Create a file using Mac Terminal

There are multiple ways in which you can create a file using the Mac Terminal, let us take a look at a few ways to do so,

1. Using touch command

If you want to create an empty file, simply use the command touch followed by the name of the file,

% touch myfile.txt

% ls -l
total 0
-rw-r--r--  1 code2care  staff  0 Sep 22 12:45 myfile.txt

As you can see the file is created in the location where you run the command.

2. Redirect Echo Content of Standard Output to a new file

You make do an echo followed by a string that you want to write to a file.

% echo "Write this to a new file" > myfile1.txt

% ls -l
total 8
-rw-r--r--  1 code2care  staff   0 Sep 22 12:45 myfile.txt
-rw-r--r--  1 code2care  staff  19 Sep 22 12:51 myfile1.txt

% cat myfil1.txt
Write this to file

You can also create a file using > filename and then type the text you want to write to the file, or simply press Control + D if you just want to create an empty file.

3. Using cat command

You can create a file and write to the file using the cat command,

% cat > myfile3.txt
Write your text,
once you are done. Press Control + D to save and quit.

4. Using Nano Text Editor

This is one of the very effective ways of creating and writing a file on the Mac Terminal, Nano is the most user-friendly text editor for the console.

To create a new file, simply type nano followed by the file name,

% nano myfile4.txt
Nano Text Editor to create and write files using Mac terminal

Once you type the command, the file will be opened in the Terminal as an interactive UI, you can write the content of the file and press Control + X followed by a Y to save the file.

5. Using Vi (Vim) Text Editor

By far this is the most loved Text Editor available for the Terminal by computer programmers and System Admins, it works similar to Nano but is far more advanced when it comes to dealing with files.

% vi myfile5.txt

This will open up a file editor, you can write content to the newly created file and press Escape followed by :wq! to save the file.

Creating a new file and writing using Vi Editor Mac Terminal


As we saw there are multiple ways in which we can create a new file, the quickest one to create a blank file is using the touch command and if you want to create and write to the file it's better to go with Nano or Vi Editors.

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Author Info:

Rakesh (He/Him) has over 14+ years of experience in Web and Application development. He is the author of insightful How-To articles for Code2care.

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