I want to know if there is any way to make my script stop until the user hits the Enter key, but without using the command read, just by the options of stty.

I was wondering a code for this and got some search; so I found a code that needs "space" to continue and changed the variable hold from empty space to \n, but no success.

That's how it looks like:

function _enter-to-continue() {
    local hold='\n'        # this solution i tried, but without success

    printf "Press 'ENTER' to continue or 'ESC' to cancel... "
    local original_tty_state=$(stty -g)
    trap "stty $original_tty_state; exit 0" 2
    stty intr \033

    stty raw isig noflsh echo icrnl

    until [ -z "${hold#$in}" ]; do
        in=$(dd bs=1 count=1 </dev/tty 2>/dev/null)

    stty "$original_tty_state"
  • 11
    Umm... What's the reasoning around not using read? Also, what shell are you writing for, bash? A literal newline in bash could be written $'\n'.
    – Kusalananda
    Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 10:01
  • 1) I was searching for a method that does not allows the writing of any text, avoiding the 'read -s -p "Press ENTER..." var' workaround, and being validated just with the exclusive usage of a specified key, in this case ENTER. 2) Yes: coding for bash. Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 9:49

1 Answer 1


I must admin that I did not read the question thoroughly enough. One of the reasons is that your intention is not related to terminal settings at all, with the exception of icrnl which is the default setting anyway.

[ -z "${hold#$in}" ] is a rather strange way to express [ "$in" = ' ' ] or [ "$hold" = "$in" ]. The problem or your code is that $(cmd) strips off a trailing newline. You are waiting for just a newline... So the wanted character never arrives at the testing code. You need

in=$(dd bs=1 count=1 </dev/tty 2>/dev/null; echo x)

The other problem is local hold='\n'. That doesn't work, this is not C. You need

# or

Waiting for Enter without read

head -n 1 >/dev/null

This could replace the whole until loop But would be limited to newline.

  • Please, give me more details: where I would put that line? Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 9:50
  • @RegisBarbosa I changed my answer. Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 14:24
  • Great solution with head! Thank you!
    – dbzix
    Commented Jun 3, 2022 at 15:31

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