I have found way to open new tab in iTerm:

    osascript -e 'tell application "iTerm" to activate' -e 'tell application "System Events" to tell process "iTerm" to keystroke "t" using command down'

And I want to execute some commands in new tab. Let it be simple command pwd. How to do it?

If I run ...

newtabi && pwd

The new tab is opened as expected, but pwd command is executed not in new tab but in old one, where I typed newtabi && pwd

I use zsh. My os is OS X 10.8.5

  • That question is 8 years old and the accepted answer is far from ideal. I still hope to see passing some arguments to open -a iTerm to run a command.
    – sorin
    Oct 28, 2021 at 9:58

5 Answers 5


Use tell session -1 of current terminal to write text "pwd":

activate application "iTerm"
tell application "System Events" to keystroke "t" using command down
tell application "iTerm" to tell session -1 of current terminal to write text "pwd"
  • 1
    if opened more than one iTerms, it opens new tab in correct iTerm instance, but writes pwd in last tab of first instance of iTerm Nov 27, 2013 at 15:16
  • 2
    @efr You're right. I edited the answer to change terminal 1 to current terminal. Now it should run the command in the current window instead of the window that was opened first.
    – Lri
    Nov 27, 2013 at 15:40
  • 2
    This did not work on mac 10.11.6 with iTerm2. In script editor, "Unexpected end of line but found identifier" and "terminal" is highlighted Sep 5, 2017 at 15:50
  • 1
    This no longer works on macOS 10.14: execution error: System Events got an error: osascript is not allowed to send keystrokes. (1002) Feb 3, 2019 at 22:48
  • @KernelSanders You need to allow iterm to access System event by checking iTerm in MacOS Settings -> Security -> Accessibility
    – ReaperSoon
    Aug 12, 2020 at 8:01
osascript \
-e 'tell application "iTerm" to activate' \
-e 'tell application "System Events" to tell process "iTerm" to keystroke "t" using command down' \
-e 'tell application "System Events" to tell process "iTerm" to keystroke "ls"' \
-e 'tell application "System Events" to tell process "iTerm" to key code 52'
  • I'm getting 148:156: syntax error: Expected end of line but found identifier. (-2741) on this. Apr 12, 2019 at 15:32
  • what is key code 52 supposed to do?
    – Mausy5043
    Aug 29, 2021 at 7:59

As of at least macos Mojave, iTerm 3.2.8, if you run:

$ open -a iTerm .

It will add it as a tab to the current window.

  • 4
    can you then execute commands in the new terminal with this?
    – sf8193
    Sep 11, 2020 at 23:29
  • worked for me for iTerm with zsh Nov 24, 2020 at 11:24
  • Any ways to also pass the command to execute?
    – sorin
    Oct 28, 2021 at 9:59
  • @sorin Yes, if you pass a path to a binary as the final argument (instead of . in the answer), it will execute it (after a confirmation prompt from iTerm)
    – ultrafez
    Nov 15, 2021 at 18:10

I couldn't get the accepted answer to work. I also wanted to pass multiple commands. This is what I came up with.

  osascript \
    -e 'tell application "iTerm2" to tell current window to set newWindow to (create tab with default profile)'\
    -e "tell application \"iTerm2\" to tell current session of newWindow to write text \"${@}\""

Example usage

newtabi pwd
newtabi 'cd ~/ && pwd'
newtabi 'echo \"Hello New Tab\"'

For more complex actions, I would recommend breaking up the commands.


alias project="cd ${code_folder}/my-project/foo && yarn run start"

Then, newtabi project

  • Can you please tell me how I can pass my current pwd to make the command look like: `newtabi '$PWD/foo && yarn run start'?
    – Raj
    Oct 18, 2019 at 19:39
  • 1
    @Raj, good question. I personally break up the commands into more consumable aliases and/or functions. I added another example. Hope it helps! Oct 31, 2019 at 16:18
  • 1
    @Raj newtabi "$(pwd)/foo && yarn run start"
    – darronz
    May 27, 2020 at 9:40

ttab is a macOS and Linux CLI for opening a new terminal tab/window, optionally with a command to execute and/or display settings

From its samples:

# Open a new tab, execute a command, wait for a keypress, and exit.
ttab 'ls "$HOME/Library/Application Support"; echo Press a key to exit.; read -rsn 1; exit'

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .