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This page shows off some of the features of MacTerm that are in progress.  Check back periodically to see new stuff!

You can just jump to the screenshots gallery at the end, if you like.

If you want even more detail than this, check out the change log for the daily builds, which sums up pretty much everything that has ever happened since 3.0!  (Using the new “Check for Updates…” command in MacTerm will take you to that change log automatically.)

MacTerm is not finished.  It is available for testing, and is updated very frequently in the form of daily builds.  If you try it, please help by reporting problems, or sending comments (good or bad) to the author, especially if you use older Mac OS X versions.

MacTerm may be just for you:

And there is a lot more:

MacTerm is Free Software Under the GPL

MacTerm is free software; you are welcome to change it and/or distribute copies under certain conditions.  There is absolutely no warranty for MacTerm.  See the GNU General Public License (as published by the Free Software Foundation) for details.

You can access the source code for this project from the Developers page.

Just For You

For Administrators

MacTerm is easy to deploy and support for multiple users, and is a powerful tool for administrative tasks…

Default Configuration
When MacTerm first runs, it now sets user default preferences from a file in its application bundle.  You can simplify support if you customize settings prior to deployment.  For example, a university could change the “factory default” session host to a campus login server, so that students don’t have to be instructed on how to set this up themselves.
Low-Level Customizations
MacTerm now makes full use of the Mac OS X preferences model; the command-line defaults tool is able to access all settings, so massive changes can be automated.  Every possible setting is documented in MacTerm Help.  There is also a small and evolving Python API that provides unprecedented access to the internals of the program.
Files and URLs
A significant number of URL and file types can be directly handled by MacTerm, including Apple ".command" files and the "x-man-page" extension.  And if you feel like writing some Python code, you can make MacTerm handle any file type or URL that you want!
Super Terminal
MacTerm is now a complete terminal for local commands or remote access, and is an excellent tool for administrators to use.  It has extremely rare features, such as dynamic search.  It even has Unix-like options for those who prefer, for instance, focus-follows-mouse and copy-on-select kinds of behaviors.  See the full terminal description on this page.

For Students and Researchers

MacTerm can run many popular Unix programs and connect to different kinds of servers…

Server Support
Connecting to campus is easy.  MacTerm provides simpler access to the Mac’s own tools for telnet, secure shell (SSH), and FTP. Bonjour is supported, for finding local servers  And newer technologies such as IPv6 also work.
Application Support
MacTerm can run any Unix program on your local Mac, and also properly render what it sees from remote programs.  Whether you have to read E-mail with pine (or even print!), do text editing with vim or emacs, or browse the web with lynx, MacTerm is the only tool you need.  It can even be configured to display special characters (using Unicode UTF-8 by default).  Note that MacTerm must be configured as a VT102 terminal to allow printing.
Vector Graphics
MacTerm can render both TEK 4014 and TEK 4105 vector graphics (programs like gnuplot may show charts in this format, among others).  Each display renders with very high quality, far beyond what a TEK machine would have typically produced.  Drawings can be printed, or copied to the Clipboard; applications that support PDF data can use the copied drawing at any size without degradation! [Screenshots]

For Gamers

Few terminals come close to MacTerm’s accuracy when it comes to playing games on a BBS (bulletin-board system)…

CP-437 (DOS Character Set)
Games often assume they are running on DOS, and make use of colors and graphics that most terminals do not display correctly.  But if you set MacTerm’s translation type to “Latin-US (DOS)”, you will see games exactly as they were meant to be seen!  Special graphics are automatically handled by MacTerm directly, without relying on font support.  [Screenshots]
Preferences Profiles
MacTerm has a very useful preferences interface that lets you break down settings into groups.  So even though game servers do not typically have the same requirements as other things (such as Unix tools), you can still handle both with MacTerm very easily.  Gaming usually requires its own Terminal and Translation profiles, so that you can have an 80-by-25 PC display size with color, and DOS graphics.  And with a Session profile, you can have the right Terminal and Translation settings automatically chosen when you connect to your BBS server.

