script — make typescript of terminal session

Examples (TL;DR)


script [options] [file]


script makes a typescript of everything displayed on your terminal.  It is useful for students who need a hardcopy record of an interactive session as proof of an assignment, as the typescript file can be printed out later with lpr(1).

If the argument file is given, script saves the dialogue in this file. If no filename is given, the dialogue is saved in the file typescript.


Below, the size argument may be followed by the multiplicative suffixes KiB (=1024), MiB (=1024*1024), and so on for GiB, TiB, PiB, EiB, ZiB and YiB (the "iB" is optional, e.g. "K" has the same meaning as "KiB"), or the suffixes KB (=1000), MB (=1000*1000), and so on for GB, TB, PB, EB, ZB and YB.

-a, --append

Append the output to file or to typescript, retaining the prior contents.

-c, --command command

Run the command rather than an interactive shell.  This makes it easy for a script to capture the output of a program that behaves differently when its stdout is not a tty.

-e, --return

Return the exit code of the child process.  Uses the same format as bash termination on signal termination exit code is 128+n.  The exit code of the child process is always stored in type script file too.

-f, --flush

Flush output after each write.  This is nice for telecooperation: one person does `mkfifo foo; script -f foo', and another can supervise real-time what is being done using `cat foo'.


Allow the default output destination, i.e. the typescript file, to be a hard or symbolic link.  The command will follow a symbolic link.

-o, --output-limit size

Limit the size of the typescript and timing files to size and stop the child process after this size is exceeded.  The calculated file size does not include the start and done messages that the script command prepends and appends to the child process output. Due to buffering, the resulting output file might be larger than the specified value.

-q, --quiet

Be quiet (do not write start and done messages to standard output).

-t[file], --timing[=file]

Output timing data to standard error, or to file when given.  This data contains two fields, separated by a space.  The first field indicates how much time elapsed since the previous output.  The second field indicates how many characters were output this time.  This information can be used to replay typescripts with realistic typing and output delays.

-V, --version

Display version information and exit.

-h, --help

Display help text and exit.


The script ends when the forked shell exits (a control-D for the Bourne shell (sh(1)), and exit, logout or control-d (if ignoreeof is not set) for the C-shell, csh(1)).

Certain interactive commands, such as vi(1), create garbage in the typescript file. script works best with commands that do not manipulate the screen, the results are meant to emulate a hardcopy terminal.

It is not recommended to run script in non-interactive shells.  The inner shell of script is always interactive, and this could lead to unexpected results.  If you use script in the shell initialization file, you have to avoid entering an infinite loop.  You can use for example the .profile file, which is read by login shells only:

if test -t 0 ; then

You should also avoid use of script in command pipes, as script can read more input than you would expect.


The following environment variable is utilized by script:


If the variable SHELL exists, the shell forked by script will be that shell.  If SHELL is not set, the Bourne shell is assumed.  (Most shells set this variable automatically).

See Also

csh(1) (for the history mechanism), scriptreplay(1)


The script command appeared in 3.0BSD.


script places everything in the log file, including linefeeds and backspaces.  This is not what the naive user expects.

script is primarily designed for interactive terminal sessions.  When stdin is not a terminal (for example: echo foo | script), then the session can hang, because the interactive shell within the script session misses EOF and script has no clue when to close the session.  See the Notes section for more information.


The script command is part of the util-linux package and is available from Linux Kernel Archive.

Referenced By

e2fsck(8), pty(7), scriptreplay(1), sudoers(5), sudoreplay(8).

June 2014 util-linux