Macs come with screen natively installed, but I seem to have a problem with mine. After running screen and creating another window (ctrl+a, c), the split command (ctrl+a, |) won't do anything. Normally it's suppose to split the terminal vertically into two separate windows (typically used to edit and test in one terminal window).

Any suggestions?

2 Answers 2


I think what you want is to ctrla,shifts (split first), and then ctrla,tab to switch to the new region. Now you can ctrla,c to create a new shell in that new region.

If you want vertical split, be sure to check the version of screen that you're running. According to this Unix SE answer, vertical split is NOT a default feature and needs to be patched in.

The TL;DR of it is: you'll need to download and compile a new screen command with the appropriate patch (or at least a newer version if the patch has been merged into the main project).

  • This works wonderfully, but I really want to split vertically.
    – skamazin
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 14:14
  • Updated the answer, though I think it may disappoint you :-/
    – webmarc
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 14:19
  • Do you know if brew has the appropriate version? Also, how should I go about uninstalling this terminal feature?
    – skamazin
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 14:28
  • I don't know off the top of my head if the brew version will help. Not sure what you mean about "uninstalling this terminal feature," can you expand?
    – webmarc
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 14:30
  • 1
    Ah gotcha. No need to uninstall, just make sure that the brew path for executables /usr/local/bin comes before /usr/bin in your PATH environment variable; this will be set in one or more of .profile .bashrc .bash_profile in your home directory.
    – webmarc
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 14:43

I've searched for quite a while, it turns out the Mac distro of GNU screen did not incorporate the vertial split function. You need to either patch it by yourself or wait until it is ported. (as of v4.0.6)

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