split terminal windows mac iterm2

One of my complaints with the default Mac OS X Terminal app is that you can’t split the Terminal screen, instead you have to open two windows. Well, this must have annoyed some other developers too because iTerm2 aims to address this problem. iTerm2 is a fork of the original iTerm project for Mac OS X that has some cool features that the default Mac Terminal doesn’t, but the ability to split Terminal windows both horizontally or vertically is the main reason I use the app.

Split Terminal Panes in Mac OS X
Splitting the iTerm2 Terminal windows is really easy, once you’re in the app just hit Command+D to split the window vertically, or Command+Shift+D to split the window horizontally. You can also combine the two to get tiled terminal windows, and then enter full-screen mode to get the full command line experience. I still use the Mac OS X GUI for a bunch of tasks so I just maximized my split Terminals as you can see in the screenshot above, then I adjusted the preferences so that the terminal focus follows my mouse rather a mouse click.

Functionally Alpha with a Few Quirks
iTerm2 is currently in alpha, but it works well and development is actively aiming to achieve “the best command line experience under Mac OS X.” There are a few odd display related bugs when you split screens horizontally and have a transparent background enabled, but usually just clearing the terminal works the display kinks out. It’s also worth mentioning that the iTerm2 app is currently named iTerm, so if you have the older iTerm installed on your Mac you may want to rename this one before tossing it in your Applications directory.

Download iTerm2
If you spend a fair amount of time in Mac OS X command line, I’d recommend checking out iTerm2. Be sure to grab the latest svn build if you want split pane support.

You can download iTerm2 for free from Google Code or poke around in it’s source if you’re into that sort of thing.


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