For Programmers

MacTerm is a very powerful tool for programmers using or developing command-line tools.  But the terminal program itself can be customized in very unique ways…

The core of MacTerm is a revolutionary new scripting framework, powerful enough that key parts of MacTerm are now implemented with Python code!  You can customize the main entry point of MacTerm to override or add behaviors in a straightforward way; for example, you can use Python to redefine what a “word” is when you double-click.  The C++ interfaces exposed to Python are known as Quills; for more information, see the Quills page.
As mentioned elsewhere, low-level settings are now completely accessible with the defaults command, and are documented in MacTerm Help.
Other Developer Resources
Please start from the Developers page.


MacTerm provides a very accessible interface.

Full Keyboard Access
Since the entire user interface has been upgraded, MacTerm natively supports full keyboard access in all user interface elements by default, and will support any future assistive technologies added by Apple.
In addition to default behaviors, MacTerm provides a number of descriptions and relationships between elements to improve the experience for users of VoiceOver or a similar technology.
Speech Contextual Menu Commands
When text is selected in a terminal window, you can open a contextual menu to access a command for speaking that text.  And while speech is in progress, an additional command is available to interrupt the speech.

An Even Better Terminal

Don’t be fooled by its roots — MacTerm 4 is not just for remote access anymore!  It is a complete terminal, and a pretty remarkable one at that.  Many improvements have been made…  [Screenshots]

Unicode Foundation
The terminal is now capable of preserving incoming text perfectly: whether you copy it to the Clipboard, capture it to a file, print it, or drag and drop, any special characters will be present.  You can also use the floating command line window to input any kind of character.  (However, so far in the beta, there are limits on which Unicode characters can actually be displayed by the terminal.)  Finally, Unicode is supported for file names, preference collection names, and macros.
Terminal Search
MacTerm now has a very fast, scan-as-you-type, multi-selection Find dialog: all matches in the active terminal window (main screen and scrollback) are immediately found.  Also, the search window now remembers your recent searches and saves its state between uses.  [Screenshots]
Optional Tabbed Interface
Glue windows together if you want to, so they move at the same time.  Unlike typical tabbed interfaces, MacTerm keeps each tab in its own window.  So tabs can have different sizes, or their own custom toolbars, or even open sheets that do not block other tabs.  You can drag and drop text between tabs by hovering over them.  Finally, you can unglue any tab as the start of a new workspace of tabs.
Live Resize
One of the most overdue new features is live resize information, allowing you to pinpoint your window size (in either terminal screen dimensions or font size!) while you drag.
Key Equivalents for Window Tweaks
Commands to nudge windows in any direction, and to change the font size and screen dimensions.  Without even leaving the keyboard, you can set up your window just the way you want.
A new preference allows you to type into whichever terminal is underneath the mouse, a Unix-like behavior.
Print Screen, Print for selected text, and even terminal-initiated print (such as in pine, when you have configured a VT102 terminal), are all available.  In addition, a print preview is displayed, providing more control over the results.
Random Formats
You can choose to pick the set of colors and fonts for new windows randomly, based on whatever Format Favorites you have defined.  (This is currently a low-level property list setting.)
Use Any Font
You can now make a terminal use any font that you want.  MacTerm even offers settings such as Character Width, so you can make unusual fonts look good in a terminal grid by squishing or expanding the space between letters.
In addition to the regular background, terminals can now have a border whose color is set separately.
Cool Blinking
When the text or cursor is supposed to blink, a new quadratic-delay pulse effect creates a smooth and beautiful animation.  You can still change the blinking colors to anything you want.
Intelligent Paste
If the Clipboard contains more than one line (often a disastrous thing to dump into a Unix shell), using Paste will now display options: for example, joining the lines together before continuing with the Paste.
Smart Bell
MacTerm automatically suppresses terminal bells that occur in rapid succession.  So instead of waiting for your terminal to finish beeping 100 times after a typo, you can just get back to work!
Custom Terminal Bell Sounds
Although MacTerm has always allowed arbitrary bell sounds through a magic filename, now there is a proper user interface for choosing any sound in your library.
Floating Command Line Improvements
Now uses a much improved text interface, with many standard key equivalents.  Command history is now available via a pop-up menu or the down-arrow key.
Floating Key Palette Improvements
With a new, refined look, full keyboard access, and help tags that show extra information (such as control key functions), keypads are easier than ever to use.


