How to Clear Terminal in Linux

If you’re a Linux user, chances are you spend a lot of time in the terminal. Over time, your terminal can become cluttered with a barrage of commands and outputs. Knowing how to clear the terminal can enhance your productivity and maintain a clean workspace. In this guide, we’ll explore various methods to clear the terminal in Linux, ensuring your experience is as efficient as possible.

Why Clear the Terminal?

Before diving into the how, it’s essential to understand why clearing the terminal is beneficial:

  • Improved Readability: A clear terminal makes it easier to read and track new commands and outputs.
  • Enhanced Focus: Clearing the screen can help you focus on current tasks without the distraction of previous commands.
  • Professionalism: Maintaining a clean terminal can give a more professional appearance, especially when sharing your screen.

Methods to Clear the Terminal

Here are some tried-and-true methods to clear your terminal in Linux:

1. Using the clear Command

The simplest way to clear the terminal is by using the clear command. This command clears the terminal screen of all previous commands and outputs.


Just type clear and press Enter. This command works in most Linux distributions and terminal emulators.

2. Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts provide a quick and efficient way to clear the terminal:

  • Ctrl + L: This shortcut clears the terminal screen, similar to the clear command. It’s a faster alternative, especially for frequent use.

3. Resetting the Terminal

For a more thorough cleanup, you can reset the terminal. This command resets the terminal emulator, clearing the screen and resetting terminal settings.


This method can be useful if you encounter display issues or want to start fresh.

4. Clearing the Scrollback Buffer

Sometimes, you might want to clear not only the visible terminal screen but also the scrollback buffer. This can be done using specific commands in different terminal emulators:

  • GNOME Terminal:
  clear && printf '\e[3J'
  • xterm:

clear && printf '\033c'

These commands clear the screen and the scrollback buffer, providing a completely clean slate.

Best Practices for Clearing the Terminal

To make the most of these methods, consider the following best practices:

  • Regular Maintenance: Clear your terminal periodically to keep it tidy and organized.
  • Use Shortcuts: Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl + L for quick clearing.
  • Understand the Tools: Know when to use each method—clear for quick cleanup, reset for a fresh start, and scrollback clearing for complete cleanliness.


Clearing the terminal in Linux is a straightforward yet essential task for maintaining an efficient workflow. Whether you use commands, keyboard shortcuts, or reset methods, keeping your terminal clean can enhance productivity and readability. By following the tips and methods outlined in this guide, you can ensure your terminal remains a powerful tool in your Linux toolkit.


Q1: What is the difference between clear and reset?

  • The clear command clears the visible terminal screen, while the reset command resets the terminal emulator, clearing the screen and resetting terminal settings.

Q2: Can I clear the terminal scrollback buffer?

  • Yes, you can clear the scrollback buffer using specific commands depending on your terminal emulator,
    such as clear && printf '\e[3J' for GNOME Terminal.

Q3: Are there any risks to resetting the terminal?

  • Resetting the terminal is generally safe, but it will close any running processes in the terminal session, so ensure you’ve saved your work before using the reset command.

By mastering these techniques, you can keep your Linux terminal clean and efficient, enhancing your overall command-line experience. Happy coding!

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