Definition

command line interface (CLI)

A CLI (command line interface) is a user interface to a computer's operating system or an application in which the user responds to a visual prompt by typing in a command on a specified line, receives a response back from the system, and then enters another command, and so forth. The MS-DOS Prompt application in a Windows operating system is an example of the provision of a command line interface. Today, most users prefer the graphical user interface (GUI) offered by Windows, Mac OS, BeOS, and others. Typically, most of today's UNIX-based systems offer both a command line interface and a graphical user interface.

This was last updated in April 2005

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