Although Linux users these days get to perform various operations through programs having high-end GUIs, there are multiple reasons to use the Linux command line called the Terminal.

  • Through Terminal, you can access many powerful native Linux commands as well as the empowering command-line features of many desktop applications.
  • You can install software on Linux much easier through the Command Line, than the graphical installation alternative.
  • You might have seen that many online-help guides will tell you how to resolve a problem through the Command Line. No matter which desktop environment you are using or which version of Linux you are on, the Terminal commands are usually the same.
  • Using the Terminal makes certain tasks more efficient and even faster. The command line tools do not use too many resources and thus form great alternatives to the widely used graphical applications, especially if you are stuck up with older hardware.

This article explains some simple ways that you can use through your keyboard, mouse control. or both, in order to open the Debian Terminal application.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 Buster system.

Method 1: Using the Application Launcher Search

The Application Launcher Search lets you look up and open various applications, files, and system components installed on your system. All you have to do is hit the Super(Windows) key and search for the item you want to access. Simply click the search result and your application/file will open

I entered the keyword “terminal” and it listed all the terminal applications installed on my system. I will be clicking on the Terminal (Gnome Terminal) as it is the default terminal emulator for Debian, and also happens to be my favorite.

Application launcher

This is how the Terminal application looks like on Debian:
Debian Terminal
Closing the Terminal is as easy as typing exit and hitting Enter as follows:

$ Exit

Method 2: Using the Run command utility

The Run command window can be used to directly run commands that you would otherwise run by opening the Terminal. You can use the Run command window in order to open the Gnome Terminal as follows:

Use the Alt+F2 shortcut in order to open the Run command window. Then enter the following command and hit the Enter key:


GNOME Terminal

You can even use this command in the Terminal window to open another Terminal session.

Method 3: From the Applications list

The Terminal application is also available in your Debian’s list of applications. As you might know, you can view the installed UI applications through the Applications button located at the bottom(by default) of the Activities Panel/Dock.

Hit the Super key in order to access the Dock and then click on the dotted icon (applications) to view all the installed applications.

Application list on Debian Desktop

Now look up for the Terminal application icon and click on it in order to open the Debian Terminal.

Method 4: Create a Custom keyboard shortcut to open the Terminal

Debian comes with a powerful set of keyboard shortcuts that you can utilize in order to increase your productivity through minimum effort. When you have a good grip on the shortcuts, you can avoid using the mouse; which saves a lot of time. You can also focus more on your work rather than following the mouse pointer. Keyboard shortcuts are especially useful if you do a lot of text editing; your hand muscles will actually thank you for avoiding the mouse. When I shifted from Ubuntu to Debian, what I was missing the most was the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut that I very frequently used to launch the Terminal application. So here is how you can create a similar shortcut in Debian to launch the Terminal.

Open the Settings utility from the Application Launcher search or the down-ward arrow button located at the top right corner of your screen.

Settings Utility

The Settings utility opens in the view you were on, when you last opened Settings.

Click the Devices tab from the left menu of the Settings window. Then, click on the KeyBoard tab from the Devices menu. The following Keyboard view will be displayed in the right panel:

Keyboard Shortcuts

Alternatively, you can directly open the Settings utility in the Keyboard view by searching for “keyboard shortcuts” in the Application Launcher search.

Scroll down the Keyboard view in Settings and click the + button. The Add Custom Shortcut dialog will appear.

Enter the following information in the Add Custom Shortcut menu:

Name: Terminal

Command: gnome-terminal

Add Custom Shortcut

Shortcut: Set a shortcut by pressing the “Set Shortcut” button and then setting a shortcut by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T keys simultaneously. The following dialog will appear:

gnome-terminal shortcut

Click the Add button and your new shortcut is now set.

In the Keyboard Shortcuts list, you will be able to see the newly set shortcut in the Custom Shortcuts column as follows:

Shortcut added

Try this shortcut by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T. The Terminal will appear every time you do so.

So these were four ways for you to open the Terminal application on your Debian system. You are now ready to use the superpowers of the command line.

Four Ways to Open the Terminal in Debian

Karim Buzdar

About the Author: Karim Buzdar holds a degree in telecommunication engineering and holds several sysadmin certifications. As an IT engineer and technical author, he writes for various web sites. You can reach Karim on LinkedIn