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Manage & Resume Multiple Terminals Easier with Window Groups on OS

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Have you arranged your terminal windows in a certain way, perhaps running certain processes, to which you want to consistently resume without having to rearrange and restart things? Rather than relying entirely on the OS X Resume feature, you should use the Terminal app “Window Groups” tool, which allows you to save not only the placement of groups of terminal windows, but also their commands and processes. These can be quickly resumed at any time, making it easy to manage specific window configurations and workflows for specific command line tasks. This feature has been around in the Terminal app on the Mac for quite some time, but is largely ignored, even by the most advanced command line users. Fortunately, it’s extremely easy to configure and use, and once you get used to it, you’ll wonder how you ever functioned in Terminal without it.

Keep their exact placement in a “window group” and you can quickly resume productivity right where you left off:

Save a group of terminal Windows placement and commands

Do you have a series of terminal windows and commands that you use often? Save it as a group:

  1. Organize Terminal windows on the screen as desired
  2. Optional; run the commands you want for each terminal window you want to resume to
  3. Once done, open the ‘Window’ menu and choose ‘Save Windows as Group’
  4. Save the placement of terminal windows as a group

  5. Give the window group a name and check the box for ‘Restore all commands’
  6. Save the terminal window group with commands

If this is going to be a common window and command placement, you can also check ‘Use Window Group when Terminal starts’, which sets a specific Terminal app recovery feature at each start that goes beyond the standard recovery and resume features of OS X .

Restore terminal window groups

Ready to restore to a specific terminal group?

  1. Back in the Terminal app, pull down the ‘Window’ menu and go to ‘Open window group’
  2. Select the choice you want to proceed to quickly

Resume and restore terminal window groups in OS X

That’s all there is to it. Assuming you’ve used the “Restore All Commands” preference option, everything will stay roughly where you left off. If you are going to use Terminal Window Groups to reconnect to remote servers, make sure you have configured SSH keys so that the connection becomes automatic without entering passwords and credentials, otherwise you will need to continuously authenticate with each resumption of a window group with remote sessions.

Saved and restored Terminal window group with commands

Be specific with this and you can have a terminal window group defined for completely different tasks or for different times of the day. For example, you might have a routine group of windows used for a specific set of tasks with a specific placement and set of commands running, such as a large half-screen lynx browser, with net top monitoring network traffic at an angle with a active SSH connection to a remote server – save that as a window group and you can resume not only the posting immediately, but also those jobs themselves, at any time, just by selecting that saved window group.

Another great perk for terminal.app-specific Window Groups? They work even if you have the system-wide window recovery feature disabled in OS X. Give them a try, you’ll be more productive.

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