Command-line interface

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This page describes how to access the terminal and start VLC in it.

A terminal is a text-based way to run programs. It is normally pre-installed on your computer. The command prompt may also be called the "Command Prompt", "Console", "Terminal", "MS-DOS Prompt", or something similar.

Running VLC from the terminal gives you access to many commands and features in VideoLAN which you would not otherwise have: see the VLC command-line help page to find out more about options from the command line.

Note that % is used on many of the examples on the VLC Wiki to represent the prompt, so you don't need to type that in.
Depending on your operating system, the prompt could appear as a >, %, $ or # symbol. Read on for a detailed explanation.


In Windows, this is called the command prompt. To open the command prompt:

  • Click on the Start Menu and select Run.
  • In the Run box, type cmd (or command for older versions of Windows) and press enter.

The command prompt will look something like this:


To run VLC, you will need to know where you installed VLC; the default is C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC. So to start VLC, type

"C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\VLC.exe" options

replacing options with the name of the file to play and its options.


You can run VLC on macOS using a terminal application, such as in /Applications/Utilities. In the terminal window type

../ options

replacing options with VLC options, commands, the name of the file to play, and so on.

To suppress the launch of any Mac-like interface, you have to add the Option -I or --intf followed by the interface you want to use instead.
Available interfaces are:

  • rc (remote control)
  • ncurses (command-line-gui)
  • http (web interface, usually on port 8080)—this interface will prevent VLC from appearing even in the Dock.

In older versions you could replace the "VLC" at the end of the path with "clivlc" to suppress the launch of any Mac-like interface.


To get a linux terminal, you should probably run Konsole or Xterm. In Ubuntu, gnome-terminal can be opened with the key combination Ctrl+Alt+T. The terminal normally looks like a $ or a %.
If you are logged in as a root user (generally a bad idea) it will probably be a #.
To run VLC, you can normally type

vlc options

replacing options with the name of the file to play and its options.