SCREEN Quick guide by 설악이

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SCREEN Quick Reference

Getting in test

start a new screen session with session namescreen -S <name>
list running sessions/screensscreen -ls
attach to a running sessionscreen -x
attach to session namescreen -r <name>
the “ultimate attach”screen -dRR (Attaches to a screen session. If the session is attached elsewhere, detaches that other display. If no session exists, creates one. If multiple sessions exist, uses the first one.)

Escape key

All screen commands are prefixed by an escape key, by default C-a (that's Control-a, sometimes written ^a). To send a literal C-a to the programs in screen, use C-a a. This is useful when working with screen within screen. For example C-a a nwill move screen to a new window on the screen within screen.

Getting out

detachC-a d
detach and logout (quick exit)C-a D D
exit screenC-a \ Exit all of the programs in screen. (not recommended)
force-exit screenC-a C-\ (not recommended)
getting out of the screen sessionexit

Window Management

create new windowC-a c
change to last-visited active windowC-a C-a (commonly used to flip-flop between two windows)
change to window by numberC-a <number> (only for windows 0 to 9)
change to window by number or nameC-a ' <number or title>
change to next window in listC-a n or C-a <space>
change to previous window in listC-a p or C-a <backspace>
see window listC-a " (allows you to select a window to change to)
show window barC-a w (if you don't have window bar)
close current windowClose all applications in the current window (including shell)
kill current windowC-a k (not recommended)
kill all windowsC-a \ (not recommended)
rename current windowC-a A

Split screen

split display horizontallyC-a S
split display verticallyC-a | or C-a V (for the vanilla vertical screen patch)
jump to next display regionC-a tab
remove current regionC-a X
remove all regions but the current oneC-a Q

Clipboard and Navigation

freely navigate bufferC-a [ or C-a <esc>
toggle selection to copyspace
pasteC-a ]


See helpC-a ? (lists keybindings)

The man page is the complete reference.


To any session name,

send a command to a named sessionscreen -S <name> -X <command>
create a new window and run ping example.comscreen -S <name> -X screen ping
stuff characters into the input buffer
using bash to expand a newline character
(from here)
screen -S <name> [-p <page>] -X stuff $'quit\r'

A full example:

# run bash within screenscreen -AmdS bash_shell bash# run top within that bash sessionscreen -S bash_shell -p 0 -X stuff $'top\r' # ... some time later # stuff 'q' to tell top to quitscreen -S bash_shell -X stuff 'q'# stuff 'exit\n' to exit bash sessionscreen -S bash_shell -X stuff $'exit\r'


redraw windowC-a C-l
monitor window for activityC-a M
monitor window for silenceC-a _
enter digraph (for producing non-ASCII characters)C-a C-v
lock (password protect) sessionC-a x
enter screen commandC-a :
enable logging in the screen sessionC-a H


In copy mode, one can navigate the scrollback buffer in various ways:

half page upC-uhalf page downC-d
cursor left/down/up/righth/j/k/l

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