Execute AppleScripts and other OSA language scripts. Executes the given script file, or standard input if none is given. Scripts can be plain text or compiled scripts. osascript was designed for use with AppleScript, but will work with any Open Scripting Architecture (OSA) language.

      osascript [-l language] [-e command] [-s flags] [programfile]

   -e command
      Enter one line of a script.  Multiple -e commands can be given to build up a multi-line script.
      If -e is given, osascript will not look for a filename in the argument list.
      Because most scripts use characters that are special to many shell programs
      (e.g., Apple-Script uses single and double quote marks, (, ), and *), the command
      will have to be correctly quoted and escaped to get it past the shell intact.

      Interactive mode: osascript will prompt for one line at a time, and output the result, if applicable,
      after each line. Any script supplied as a command argument using -e or programfile will be loaded,
      but not executed, before starting the interactive prompt. 

   -l language
      Override the language for any plain text files.  Normally, plain text files are compiled as AppleScript.

   -s flags
     Modify the output style.  The flags argument is a string consisting of any of the
     modifier characters e, h, o, and s. 
     Multiple modifiers can be concatenated in the same string, and multiple -s options can be specified.

     The modifiers come in exclusive pairs;
     if conflicting modifiers are specified, the last one takes precedence.
     The meanings of the modifier characters are as follows:

        h  Print values in human-readable form (default).
        s  Print values in recompilable source form.

     osascript normally prints its results in human-readable form:
     strings do not have quotes around them, characters are not escaped,
     braces for lists and records are omitted, etc.  This is generally more useful, but can
     introduce ambiguities.  For example, the lists '{"foo", "bar"}' and '{{"foo", {"bar"}}}' would
     both be displayed as 'foo, bar'.  

     To see the results in an unambiguous form that could be recompiled into the same value, use
     the s modifier:

        e  Print script errors to stderr (default).
        o  Print script errors to stdout.

osascript normally prints script errors to stderr, so downstream clients only see valid results. When running automated tests, however, using the o modifier lets you distinguish script errors, which you care about matching, from other diagnostic output, which you don't.

osascript in macOS 10.0 would translate \r characters in the output to \n and provided c and r modifiers for the -s option to change this. osascript now always leaves the output alone; pipe through tr if necessary.

For multi-line AppleScript you can use ¬ as a new line continuation character, press Option-L to enter this into your text editor.


Open or switch to Safari:
$ osascript -e 'tell app "Safari" to activate'

Close safari:
$ osascript -e 'quit app "safari.app"'

$ osascript -e ‘tell application “safari” to quit’

Empty the trash:
$ osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to empty trash'

Set the output volume to 50%
$ sudo osascript -e 'set volume output volume 50'

Input volume and Alert volume can also be set from 0 to 100%:
$ sudo osascript -e 'set volume input volume 40'
$ sudo osascript -e 'set volume alert volume 75'

Mute the output volume (True/False):
$ osascript -e 'set volume output muted TRUE'

Toggle volume muting:
$ osascript -e 'set volume output muted not (output muted of (get volume settings))'

Toggle system theme:
$ osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to tell appearance preferences to set dark mode to not dark mode'

Shut down without asking for confirmation:
$ osascript -e 'tell app "System Events" to shut down'

Restart without asking for confirmation:
$ osascript -e 'tell app "System Events" to restart'

“Every time I get a script it's a matter of trying to know what I could do with it. I see colors, imagery. It has to have a smell. It's like falling in love. You can't give a reason why” ~ Paul Newman

Related macOS commands

osalang(1) - list the OSA languages installed on your system.
osacompile - Compile Applescript.
pkill - Kill processes by a full or partial name.
Introduction to AppleScript - Language Guide.

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