Configuring Windows Terminal

Windows Terminal is an advanced host application for command-line shells such as Command Prompt and PowerShell as well as Linux shells via Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). It offers many customizable features.

Customize various aspects of an app, from its behavior and appearance, to how you interact with it. Use these tips to get the most out of it.

Keyboard shortcuts

Windows Terminal features an extensive set of keyboard shortcuts designed to make working with it quicker and simpler. You can use these keys to quickly open a profile in a new tab, close an active pane or adjust its size; zooming can increase or decrease font sizes; these settings are saved with your profile so they can be restored at a later session, and other customization options such as background images and gifs are also available on its Appearance page.

Quake Mode allows you to toggle a command prompt on top of your terminal, similar to what would appear if pressing the tilde () key in Quake was activated. This keystroke sequence can be found within File menu in bottom-right corner or by pressing Win+T.

Windows Terminal allows you to divide terminal windows into multiple panes for easier command management, making the experience of working on different commands simpler. Switch between panes using either the drop-down menu in the terminal bar, Alt keys, or cursor keys. Finally, when closing one or all terminal panes simply type exit (usually exit).

Windows Terminal tabs can be customized to your preferences by reordering, renaming and coloring them to meet them. You can do this by either clicking and dragging on the tab bar, using Ctrl+Tab keyboard shortcut, right-clicking a tab to reorder or rename, or clicking down array next to a tab to access command palette.

Create custom actions in the Command Palette to customize the behavior of any key. An action is a string of commands that executes when a key is pressed; its properties determine which keyboard shortcut it applies to, whether globalSummon actions activate and what happens if its trigger comes up elsewhere.

If you create an action, the text box at the bottom of the dialog will show its description and any available key combinations for use by this action. Note that no existing key binding is being utilized by another action or binding within your command palette.

Split panes

Microsoft’s Windows Terminal now features multi-shell capabilities. Users can run Command Prompt, PowerShell or Linux shells all within one window using its new Split Pane feature – offering various ways of manipulating and using this multi-shell feature: tabbed windows for each shell or combine existing windows into one large split screen display are among these ways of use.

Windows Terminal’s split panes feature is similar to popular Linux shell multiplexers like tmux and GNU Screen, enabling you to resize terminal windows by dragging their edges or assigning key bindings for splitting and resizing them. A separate window may also be marked read-only to prevent input entering its text buffer, with Windows Terminal warning you when closing or clicking a read-only pane.

wt -g and wt -l have no effect on the split panes feature; however, you can alter its behavior by binding settings to a keyboard shortcut binding such as splitPane action (see Customize key bindings article for more information). You may also enable or disable showing an icon for each shell in a tab by setting Show icon to true or false respectively.

Create a session in Tmux by typing Ctrl + B + % to keep track of different sets of panes you have open. Sessions can be found in the green bar at the bottom, and to switch sessions, just press its respective key.

Last month, Microsoft unveiled an update to Windows Terminal that introduced some UI improvements, such as increased color contrast between windows and rounded corners for its dropdown menu. You can download this version of Windows Terminal from Microsoft Store; its release notes also note that reordering tabs may cause it to crash unexpectedly or exhibit unexpected behavior.

Appearance

Windows Terminal features a variety of settings that enable you to tailor the look and feel of its application, such as color scheme, font properties, cursor shape and background image settings. Utilizing these settings is straightforward: to access them click the down-arrow in the menu bar then Settings then Appearance then Appearance Tab – once on Appearance click any setting then Appearance then Appearance then choose Appearance then Appearance to see available options (Figure A) then to change one click it then choose one option then save button then save button before exiting Windows Terminal!

Zusatzlich to general appearance settings, there are also specific ones that determine how each profile looks. Example settings: “profileName” specifies the GUID of a profile to use when Windows Terminal is launched, while the “copyOnSelect” setting determines if selecting text copies it directly to your clipboard (default behavior). Your window allows you to specify various options that affect how the tab row appears. For instance, “showTabsInTitleBar” determines whether or not tabs appear in the title bar while “tabLength” specifies how long each tab should be. Finally, compact allows inactive tabs to shrink down to their icon width to give active ones more room for their titles to display fully.

Appearance page gives you more than individual settings; it also enables you to personalize Windows Terminal’s overall theme by choosing from one of Microsoft’s three predefined themes and customizing various aspects such as background opacity and acrylic material.

Another useful feature is being able to run multiple versions of Windows Terminal at the same time, such as opening both WSL command prompt and PowerShell or Command Prompt profiles simultaneously in separate panes of your terminal (Figure B). You can do this either from within Windows terminal itself, or with shortcuts created with Winfetch (Figure A).

The main configuration page allows you to choose which profiles are available in the left-hand column and customize their settings individually. For instance, you can change the “defaultProfile” name or specify which fonts will be used when running applications in that profile. Furthermore, cursor shapes and backgrounds for each profile can be customized along with transparency controls in their background settings and font settings.

Configuration

Windows Terminal supports an extensive variety of configuration options, from font and color schemes to key bindings and creating split window panes. You can access and change these settings by either clicking the down arrow in the tab bar and selecting Settings or by using Ctrl+, (comma). Your settings are stored as an editable JSON file so it’s easy to share profiles or save versions for yourself.

Configuration includes options to set what will open when you launch Windows Terminal (PowerShell, Command Prompt, Azure Cloud Shell or an administrative version of any of these). In addition, you can specify an initial number of character columns and rows in the window; this is especially helpful for users with large displays who need their terminal maximized and in focus. Other customizable properties include “copyOnSelect”, which copies text selected with either mouse or keyboard to the clipboard when Ctrl + Shift + C is pressed; “compact”, which causes inactive tabs to collapse into their icon size when not being displayed.

Windows Terminal’s configuration can be expanded using profiles, each of which has an unique GUID. Each profile can have its own set of settings relating to name, icon, font size and style, color scheme scheme, cursor shape and background image allowing a virtually limitless variety of configuration possibilities.

Create and use new profiles easily by clicking the plus icon in the tab bar or pressing Ctrl + +, (comma). Each new tab that opens will use your configured profile, with clicking again opening up default mode if not already present; or use the dropdown menu that appears when clicking an arrow in the tab bar or Ctrl +, (comma) to choose which profile to open from among a range.

Add commands that will run when opening the terminal, such as clearing the cache, checking that PowerShell and Windows Terminal are running their latest version, checking for system log errors and more. You can view which version each component is currently using by viewing its About page in Windows Terminal toolbar or following links to their GitHub pages.

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