Time ago I've discovered a simple command line to turn the terminal window in a blackboard for just to take temporary notes. Talking about blackboard I doesn't mean nothing graphic, just alpha-numeric input. I don't remember that command anyway and hard googling didn't help me. Any help?

  • 1
    You mean graphical notes? Or do you wish them in a terminal? Sep 26, 2015 at 18:37
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    What do you mean by blackboard? Do you expect to draw arbitrary shapes on it? Please edit your question and describe what you need in more detail.
    – terdon
    Sep 26, 2015 at 18:39
  • @burian.vlastimil No graphic just terminal, in a passive no-command-intercept mode.
    – Symb932
    Sep 26, 2015 at 18:40
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    Would nano suffice? Sep 26, 2015 at 18:42
  • @burian.vlastimil I don't want open any text editor, just cttrl-d to exit edit mode without salving/not-salving files and so concerns.
    – Symb932
    Sep 26, 2015 at 18:49

3 Answers 3


Maybe nano? That's a text editor, so you can read and write text files with it, but it can also be used for what you describe.

There is also the option of clearing the terminal and keeping it blank, making it totally empty and letting you write whatever. Something like reset; cat > /dev/null would work. Note that you can not edit your "blackboard" this way, while with nano you can.

  • I agree with you. If a user wants to save his notes, nano is the best option. I also feel like this answer should have been accepted. You mentioned the method in the accepted answer first.
    – Peschke
    Sep 26, 2015 at 20:45
  • For a site which has a forum on user interface design, we then have a silly interface that does not show (easily) which reply was first. One need to hover the "answered H hours ago" line. Silly. Hope SE improves that. Sep 26, 2015 at 21:15
  • @RolazaroAzeveires You can sort the answers by date, just below the question's comments on the right. Doesn't work to compare comments from two different answers though...
    – Thomas
    Sep 26, 2015 at 23:00
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    @Thomas: Oh... Thanks. Member for 3 years, read a few topics more than a third of those and... Looks like I am not as smart as I think (almost no one is... :-) I still say the UI is not good, while trying to be smart they eventually hide functionality. There is the shown rounded time - updated automatically! your comment changed from 1 to 2 hours in front of my eyes just now - and there is a tool-tip, down to the exact second, I eventually forgot there is still another (3rd) way to see the time. Well... thank you for the hint and forgive me (all) for going off-topic on a comment Sep 27, 2015 at 1:07

What you are probably looking for is:

reset; cat > /dev/null

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    You can also save to a file by changing the /dev/null to some other filename.
    – Kroltan
    Sep 26, 2015 at 20:50

If you do stty cbreak -echo; cat, you can move around with arrows and clear the screen by typing ESC [ 2 J, set colors by typing other ANSI escape sequences, etc. Exit with ctrl-C. You may need to run reset or stty sane afterwards, it might be worthwhile to set up a script to do this if you need it often.

  • I'm just unable to clear the screen with ESC [ 2 J. Is that suggest correct? I'm missing something?
    – Symb932
    Dec 13, 2015 at 9:51
  • @Symb932 Works fine for me, what terminal are you using? Note that there are no spaces, and ESC is meant to be a literal escape character.
    – Random832
    Dec 13, 2015 at 19:18
  • I've tried on both Guake and MATE Terminal 1.8.0.
    – Symb932
    Dec 17, 2015 at 2:20

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