Scripting on macOS: Introduction to Shell Scripting with Bash

Shell scripting is a powerful tool for automating tasks on macOS, allowing you to combine multiple commands into a single script that can be executed with a single command. In this article, we will introduce you to shell scripting using Bash, the default shell on macOS.

What is Bash?

Bash, short for "Bourne Again SHell," is a popular command-line interpreter and scripting language that is widely used on macOS and Linux systems. It is backward-compatible with the original Unix shell, the Bourne shell, and provides numerous enhancements and features.

Bash allows you to execute commands and scripts interactively or non-interactively, making it an excellent choice for automating repetitive tasks on your macOS system.

Creating a Bash Script

To create a bash script, you'll need a text editor. On macOS, you can use the built-in TextEdit app or any other text editor of your choice. Open your preferred text editor and create a new file with a .sh extension, for example,


# Your script goes here

The first line, #!/bin/bash, is called a shebang. It tells the system which shell should be used to interpret the script.

Basic Bash Scripting

Let's start with a simple example to illustrate the basic structure of a Bash script. Suppose we want to create a script that prints "Hello, World!" to the console.


echo "Hello, World!"

Save the script file and open the Terminal app. Navigate to the directory where you saved the script and execute the following command to make the script executable:

chmod +x

Now, you can run the script by executing the following command:


You should see the output "Hello, World!" printed to the console.

Variables and Parameters

In Bash scripting, you can use variables to store values and manipulate them within your script. To assign a value to a variable, use the following syntax:


Here's an example that demonstrates the usage of variables:



echo "My name is $name and I am $age years old."

When the script is executed, it will print: "My name is John and I am 25 years old."

You can also pass parameters to your script when executing it from the command line. The parameters are accessible within your script using special variables: $1, $2, $3, and so on. For example:


echo "Hello, $1!"

Executing the script with a parameter, like ./ Alice, will output: "Hello, Alice!"

Control Structures

Bash provides different control structures that allow you to make decisions and repeat actions based on conditions. For example, the if statement allows you to conditionally execute code.



if [ $number -gt 5 ]; then
    echo "The number is greater than 5."
    echo "The number is less than or equal to 5."

This script checks if the variable number is greater than 5. If so, it prints "The number is greater than 5." Otherwise, it prints "The number is less than or equal to 5."


Shell scripting with Bash is a versatile and powerful tool for automating tasks on macOS. In this article, we introduced you to the basics of Bash scripting, including creating scripts, using variables, passing parameters, and using control structures.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to shell scripting. With Bash, you can accomplish much more, from creating complex automation scripts to managing your system and performing various administrative tasks. So, start exploring and take advantage of the power of shell scripting on macOS!

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