How to Use the New Windows Terminal App in Windows 10

Announced earlier this year at Build 2019, Microsoft’s Windows 10 Terminal app appears to be a boon for developers and those who have always looked to Windows machines with high expectations. The open source terminal app has a range of powerful features including multiple tabs, Unicode and UTF-8 character support, and GPU-accelerated text rendering engine. It is designed to be a complete platform for Command Prompt, PowerShell, WSL and SSH so that developers can have seamless access to all the tools. Even better, this new command-line app also features custom themes and styles for a more personalized experience. If you haven’t gotten your hands on it yet, follow along as I show you how you can use the new Windows Terminal app like a pro.

Install and use the new Windows 10 terminal app

Before proceeding with the process, it would be good to take a look at a few important things you should know. Here are some essential things worth noting before installing the Windows 10 Terminal app.

A few essential things worth noting in advance

Remembering that the application is still a work in progress and the tech giant needs to not only improve its performance, but also fix random bugs. So don’t expect this app to deliver the performance you want, at least for now. And yes, also be ready for battle to put up with some tantrums the app can throw at times. As for compatibility, it requires your computer is running Windows 10 version 18362.0 or higher (architecture: ARM64,x64,x86). You may keep a tab on your progress on GitHub. That said, let’s start with the guide!

Install Terminal App on Windows 10

Pretty much in line with expectations, Microsoft recently released the Terminal app preview on the Microsoft Store, making it much easier for users to install the app from the command line. To get the Terminal app (preview) on your Windows 10 device, just click on this link and follow the normal process to install it right away.

Customize the Windows 10 Terminal App

The best part of the Windows Terminal application is the full customization which makes it an excellent tool for developers. Depending on your workflow, you can customize this command line app ideally to increase your productivity and also bring some fun elements into the mix. For example, you can adjust the terminal theme, set animated GIFs as your background, change text colors, customize font style, and much more. See how you can customize the Windows Terminal app now.

  1. To unlock a multitude of customization options, you will have to first edit the JSON file. Make sure your computer has the default application associated with the JSON file type. To do this, open File Explorer and locate a JSON file.

If you don’t have this type of file, just right-click on the Workspace and choose “Young”. Next, click “Text Document” and rename the file to test.json. Be sure to confirm that you want to change the extension.

Right-click on the desktop and choose New

After that, right-click on the new “JSON file” and select “Open with”. Then select the desired text editor, such as Notepad.

JSON file

2. Now launch the Windows Terminal application. Then click on “down arrow” located in the title bar and select “Definitions.”

Select Settings in the Windows 10 Terminal app

3. Then a The JSON file will open in your favorite editor. Now, go ahead and adjust everything to your needs.

The JSON file will open in your favorite editor

Change the default color scheme

Windows Terminal has several color schemes that you can use to change things like background, cursor shape, font color and more. In addition, you also have the option to select them specifically for Bash, PowerShell, and Command Prompt.

Color scheme

To do this, locate shell profile. Simply go to the section “”profiles” : ” and then change the “colorScheme” : “Campbell” selecting a beautiful color that suits your taste well. You have several options to choose from: Half Dark, Half Light, Dark Solarized, Light Solarized and Campbell.

Change the background

  1. Firstly, place the image file in the “AppData folder” of the Terminal application, which is used to maintain program settings. You can find it in the user profile.

%LOCALAPPDATA%PackagesMicrosoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbweRoamingState

Just copy it in File Explorer path bar and press Log in. You will now be directed to the AppData folder where you can place your image file.

put the image in the AppData folder

2. open Definitions in Windows Terminal and choose the profile you want to change. You should see a lot of profiles in the “”profiles”:” section. Add the following lines just below the “icon line”:

"backgroundImage" : "ms-appdata:///roaming/yourimage.jpg",
"backgroundImageOpacity" : 0.75,
"backgroundImageStrechMode" : "fill",

your image.jpg is the name of the image you selected. Be sure to put the command at the end of each section, excluding the last one. One more important thing worth mentioning is that if you use a GIF file, make sure you replace “To fill” with “uniformToFill”.

Adjust background in Terminal app

3. Then save the file. Voila! The change would take effect immediately.

Change default key bindings

This trick is a must for anyone who likes to use custom keyboard shortcuts. The first section presents key combinations that allow you to adjust keyboard shortcuts.

Change default key bindings

For example, do you want to use “Ctrl+G” shortcut to close tabs. just change “Ctrl+W” to “Ctrl+g”. Make sure you don’t remove the quotes. Then save the file. That’s it! Going forward, you can use this keyboard shortcut to close the active window.

Enable Ubuntu in Windows Terminal App

  1. To get started, make sure you have already installed Ubuntu on your Windows 10 machine.

Then, generate a new GUID (Globally Unique Identifier). This would allow Windows Terminal to differentiate multiple consoles. To do it, look for ubuntu in the start menu and launch it.

Enable Ubuntu in Windows Terminal

2. Then enter the uuidgen command at the Ubuntu window to generate a unique GUID. Copy it and make sure you paste it in a safe place as we will need it.

UUIDGEN

3. After that, start Windows Terminal and then click on drop down icon and choose “Definitions”.

Access Settings in Windows 10

4. Then profiles.json file will open in your default code editor. Now scroll down to the profile matrix and then copy and paste the following code at the end of the Profiles array and make sure to replace the “Your GUID” with what you just copied in step 2.

{
“acrylicOpacity”: 0.75,
“closeOnExit”:true,
“colorScheme”:”Campbell”,
“commandline”:”wsl.exe -d Ubuntu”,
“cursorColor”:”#FFFFFF”,
“cursorShape”:”bar”,
“fontFace”:”Consolas”,
“font size”: 12,
“guide”:”{YOUR_GUID}”,
“historySize”:9001,
“icon”:”C:/Dummy/image.png”,
“name”: “Ubuntu”,
“fill”:”0, 0, 0, 0″,
“snapOnInput”:true,
“startingDirectory”:”%USERPROFILE%”,
“useAcrylic”:true
}

Your GUID

5. Next, make sure press Ctrl + S to save your JSON file.

6. Then go to the Windows Terminal and click the “drop-down menu”. The new Ubuntu option will be waiting for you on the wing. From now on, when you click on Ubuntu option, Ubuntu terminal will launch in Windows Terminal.

Enable Ubuntu in Windows Terminal

Add custom tab icon to Ubuntu tab in terminal app

1. First, find the icon you would like to use. Make sure the icon is in PNG format and presents a transparent background. In addition, its size must be 32×32. I always found IconFile a great font as it offers tons of awesome fonts. Then, jump here to get a nice font. When you have the icon, save it to your hard drive.

2. Then open the profiles.json file and go to Ubuntu Profile. After that, you need to find the “icon value” and replace your path with suitable icon path.

Add Custom Tab Icon to Ubuntu Tab

3. Finally, save the file. Take a look! The new icon will be applied instantly.

SEE ALSO: How to Set Screensaver in Windows 10

Get the Most Out of Windows 10’s Powerful Terminal App

For developers, the new Windows Terminal app is one of the best things to ever happen to Windows. Thanks to several powerful features and unparalleled customization, it has become a great asset for both developers and professional users. As someone who found this command line app super useful, I can’t wait to get my hands on the full version of this app when it launches this winter. By the way, cast your thoughts about the app and let me know the things you found highly appreciable about it.

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