We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Command Line Interface?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A command line interface (CLI) is a computer instrument that allows users to control computers through a text command — or command line — instead of a mouse click. While there are many ways to control a computer, the command line interface is typically considered the opposite of the graphical user interface (GUI). The CLI requires less system memory and there is no need to load graphics, so this is usually quicker than a GUI system. Professionals most commonly use CLI, because it can be easier to execute functions and open files if one knows all the commands.

When someone uses a command line interface computer, he has to enter text commands to interact with the computer. Unlike GUI systems, in which commands are typically entered through mouse clicks, a command must be typed with a CLI. For example, to make a file in GUI, the user may click an application to open it and then click the “Save” button. The same operation through a CLI may look like this: “pico text_file.txt” to make a text document. There typically is a learning curve associated with CLI but, once the user learns the commands, it may be easier to use.

Many people think of GUI and command line interface systems as opposites. GUI systems are reliant on graphics and mouse clicks, and they typically use many different images for folders, files, applications, backgrounds and nearly everything else. CLI systems have no or very few graphics, mouse clicks are seldom and they are commonly blank screens with text. Both GUI and CLI systems commonly use keyboard shortcuts to execute commands.

While there is a learning curve and the command line interface does not have the same aesthetically pleasing appearance as GUI systems, CLI has a functional benefit. To load and use all those graphics, GUI systems must use a lot of memory just to maintain appearances. CLI systems do not use these graphics, so all that memory goes toward speeding up functions and increasing responsiveness.

Most casual computer users do not use the command line interface, but many professionals and computer enthusiasts run CLI systems. Aside from better speed and responsiveness, a skilled user can typically go through functions with much better efficiency. For example, the user may be able to perform three or four commands in the time it would take GUI systems to run a single function. If the user does not know the commands, then this benefit may decrease.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources
Discussion Comments
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.