Is there some way of saving all the terminal output to a file with a command?

  • I'm not talking about redirection command > file.txt
  • Not the history history > file.txt, I need the full terminal text
  • Not with hotkeys !

Something like terminal_text > file.txt


You can use script. It will basically save everything printed on the terminal in that script session.

From man script:

script makes a typescript of everything printed on your terminal. 
It is useful for students who need a hardcopy record of an 
interactive session as proof of an assignment, as the typescript file 
can be printed out later with lpr(1).

You can start a script session by just typing script in the terminal, all the subsequent commands and their outputs will all be saved in a file named typescript in the current directory. You can save the result to a different file too by just starting script like:

script output.txt

To logout of the script session (stop saving the contents), just type exit.

Here is an example:

$ script output.txt
Script started, file is output.txt

$ ls
output.txt  testfile.txt  foo.txt

$ exit
Script done, file is output.txt

Now if I read the file:

$ cat output.txt

Script started on Mon 20 Apr 2015 08:00:14 AM BDT
$ ls
output.txt  testfile.txt  foo.txt
$ exit

Script done on Mon 20 Apr 2015 08:00:21 AM BDT

script also has many options e.g. running quietly -q (--quiet) without showing/saving program messages, it can also run a specific command -c (--command) rather than a session, it also has many other options. Check man script to get more ideas.

  • 1
    Can it be invoked after the fact? (i.e. At the end of a session) Or does it have to be invoked before the content you want logged? – voices May 15 '16 at 16:02
  • @tjt263 It has to be invoked before the contents you want to be saved.. – heemayl May 15 '16 at 16:07
  • 5
    Damn. That's a shame. I don't usually know I want it until afterwards. – voices May 15 '16 at 17:09
  • 2
    To export it retroactively, try Terminal menu -> Shell -> Export text as, like here: mactricksandtips.com/2013/04/save-terminals-text-output.html – Magne Sep 22 '17 at 11:23
  • 1
    @Magne you should note in your comment that it is specific to the terminal utility in Mac. gnome-terminal, for one, does not have that menu, so we should assume that other linux terminal windows won't have it either. – maxwell Apr 15 '20 at 15:03

I too faced the same problem and after some search came up with this solution:

Add to your .bash_aliases this:

# Execute "script" command just once
    # if there's no SCRIPT_LOG_FILE exported yet
    if [ -z "$SCRIPT_LOG_FILE" ]; then
        # make folder paths
        logdirraw=raw/$(date +%F)
        logfile=$logdir/$(date +%F_%T).$$.rawlog

        # if no folder exist - make one
        if [ ! -d $logdir ]; then
            mkdir -p $logdir

        export SCRIPT_LOG_FILE=$logfile
        export SCRIPT_LOG_PARENT_FOLDER=$logdirparent

        # quiet output if no args are passed
        if [ ! -z "$1" ]; then
            script -f $logfile
            script -f -q $logfile


# Start logging into new file
alias startnewlog='unset SCRIPT_LOG_FILE && smart_script -v'

# Manually saves current log file: $ savelog logname
    # make folder path
    # if no folder exists - make one
    if [ ! -d $manualdir ]; then
        mkdir -p $manualdir
    # make log name
    # add user logname if passed as argument
    if [ ! -z $1 ]; then
    # make filepaths
    # make .rawlog readable and save it to .txt file
    cat $SCRIPT_LOG_FILE | perl -pe 's/\e([^\[\]]|\[.*?[a-zA-Z]|\].*?\a)//g' | col -b > $txtfile
    # copy corresponding .rawfile
    cp $SCRIPT_LOG_FILE $rawfile
    printf 'Saved logs:\n    '$txtfile'\n    '$rawfile'\n'

And to the end of your .bashrc file add this:


After you've done this, "script" command will be executed once in every terminal session, logging everything to ~/Terminal_typescripts/raw.

If you want, you can save current session log after the fact (in the end of the session) by typing savelog or savelog logname – this will copy current raw log to ~/Terminal_typescripts/manual and also create readable .txt log in this folder.  (If you forget to do so, raw log files will still be in their folder; you'll just have to find them.)  Also you may start recording to a new log file by typing startnewlog.

There will be a lot of junk log files, but you can clean old ones from time to time, so it's not a big problem.

(Based on https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-terminal/+question/7131 , https://askubuntu.com/a/493326/473790 )

  • Why do you need the 'exit' command after you started the logging? – Danijel Sep 5 '19 at 7:44
  • Seems like calling "script" command from the .bash_profile on Mac OSX has some strange effect on the shell. Do you know if this should work on OSX? – Danijel Sep 5 '19 at 7:58
  • @Danijel can you describe "some strange effect" you mentioned? This would help others to help you. – Stéphane Gourichon Nov 22 '19 at 16:00
  • I can't remember any more :-(, sorry. – Danijel Nov 25 '19 at 8:06
  • 1
    yes, I found a great project named asciinema it solves most of the problems asciinema.org – kaki gadol Dec 27 '20 at 15:40

Disclaimer: This answer does not comply with "no hotkeys" requirement, but it may benefit many people that come here.


Hold CtrlLeft-mouse-click. "Main Options" menu shows up. Select Print-All Immediately and release. An XTerm[date] file with the terminal contents has been created in your home directory.

Without the mouse

You can create a keybinding. For example, to bind the action to CtrlShifty, add

XTerm*vt100.Translations: #override\
    Ctrl Shift <Key> y: print-immediate()

to your ~/.Xresources file and issue

xrdb ~/.Xresources

Open a new terminal, press CtrlShifty and the dump file should be in the home directory.

Setting the path

printFileImmediate sets the prefix of the dumped file. Useful to specify the path of the dumped file. For example, to dump /home/user/dumps/xt[date] files,

XTerm*printFileImmediate: /home/user/dumps/xt

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