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Terminal session recorder 📹

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Note: This is README for

branch. See the version for latest stable release.


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Terminal session recorder and the best companion of


Quick intro

asciinema lets you easily record terminal sessions and replay them in a terminal as well as in a web browser.

Install latest version (other installation options):

sudo pip3 install asciinema

Record your first session:

asciinema rec first.cast

Now replay it with double speed:

asciinema play -s 2 first.cast

Or with normal speed but with idle time limited to 2 seconds:

asciinema play -i 2 first.cast

You can pass

-i 2
asciinema rec
as well, to set it permanently on a recording. Idle time limiting makes the recordings much more interesting to watch. Try it.

If you want to watch and share it on the web, upload it:

asciinema upload first.cast

The above uploads it to, which is a default asciinema-server instance, and prints a secret link you can use to watch your recording in a web browser.

You can record and upload in one step by omitting the filename:

asciinema rec

You'll be asked to confirm the upload when the recording is done. Nothing is sent anywhere without your consent.

These are the basics, but there's much more you can do. The following sections cover installation, usage and hosting of the recordings in more detail.


Python package

asciinema is available on PyPI and can be installed with pip (Python 3 with setuptools required):

sudo pip3 install asciinema

This is the recommended way of installation, which gives you the latest released version.

Native packages

asciinema is included in repositories of most popular package managers on Mac OS X, Linux and FreeBSD. Look for package named

. See the list of available packages.

Running latest version from source code checkout

If you can't use Python package or native package for your OS is outdated you can clone the repo and run asciinema straight from the checkout.

Clone the repo:

git clone
cd asciinema

If you want latest stable version:

git checkout master

If you want current development version:

git checkout develop

Then run it with:

python3 -m asciinema --version

Docker image

asciinema Docker image is based on Ubuntu 18.04 and has the latest version of asciinema recorder pre-installed.

docker pull asciinema/asciinema

When running it don't forget to allocate a pseudo-TTY (

), keep STDIN open (
) and mount config directory volume (
docker run --rm -ti -v "$HOME/.config/asciinema":/root/.config/asciinema asciinema/asciinema rec

Container's entrypoint is set to

so you can run the container with any arguments you would normally pass to
binary (see Usage section for commands and options).

There's not much software installed in this image though. In most cases you may want to install extra programs before recording. One option is to derive new image from this one (start your custom Dockerfile with

). Another option is to start the container with
as the entrypoint, install extra packages and manually start
asciinema rec
docker run --rm -ti -v "$HOME/.config/asciinema":/root/.config/asciinema --entrypoint=/bin/bash asciinema/asciinema
[email protected]:~# apt-get install foobar
[email protected]:~# asciinema rec


asciinema is composed of multiple commands, similar to


When you run

with no arguments help message is displayed, listing all available commands with their options.

rec [filename]

Record terminal session.

By running

asciinema rec [filename]
you start a new recording session. The command (process) that is recorded can be specified with
option (see below), and defaults to
which is what you want in most cases.

You can temporarily pause recording of terminal by pressing Ctrl+P. This is useful when you want to execute some commands during the recording session that should not be captured (e.g. pasting secrets). Resume by pressing Ctrl+P again.

Recording finishes when you exit the shell (hit Ctrl+D or type

). If the recorded process is not a shell then recording finishes when the process exits.

If the

argument is omitted then (after asking for confirmation) the resulting asciicast is uploaded to asciinema-server (by default to, where it can be watched and shared.

If the

argument is given then the resulting recording (called asciicast) is saved to a local file. It can later be replayed with
asciinema play 
and/or uploaded to asciinema server with
asciinema upload 

is added to recorded process environment variables. This can be used by your shell's config file (
) to alter the prompt or play a sound when the shell is being recorded.

Available options:

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

Stdin recording allows for capturing of all characters typed in by the user in the currently recorded shell. This may be used by a player (e.g. asciinema-player) to display pressed keys. Because it's basically a key-logging (scoped to a single shell instance), it's disabled by default, and has to be explicitly enabled via



Replay recorded asciicast in a terminal.

This command replays given asciicast (as recorded by

command) directly in your terminal.

Following keyboard shortcuts are available:

  • Space - toggle pause,
  • . - step through a recording a frame at a time (when paused),
  • Ctrl+C - exit.

