So that I could resize the window to a certain size from within Terminal.


Yes. Terminal supports escape sequences for manipulating windows, including the size and position, layering, and minimizing. Dimensions can be expressed in pixels or characters. See Xterm Control Sequences for details (search for “Window manipulation”; if you’re not familiar with the notation, “CSI” stands for “Control Sequence Introducer”, which is ESC [).

For example, this shell command will set the window to 100x50 characters:

printf '\e[8;50;100t'

Minimize the window for a few seconds, then restore it:

printf '\e[2t' && sleep 3 && printf '\e[1t'

Move the window to the top/left corner of the display:

printf '\e[3;0;0t'

Zoom the window:

printf '\e[9;1t'

Bring the window to the front (without changing keyboard focus):

printf '\e[5t'

Enabling the Control Sequences in Terminal Emulators

Some terminal emulators ignore these control sequences by default and require configuration to enable them.

To enable these in XTerm, set the following resource to true:


To enable these in iTerm2, deselect the following preference:

Preferences > Profiles > [profile] > Terminal > Disable session-initiated window resizing

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  • This is just perfect! – LopSae Apr 6 '12 at 22:34
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    From now on you are my god! – d12frosted Jan 5 '15 at 7:43
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    This doesn't seem to work on Yosemite with iterm2 – Jistanidiot May 11 '15 at 20:35
  • This works great but it seems Terminal does not accept resizings that would make the window only partially visible on the screen. I just tried printf '\e[8;100;100t' and this truncated to 79x100, just what could be fit. My problem is that I need to bypass the mouse just for this case of enlarging Terminal beyond the screen limits ... – phs Oct 3 '15 at 8:22
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    This also works with iTerm2. – TextGeek Jun 1 '17 at 19:13

You could always use AppleScript:

setwidth() { osascript -e "tell app \"Terminal\" to tell window 1
set b to bounds
set item 3 of b to (item 1 of b) + $1
set bounds to b
end"; }
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  • This only works for the currently active terminal window/tab. For this to reliably work, get the current tty device pathname and locate the terminal tab that matches. – Chris Page Dec 21 '18 at 23:53
  • See also superuser.com/a/576357 – lhf Apr 26 '19 at 11:35

Use /usr/X11/bin/resize.

resize -s 30 80 will give you 30 rows and 80 columns.

resize -s 30 0 will give you 30 rows and full columns.

resize -s 0 80 will give you full rows and 80 columns.

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    This solution is not limited to MacOS. It is terminal-based, so it should work on all terminals. I use this to resize PuTTY windows on Windows running bash shells with TERM=xterm. – DrStrangepork Dec 22 '14 at 17:44
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    This doesn't seem to work on Yosemite in iterm2. – Jistanidiot May 11 '15 at 20:35
  • This works for me with Apple Terminal but not iTerm2. However, sending the escape sequence \e[8;24;80t works with both. – TextGeek Jun 1 '17 at 19:18
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    @KrishenGreenwell Refer to the iTerm2 documentation. By default it ignores these control sequences. There’s a preference to control whether they are ignored. – Chris Page Dec 21 '18 at 23:55
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    This solution used to work, but I think, the X11 commands are gone. Maybe, they can be installed by installing X11, but I don't want to install X11 just to have the resize command. – Gabriel Apr 26 '19 at 9:48

Actually you know, moving an resizing windows with a mouse is horribly slow.

I've been using this app SizeUp for a very long time now. It basically resizes any application window by using your keyboard command.

You can do the following (my custom keyboard commands below):

  • make the window full screen (control + option + command + m)
  • move a window 1/2 screen size to the left or right (control + option + command + / )
  • move a window 1/4 screen size to any corner (control + option + shift + ///)
  • move windows between screens
  • move windows between spaces

I think this might do the trick and also help with other window management.

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  • Although useful, this doesn't address the question the questioner asked. – Andrew Ferrier Oct 25 '12 at 19:05

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