Auto-start multiple iTerm2 Sessions

I’ve recently started working on a project where I have to run multiple terminal based tools/watchers simultaneously, and starting up multiple tabs or panes in multiple directories just for development can get a bit cumbersome.

That made me wonder, is there a way to automate iTerm2 and start multiple sessions with one command? Ideally, all the necessary app sessions would take up only 1 tab. Turns out it’s quite easy using the iTerm Python API and iTerm panes.

How to start multiple terminal panes with one command

Step 1 – Create a new iTerm2 Script

Go to Menubar -> Scripts -> Manage -> New Python Script, select “Basic” and then “Simple”.

Step 2 – Edit and paste the following script:

#!/usr/bin/env python3.7 import iterm2 # The commands to run cmd_top_left="cd /path/to/script && make runDatastore" cmd_top_right="cd /path/to/script && make runPubSub" cmd_bottom_right = "cd /path/to/script && npm run dev" cmd_bottom_left = "cd /path/to/project2 && npm run dev" async def main(connection): app = await iterm2.async_get_app(connection) window = app.current_terminal_window if window is not None: # Start a new tab tab = await window.async_create_tab() bottom_left = tab.current_session # Split the tab into multiple panes top_left = await bottom_left.async_split_pane(vertical=False, before=True) top_right = await top_left.async_split_pane(vertical=True) bottom_right = await bottom_left.async_split_pane(vertical=True) # Run commands on each of the panes await bottom_left.async_send_text(cmd_bottom_left + '\n') await bottom_right.async_send_text(cmd_bottom_right + '\n') await top_left.async_send_text(cmd_top_left + '\n') await top_right.async_send_text(cmd_top_right + '\n') else: # You can view this message in the script console. print("No current window") iterm2.run_until_complete(main)
Code language: PHP (php)

You can use `await {pane_name}.async_split_pane` to split and create as many panes as you want in whatever arrangement you’d like. The code above creates 4 panes evenly split in a 2 by 2 square, like so:

Step 3: Launch your script

You can either go to Menubar -> Scripts and select your newly created script, or – just do “cmd + shift + o” in iTerm2, search for your script and hit return.


That’s it. I hope this helps you manage your terminal windows better in the future! 😎