Playing from a local file:

asciinema play /path/to/asciicast.cast

Playing from HTTP(S) URL:

asciinema play
asciinema play

Playing from asciicast page URL (requires

 in page's HTML):
asciinema play
asciinema play

Playing from stdin:

cat /path/to/asciicast.cast | asciinema play -
ssh [email protected] cat asciicast.cast | asciinema play -

Playing from IPFS:

asciinema play dweb:/ipfs/QmNe7FsYaHc9SaDEAEXbaagAzNw9cH7YbzN4xV7jV1MCzK/ascii.cast

Available options:

  • -i, --idle-time-limit=
    - Limit replayed terminal inactivity to max
  • -s, --speed=
    - Playback speed (can be fractional)

For the best playback experience it is recommended to run

asciinema play
in a terminal of dimensions not smaller than the one used for recording, as there's no "transcoding" of control sequences for new terminal size.


Print full output of recorded asciicast to a terminal.


asciinema play 
replays the recorded session using timing information saved in the asciicast,
asciinema cat 
dumps the full output (including all escape sequences) to a terminal immediately.

asciinema cat existing.cast >output.txt
gives the same result as recording via
asciinema rec --raw output.txt


Upload recorded asciicast to site.

This command uploads given asciicast (recorded by

command) to, where it can be watched and shared.

asciinema rec demo.cast
asciinema play demo.cast
asciinema upload
is a nice combo if you want to review an asciicast before publishing it on


Link your install ID with your user account.

If you want to manage your recordings (change title/theme, delete) at you need to link your "install ID" with user account.

This command displays the URL to open in a web browser to do that. You may be asked to log in first.

Install ID is a random ID (UUID v4) generated locally when you run asciinema for the first time, and saved at

. Its purpose is to connect local machine with uploaded recordings, so they can later be associated with account. This way we decouple uploading from account creation, allowing them to happen in any order.

A new install ID is generated on each machine and system user account you use asciinema on, so in order to keep all recordings under a single account you need to run

asciinema auth
on all of those machines.

asciinema versions prior to 2.0 confusingly referred to install ID as "API token".

Hosting the recordings on the web

As mentioned in the

Usage > rec
section above, if the
argument to
asciinema rec
is omitted then the recorded asciicast is uploaded to You can watch it there and share it via secret URL.

If you prefer to host the recordings yourself, you can do so by either:

Configuration file

You can configure asciinema by creating config file at


Configuration is split into sections (

). Here's a list of all available options for each section:

; API server URL, default: ; If you run your own instance of asciinema-server then set its address here ; It can also be overriden by setting ASCIINEMA_API_URL environment variable url =


; Command to record, default: $SHELL command = /bin/bash -l

; Enable stdin (keyboard) recording, default: no stdin = yes

; List of environment variables to capture, default: SHELL,TERM env = SHELL,TERM,USER

; Limit recorded terminal inactivity to max n seconds, default: off idle_time_limit = 2

; Answer "yes" to all interactive prompts, default: no yes = true

; Be quiet, suppress all notices/warnings, default: no quiet = true

; Define hotkey for pausing recording (suspending capture of output), ; default: C-
pause_key = C-p

; Define hotkey prefix key - when defined other recording hotkeys must ; be preceeded by it, default: no prefix prefix_key = C-a


; Playback speed (can be fractional), default: 1 speed = 2

; Limit replayed terminal inactivity to max n seconds, default: off idle_time_limit = 1

; Define hotkey for pausing/resuming playback, ; default: space pause_key = p

; Define hotkey for stepping through playback, a frame at a time, ; default: . pause_key = ]


; Should desktop notifications be enabled, default: yes enabled = no

; Custom notification command ; Environment variable $TEXT contains notification text command = tmux display-message "$TEXT"

A very minimal config file could look like that:

idle_time_limit = 2

Config directory location can be changed by setting

environment variable.


is set on Linux then asciinema uses
instead of

asciinema versions prior to 1.1 used

. If you have it there you should
mv $HOME/.asciinema $HOME/.config/asciinema


If you want to contribute to this project check out Contributing page.


Developed with passion by Marcin Kulik and great open source contributors.


Copyright © 2011–2019 Marcin Kulik.

All code is licensed under the GPL, v3 or later. See LICENSE file for details.

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