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Basics of the Terminal Application

The Terminal application (available only on Windows) presents the ObjectScript shell in a window that also provides a menu bar with additional options. The primary purpose of the Terminal application is to enable you to execute ObjectScript commands (and see their results), as well as to access various other shells. In the Terminal application, you can also run scripts that use syntax specific to this application. This page provides a basic introduction.


Throughout the documentation, the term Terminal is often used to mean just the ObjectScript shell (which has no special menu bar and which is available on all operating systems). Similarly, the phrase Terminal session often means a session within the ObjectScript shell.

Where necessary to avoid confusing these concepts, the documentation uses the phrase Terminal application to refer to the Windows-only application.

Starting the Terminal Application

To start the Terminal application, do one of the following:

  • To connect to a local database, select the InterSystems Launcher and then select Terminal.

  • To connect to a remote server, select the InterSystems Launcher and then select Remote System Access > Terminal. Then select a server name.

In either case, you may be prompted to log in, or you may instead be logged in under a default username, depending on the security settings for the associated InterSystems IRIS® data platform server. The Terminal application then displays a prompt that (by default) displays the name of the current namespace. For example, if you are in the USER namespace, the default prompt is as follows:


To switch to a different namespace, use the $namespace variable as in the following example:

USER>set $namespace="SAMPLES"


This is the same way that you would switch namespaces within your code; see the $namespace reference page in the ObjectScript Reference for more information.

Overview of Terminal Application Features

The Terminal application consists of a window that provides the ObjectScript shell, as well as a title bar and a menu bar.

First, you can use all the options provided by the ObjectScript shell. You can use it to execute ObjectScript commands (and see their results), as well as to access various other shells. The shell provides an extensive line recall facility as well as several customization options.

In addition to providing this shell, the Terminal application menu bar provides options for copying and pasting text, clearing the screen, performing logging, printing, executing scripts, and customization. The Terminal application also provides a right-click menu with options for copying and pasting.

Note that the title bar indicates the InterSystems IRIS® data platform server to which the Terminal application is connected, which is especially helpful when you have multiple sessions, each to different server. The title bar also indicates the communication mode currently in use:

  • The title bar may display InterSystems IRIS TRM:pid(instancename) where:

    • pid is the process ID of the InterSystems IRIS process with which the Terminal application is communicating.

    • instancename is the InterSystems IRIS instance in which the process is running.

    In this case, the Terminal application is using local, proprietary communication with the InterSystems IRIS server with which it was installed.

  • The title bar may display (server NT — InterSystems IRIS Telnet) where server is the host name of the remote server. In this case, the Terminal application is using the TELNET protocol over TCP/IP to communicate with either a Windows InterSystems IRIS server or with a UNIX® host.

On Windows, the communications stack for InterSystems IRIS is Winsock, and errors reported from this communications mode are the names of the Winsock error codes. For example, WSAECONNREFUSED means the connection was refused.

Copying and Pasting

To copy and paste text in the Terminal application, you can use the right-click menu, the Edit menu, or various keyboard shortcuts. On the menus, the following options are available :

  • Copy copies the selected text to the clipboard.

  • Paste pastes the contents of the clipboard, line by line, to the current position of the cursor (which is the end of the scrollback buffer). The text becomes visible in the window unless echoing has been disabled.

  • Copy + Paste copies the selected text to the clipboard and then pastes it, line by line, to the current location of the cursor.

Keyboard Shortcuts

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts:

Action Basic Shortcut Windows Shortcut
Copy Ctrl+Ins Ctrl+C
Paste Shift+Ins Ctrl+V
Copy and paste   Ctrl+Shift+V

The shortcuts listed in the Basic Shortcut column are always enabled.

The shortcuts listed in the Windows Shortcut column are enabled only if you set the Windows edit accelerators option to Yes; for information on this setting, see User Settings.

Notes about Copying and Pasting

  • As noted above, if you set the Windows edit accelerators option to Yes, Ctrl+C copies the selected text to the Windows clipboard. To interrupt execution, you must instead press Ctrl+Shift+C

  • If the host has a mouse request outstanding and you wish to do a local cut and paste, press Ctrl while selecting the region; that mouse action is not reported to the host.

  • If the copied text includes a line boundary, it is saved on the clipboard as a carriage return and a line feed. If you do not want to paste line feeds, see User Settings.

  • The Terminal application can often paste data faster than a host can accept it. See User Settings for settings to control the speed of pasting. Also, line feeds can be discarded during a paste command.

Interrupting Execution

To interrupt any foreground execution, use one of the following key combinations:

  • Ctrl+C — Use this if the Windows edit accelerators option is not enabled.

  • Ctrl+Shift+C — Use this if the Windows edit accelerators option is enabled.

For information on Windows edit accelerators option, see User Settings.

Clearing the Screen

The Edit menu provides two different options to clear the screen:

  • To reset the screen, select Edit > Reset. This option resets the margins, scroll region and other processing on the current page, and then repaints the window.

  • To reinitialize the screen, select Edit > Erase or press Ctrl+Del. This option reinitializes the window, erases all session data, and resets the scrollback region to zero.

Logging the Terminal Application Session

To start logging the current session:

  1. Select File > Logging or select Alt+L.

    The Terminal application displays a dialog box to prompt you for the location and name of the log file. The default directory is install-dir/mgr. The default filename is TERMINAL.LOG.

    The total length of the path and file name cannot exceed 126 characters.

  2. Optionally specify a different directory and filename.

  3. Select OK.

    If the log file exists, a dialog box is displayed asking if you want to overwrite it. Choose one of the following:

    • Yes overwrites the file with the new log data

    • No appends any new log data to the file

    • Cancel leaves the file as is (no logging is done)

Later, to stop logging, select File > Logging or select Alt+L. The Terminal application displays a dialog box to indicate that the log file is closed; select OK.

The log file contains only the output from a connection (independent of the current wrap mode).

You can also perform logging from a script. Note that if you have started logging by using File > Logging, you cannot start a script that also performs logging. If you attempt to do so, the behavior is indeterminate.

Also see Learning Mode.


To print, use the following options of the File menu:

  • To select a printer and set it up for use with the Terminal application, select File > Printer Setup.

  • To print the contents of the screen, select File > Print.

  • To print the log file (or any other ASCII file), select File > Print Log. This option lets you select the file to print, and it does no special processing except to try to be reasonable in processing form feed characters. During printing, mouse and keyboard input is locked out of the main window and a cancel dialog box appears. Printing is done in draft mode.


To exit the Terminal application, do any of the following:

  • Select File > Exit

  • Press Alt+F4

  • Enter HALT or H (not case-sensitive)

These options cause this copy of the Terminal application to exit, closing any open files and stopping any foreground execution.

If this Terminal application was connected to a server at startup, it exits on its own when the communications channel is closed.

If you accessed this Terminal application via InterSystems Telnet in the InterSystems Launcher, then it does not exit automatically when the communications channel is closed; instead it remains active so you that can connect again via the Connect menu.

Technical Notes

The process is owned by the user that is logged in to Windows and is running the Terminal application (iristerm.exe).

Also, all environment variables and shared drive letter designations are those defined by the user that is running the application.

See Also

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