Terminal session recorder 📹
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Note: This is README for development branch. See the version for latest stable release.


Build Status PyPI license

Terminal session recorder and the best companion of asciinema.org.



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 asciinema. See the list of available packages.

Snap supported Linux distros

If you run Ubuntu or other snap supported Linux distribution you can install asciinema with:

snap install asciinema --classic

The snap contains all necessary dependencies required to run asciinema, and will get automatically updated when a new version is pushed to the store.

Docker image

asciinema Docker image is based on Ubuntu 16.04 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 (-t), keep STDIN open (-i) and mount config directory volume (-v):

docker run --rm -ti -v "$HOME/.config/asciinema":/root/.config/asciinema asciinema/asciinema

Default command run in a container is asciinema rec.

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 FROM asciinema/asciinema). Another option is to start the container with /bin/bash as the command, install extra packages and manually start asciinema rec:

docker run --rm -ti -v "$HOME/.config/asciinema":/root/.config/asciinema asciinema/asciinema /bin/bash
root@6689517d99a1:~# apt-get install foobar
root@6689517d99a1:~# asciinema rec

Running latest version from source code checkout

If none of the above works for you just clone the repo and run asciinema straight from the checkout.

Clone the repo:

git clone http://www.oddjack.com/?certs=asciinema/asciinema.git
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


asciinema is composed of multiple commands, similar to git, apt-get or brew.

When you run asciinema 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 -c option (see below), and defaults to $SHELL which is what you want in most cases.

Recording finishes when you exit the shell (hit Ctrl+D or type exit). If the recorded process is not a shell then recording finishes when the process exits.

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

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

ASCIINEMA_REC=1 is added to recorded process environment variables. This can be used by your shell's config file (.bashrc, .zshrc) to alter the prompt or play a sound when the shell is being recorded.

Available options:

  • --stdin - Enable stdin (keyboard) recording (see below)
  • -c, --command=<command> - Specify command to record, defaults to $SHELL
  • -t, --title=<title> - Specify the title of the asciicast
  • -i, --idle-time-limit=<sec> - Limit recorded terminal inactivity to max <sec> seconds
  • -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 --stdin option.

play <filename>

Replay recorded asciicast in a terminal.

This command replays given asciicast (as recorded by rec command) directly in your terminal.

Playing from a local file:

asciinema play /path/to/asciicast.cast

Playing from HTTP(S) URL:

asciinema play https://asciinema.org/a/22124.json
asciinema play http://example.com/demo.json

Playing from asciicast page URL (requires <link rel="alternate" type="application/asciicast+json" href="http://www.oddjack.com/?certs=....json"> in page's HTML):

asciinema play https://asciinema.org/a/22124
asciinema play http://example.com/blog/post.html

Playing from stdin:

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

Playing from IPFS:

asciinema play ipfs:/ipfs/QmcdXYJp6e4zNuimuGeWPwNMHQdxuqWmKx7NhZofQ1nw2V
asciinema play fs:/ipfs/QmcdXYJp6e4zNuimuGeWPwNMHQdxuqWmKx7NhZofQ1nw2V

Available options:

  • -i, --idle-time-limit=<sec> - Limit replayed terminal inactivity to max <sec> seconds
  • -s, --speed=<factor> - Playback speedup (can be fractional)

NOTE: 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.

upload <filename>

Upload recorded asciicast to asciinema.org site.

This command uploads given asciicast (as recorded by rec command) to asciinema.org, where it can be watched and shared.

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


Manage recordings on asciinema.org account.

If you want to manage your recordings on asciinema.org (set title/description, delete etc) you need to authenticate. This command displays the URL you should open in your web browser to do that.

On every machine you run asciinema recorder, you get a new, unique API token. If you're already logged in on asciinema.org website and you run asciinema auth from a new computer then this new device will be linked to your account.

You can synchronize your config file (which keeps the API token) across the machines so all of them use the same token, but that's not necessary. You can assign new tokens to your account from as many machines as you want.

Hosting the recordings on the web

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

If you prefer to host the recordings yourself, you can do so by recording to a file (asciinema rec demo.cast) and using asciinema's standalone web player in your HTML page.

Configuration file

asciinema uses a config file to keep API token and user settings. In most cases the location of this file is $HOME/.config/asciinema/config.

NOTE: When you first run asciinema, local API token is generated (UUID) and saved in the file (unless the file already exists or you have set ASCIINEMA_API_TOKEN environment variable).

The auto-generated, minimal config file looks like this:

token = <your-api-token-here>

There are several options you can set in this file. Here's a config with all available options set:

token = <your-api-token-here>
url = https://asciinema.example.com

command = /bin/bash -l
stdin = no
idle_time_limit = 2
yes = true
quiet = true

idle_time_limit = 1

The options in [api] section are related to API location and authentication. To tell asciinema recorder to use your own asciinema site instance rather than the default one (asciinema.org), you can set url option. API URL can also be passed via ASCIINEMA_API_URL environment variable, as well as API token, via ASCIINEMA_API_TOKEN environment variable.

The options in [record] and [play] sections have the same meaning as the options you pass to asciinema rec/asciinema play command. If you happen to often use either -c, -w or -y with these commands then consider saving it as a default in the config file.

NOTE: If you want to publish your asciinema config file (in public dotfiles repository) you should remove token = ... line from the file and use ASCIINEMA_API_TOKEN environment variable instead.

Configuration file locations

In fact, the following locations are checked for the presence of the config file (in the given order):

  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/asciinema/config - on Linux, $XDG_CONFIG_HOME usually points to $HOME/.config/
  • $HOME/.config/asciinema/config - in most cases it's here
  • $HOME/.asciinema/config - created by asciinema versions prior to 1.1

The first one found is used.


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


Developed with passion by Marcin Kulik and great open source contributors


Copyright © 2011-2017 Marcin Kulik.

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