How To Exit From top Command In Linux / Unix / BSD / OS X

I am a new Linux and Unix system users. I was told to use the top command to display and update sorted information about processes. I do not know how to exit from top command. I simply close the Terminal app. How do I exit from top command without closing my Terminal on Linux/Unix-like operating systems?

The top command displays Linux/Unix processes in your Terminal app. You get a dynamic real-time view of a running system. Use top command to see and update information about the top cpu processes on your server. To start top command, just type:
$ top
$ top [options] $ top


How to exit from top command on Linux/Unix-like system

When top is run in interactive (non-logging) mode, it is possible to control the output of top, as well as interactively send signals to processes.

Tutorial details
Difficulty Easy (rss)
Root privileges No
Requirements None
Time 1m
When operating top, the two most important keys are help (h or ?) and quit (q) key.

top command option to quit session

You need to just press q (small letter q) to quit or exit from top session.


Alternatively, you could simply use the traditional interrupt key ^C (press CTRL+C) when you are done with top command.

Getting help with top command

To display help just press ?




Related media (Video) – Exit from top command

This tutorial is also available in a quick video format:

(Video 01: How to exit from top command)

This entry is 1 of 4 in the Exit From Linux and Unix "app" Tutorial series. Keep reading the rest of the series:
  1. How To Exit From top Command In Linux / Unix / BSD / OS X
  2. How To Exit Vim Text Editor Command
  3. Vi / Vim: Save And Quit The Editor Command
  4. How to reload .vimrc file without restarting vim on Linux/Unix
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3 comments… add one
  • aref ghobadi Aug 17, 2015 @ 9:57

    thanks a lot

  • ken Oct 3, 2015 @ 8:28

    On Openwrt and Dd-wrt I found that only “CTRL+C” works to quit using Top “q, h, ?” does not work, on other Linux / Unix based systems I have all the commands to quit Top work “q, h, ?, and CTRL+C”, not sure why but maybe someone else will find this useful.

  • Danny Oct 18, 2016 @ 0:38

    Thanks! Such a simple yet useful tip!

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