Command Line

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What Does Command Line Mean?

A command line is a horizontal line on an interface that allows the user to type in various commands. Typically, there is a command prompt at the left side of a screen, with a blank line extending to the right where commands are typed.

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Techopedia Explains Command Line

In the past, command line interfaces were a common type of interface for a personal computer. Now, command line interfaces are more commonly oriented toward high-level users, where personal computers and business workstation operating systems often use a Windows-based approach. In a command-line operating system, the entire screen is a series of command lines. As a user types commands, the field scrolls vertically. This lets the user see past commands and reactions by the computer.

Windows-based operating systems often include a shell or special function that allows the user to bring up a command line interface within a window. This allows for the kinds of functionality that command line interfaces provide. A command line interface is very straightforward in many ways and presents a clear visual record, which is one reason why it is still preferred by some users.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.