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screen Cheat Sheet by

screen commands survival guide. Sorted by usefulness.

Enter / Quit

screen -S foo
create a screen named "­foo­"
screen -x foo
attach to an existing screen named "­foo­"
[^A] [d] or [^A] [^D]
detach current screen
exit or [^D] (in screen shell)
exit the shell starting the screen thus exit the screen
exit or [^D] are not screen commands but bash ones

Syntax convention

[Control] key
[Control] + [a]
[Shift] + [a]
[Control] + [a] then [Shift] + [a]
different from [^A][a]

Window (screen tabs)

[^A] [c]
Create a new window
exit or [^D] (in screen shell)
exit the current shell created by the window, thus exit the window
[^A] [0]
Go to window 0
[^A] [3]
Go to window 3
[^A] [n]
Go to next window
[^A] [p]
Go to previous window
exit or [^D] are not screen commands but bash ones


This cheat only describe the default key bindings
key bindings can be modified by editing ~/.scr­eenrc or another screenrc file

Split screen

[^A] [S]
Split screen horizo­ntally
[^A] [|]
Split screen vertically
[^A] [^I] or [^A] [Tab]
Change splitted part
[^A] [Q]
Remove all splitted parts


[^A] [A]
Rename current window
[^A] [k]
Kill current window
[^A] [^A]
Switch to last used window
[^A] [a]
Send [^A] to current screen


This cheatsheet should mention that [^A] is actually just the escape key, which by default is ^A but can be something else. For example, Ubuntu's screen wrapper byobu also uses F12 depending on your keybindings.

For me, ^a,s and ^a,q are the equivalent of bash ^s and ^q [freeze/unfreeze terminal]

RicoPags RicoPags, 21:13 4 Jan 12

I see holding shift makes a difference and does split screens. That's great information, perhaps it would be best to add the lowercase so nobody is confused?

@Ian : In fact ^A (in screen dialect) is not [Esc] but it's what emacs calls [C-a] or what windows calls [Ctrl+a]. which is obtained by pressing [Ctrl] then pressing [A] then releasing [A] then releasing [Ctrl]. It's true that it should be documented (even it's a classical unix representation of shotcuts, you can find it for example in pine or mutt interface).

@RicoPags : What should also be documented : While [^A] mean [Ctrl+a] in screen help, [^A] [A] doesn't mean [Ctrl+a] [a] but [Ctrl+a] [Shift+a]. It's screen own convention (the one you'll see in [^A] [?]) but it's very misleading.

Would you mind adding the Enter/Quit commands from ?

There should be scroll buffer shortcut. Would you please add ^A + Esc combination and how to use this mode?

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