in Konsole. So now for Linux I have a new alias:

alias allclear='clear; echo -e "\033c\e[3J"'

But it doesn't work on OS X.

tput reset doesn't work in any context AFAICT.

In KDE Konsole, ctrl-shift-k clears the scrollback (including the current shell prompt, so it's completely empty). In iTerm or Apple's terminal on OS X, cmd-shift-k also clears scrollback. To add this feature to urxvt, add this to ~/.Xresources:

urxvt*keysym.C-S-K: command:\033c
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I found this on the net years ago, and works well for me. It completely clears the terminal with no scroll history.

echo -e "\e[3J"
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clear; history -c

will get the job done.

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I'm pretty sure he didn't mean "you can press up to get old commands"; he meant you can scroll up in the terminal to see what it used to display, even after running clear – Michael Mrozek Feb 26 '13 at 20:41

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