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command-line interface (CLI) is a mechanism for interacting with a computer operating system or software by typing commands to perform specific tasks. This method of instructing a computer to perform a given task is referred to as "entering" a command: the system waits for the user to conclude the submitting of the text command by pressing the "Enter" or "Return" key (return comes from the "carriage return" key of a typewriter keyboard).

It is a text-only interface - requiring the user to type in words rather than use a mouse pointer with a graphical user interface (GUI) to click on options, or select items from menus set out on a text user interface (TUI).