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Below is an overview of the most commonly used commands of asciinema CLI. Run asciinema -h to get the full list of the available commands with their options.

asciinema rec [filename]

Record a terminal session.

By running asciinema rec [filename] you start a recording session. By default a new instance of your shell (as indicated by SHELL environment variable) is launched and recorded. You can specify alternative command to be launched and recorded with -c option (see below).

You can temporarily pause the capture of your terminal by pressing ctrl+\. This is useful when you want to execute a series of commands that must not be captured (e.g. pasting secrets). It's an equivalent of the "mute" functionality in an audio call. Resume the capture by pressing ctrl+\ again. This shortcut (and other shortcuts) can be customized in the config file. Capture state changes are signaled via desktop notifications.

Recording session ends when you exit the shell, which can be done either by pressing ctrl+d or entering exit. If a custom command is recorded (-c) then the recording session ends when the command finishes.

If the filename argument is given the recording is saved to a file in asciicast format. It can later be replayed with asciinema play <filename>, and uploaded to with asciinema upload <filename>.

If the filename argument is omitted the complete recording is saved to a temporary file. asciinema then shows a prompt, which lets you decide whether to save the recording locally, upload it to, or discard it (v2.4+).

ASCIINEMA_REC=1 is added to the environment of a recorded shell. This can be used to detect active recording session in your shell config file (.bashrc, .zshrc) in order to e.g. alter the prompt, play a sound, or change the background color of a terminal emulator window.

Available options:

  • --stdin - Enable input (keyboard) recording (see below)
  • --append - Append to existing recording
  • --overwrite - Overwrite the recording if it already exists
  • -c, --command=<command> - Specify command to record, defaults to $SHELL
  • -i, --idle-time-limit=<sec> - Limit recorded terminal inactivity to max <sec> seconds
  • --raw - Save raw output, without timing information and other metadata
  • -e, --env=<var-names> - List of environment variables to capture, defaults to SHELL,TERM
  • -t, --title=<title> - Specify the title of the asciicast
  • --cols=<n> - Override terminal columns for the recorded process
  • --rows=<n> - Override terminal rows for the recorded process
  • -y, --yes - Answer "yes" to all prompts (e.g. upload confirmation)
  • -q, --quiet - Be quiet - suppress all notices/warnings (implies -y)

Input recording (--stdin) captures all characters typed in by a user. This can be used with asciinema player to implement custom event handler for input events.


Input recording may raise privacy/security concerns. While asciinema can't record anything outside a terminal window (or a tab) it was started in, given its sensitive nature input recording is disabled by default and needs to be explicitly enabled via --stdin option if desired.

Also, check this FAQ answer for more information on the topic.


Consider creating a shell alias for frequent recording:

alias rec='asciinema rec'

asciinema play <filename>

Replay a terminal session.

This command replays a terminal session recorded with rec in the current terminal.

Playing a local recording file:

asciinema play /path/to/demo.cast

Playing from HTTP(S) URL:

asciinema play
asciinema play

If an HTML page contains <link rel="alternate" type="application/x-asciicast" href="/casts/demo.cast"> tag then you can pass the page URL directly:

asciinema play
asciinema play includes the tag on every recording page automatically.

Playing from stdin:

cat /path/to/asciicast.cast | asciinema play -
ssh user@host cat asciicast.cast | asciinema play -

There are several keyboard shortcuts available during playback. The most important ones are:

  • ctrl+c - end the playback early,
  • space - toggle the playback (pause/resume).

Available options:

  • -i, --idle-time-limit=<sec> - Limit replayed terminal inactivity to max <sec> seconds
  • -s, --speed=<factor> - Playback speed (can be fractional)
  • -l, --loop - Play in a loop
  • -m, --pause-on-markers - Automatically pause on markers


For the best playback experience it is recommended to run asciinema play in a terminal of size equal or bigger than the one used at the recording time, as there's no "transcoding" of control sequences for the current terminal size.


Consider creating a shell alias for frequent replays:

alias play='asciinema play'

asciinema cat <filename>...

Print full output from a recording to a terminal.

While asciinema play <filename> replays the recorded session using timing information saved in the asciicast file, asciinema cat <filename> dumps the full output to a terminal all at once. This includes all saved control sequences, e.g. SGR for text attributes (color etc).

Both commands below produce an equivalent output.txt file:

asciinema cat existing.cast >output.txt
asciinema rec --raw output.txt

Output from multiple recordings can be dumped with a single command too:

asciinema cat one.cast two.cast three.cast

asciinema upload <filename>

Upload a recording to or a self-hosted asciinema server.

This command uploads a terminal session recorded with rec to asciinema server instance, where it can be viewed and shared with a wider audience. Default upload target is, but it can be easily changed to point to another server instance.

It's likely that you would want to manage this and other uploaded recordings at some point, e.g. set a title or change terminal color theme. See asciinema auth command below for more details on how to ensure secure access to your recordings.


asciinema rec demo.cast + asciinema play demo.cast + asciinema upload demo.cast is a good combo if you want to review a recording before publishing it on the internet.

asciinema auth

Authenticate local system with an user account.

This command displays a URL, which, when opened in a web browser, authenticates the CLI with your account. You may be asked to log in to your account on the site first.

This operation is optional but recommended if you want to preserve and manage all recordings uploaded from the current system on It ensures all past and future uploads from this system are linked to your user account. You can use asciinema auth either before or after uploading any recordings, and you need to do it only once per system.

If you don't create an account on and don't link your local system with this command within 7 days then the recordings uploaded from that system will be identified as unclaimed and as a result deleted. On the flipside, if you want your recently uploaded recording to be deleted but you don't want to create an account only to delete the recording, you don't need to do anything. The recording will be garbage collected within 7 days. This mechanism lets you create short-lived, "throw-away" recordings. All uploaded recordings are hidden (unlisted) by default, therefore unless you share its secret link with someone the recording will be completely inaccessible to anyone, and eventually automatically deleted. If you prefer your recording to be deleted sooner then either create an account and delete it yourself or contact admin. Recordings uploaded from other systems that were authenticated with your account are never automatically deleted.


How does find my past recordings when I use asciinema auth?

When you run either asciinema upload or asciinema auth for the first time asciinema CLI generates a unique identifier - install ID (UUID v4) - storing it in the $HOME/.config/asciinema/install-id file.

This ID is assigned to all uploads made with asciinema upload from a given system. By visiting the URL printed by asciinema auth, which includes your install ID, you assign it to your account. This lets the server find all existing recordings for this install ID and associate them with your account. This way install ID decouples upload from account creation, allowing those to happen in any order.