Let MacTerm monitor sessions for you, automatically flagging or responding to interesting events!

Activity Notification
For windows that sit idle for long periods, you can have MacTerm tell you when new text appears.
Idle Notification
For windows that are really “noisy”, MacTerm can tell you when they seem to have finally settled down.
For sessions that may automatically terminate after long periods of inactivity, this allows you to send text to them periodically so they stay “alive”.
Support For Growl
“Session active”, “Session idle”, “Session ended”, “Session failed” and “Script error” notifications are sent through Growl when it is available, allowing you to customize the appearance and behavior of pop-up windows.

Revamped Macros

Macros are short-cuts that allow you to run complex tasks using a simple key combination.  MacTerm makes these more powerful than ever before…  [Screenshots]

Macros are no longer limited to sending text: you can also have the text interpreted as a URL (like a bookmark), or as a command (like a shell).  There is also now a verbatim option, for when escape sequences get in your way.
More Keyboard Equivalents
Macros can now be activated by any character key, or by one of over two dozen others, such as arrow keys, page keys, and function keys.  Plus, you can require any combination of modifier keys (command, control, option, shift).
New Modeless Editor
Now part of the Preferences window, the editor lets you immediately modify macros.
More Escape Sequences
MacTerm now supports higher ASCII codes with “\1nn” sequences, in addition to “\0nn” and previous sequences.
Every macro can have a custom name, to see at a glance what it does.
Macros Menu
Each macro’s custom name and key equivalent is now displayed in the new Macros menu, and macros can be invoked by selecting commands from that menu.  You can also use this menu for fast switching, to choose from your macro sets.

Fully Upgraded Preferences System

Both the back-end and front-end to preferences are overhauled in MacTerm.

New Look
MacTerm now uses a window style that is more consistent with the rest of Mac OS X.
Workspace Favorites
Spawn multiple windows at once!  See Session Management for more.
Translation Favorites
Translation tables are back, along with an interface for making your own character mappings.
Format Favorites
Now fonts and colors are on their own, free of those cryptic terminal settings!
Live Collection Editing
Now, when you select Workspaces, Sessions, Macros, Translations, Terminals or Formats, a drawer appears with all of your saved collections.  Just click a collection and edit it live in the Preferences window!  Manage the list of collections directly from the drawer.
Mac OS X Preferences Format
No more custom file formats!  MacTerm uses the same type of preferences database as other Mac OS X applications, and automatically runs a converter application to import settings from older versions.  With this change, you can now use the command-line defaults program to access MacTerm settings.  All low-level settings are documented in MacTerm Help.

Session Management

It is now easier than ever to have multiple windows open.

This new type of preferences collection allows you to spawn multiple windows at the same time, directly from the File menu.  You can specify exactly where the windows appear, and which Session collection they use (each of which are associated with Terminal, Translation and Format collections).  In addition, the Default workspace now determines what happens at startup time, so you can completely customize the startup sequence.
Session Info
A single window that allows you to manage every session.  Customize completely: toolbar contents, column layout, sort order, window size, position and visibility are all remembered.  At a glance, see the running status, window title, command line, device name, and creation time for every session.  Double-click an item to activate its window.  Click on a window title to rename that window.
Session Duplication
The Duplicate Session command automatically opens a new session that uses the same command as the active session.
Session Restart
The Restart Session command is now available if you set the preference to leave windows open after they exit.  This allows you to instantly rerun the original command in the same window, saving all of your scrollback history.