Three ways to Customize the Ubuntu Command Line

If you are as fond of running all of your tasks through the Terminal as much as I am, you might have also noticed how boring it sometimes becomes with its black background and white/grey text. Fortunately, there are some ways to add up some life and colors to the command line. Some try to change the background to some eye-pleasing solid colors; while others change the text color and font. In this article, we will explain three ways through which you can customize your overall Terminal experience:

  • Change the Terminal Font
  • Change the Wallpaper
  • Configure the Terminal Bell

If the Terminal is so boring, why do we even use the command line after all?

If you are a Terminal-savvy person, you wouldn’t want to leave the comfort of the command line and go somewhere else to do any of your daily technical activities. There is always a way to do almost all of our stuff right inside the Terminal. 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.

So let us explore how you can customize the Ubuntu command line according to your visual needs on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

Changing the Terminal Font

If you are afraid that the default font size may hurt your vision in the long run or if the font itself is not pleasing to your eyes, there are ways to change that. The Terminal interface is more customizable than you think. Customizing the font size is just one of the many settings that you can make to your command line experience.

Please follow these steps in order to customize your Terminal’s text font:

Step 1: Open the Terminal

Open the Terminal application either by using the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut or by accessing it through the application launcher search as follows:

Open the Terminal

Step 2: Access Terminal preferences

The Terminal preferences let you make several customizations to your overall Terminal experience. This also includes changing the font and font size of the Terminal text. There are two ways through which you can access the Preferences view:

1. Click on the Edit menu and then select the Preferences option as follows:

Terminal Preferences

2. Right-click in the Terminal window and then select Preferences from the menu as follows:

Right-click in terminal

The preferences view opens in the following view. Preferences view opens in an Unnamed profile view by default. Preferences let you create custom profiles that you can apply to your Terminal according to your needs. However, we will use this default Unnamed profile to edit the Font settings:

Terminal preferences

Step 3: Edit the Preferences

In the Preferences view, try locating the Custom font option that is unchecked by default. Now that you want to enable a custom font, check this option and then click on the Font type and size button. By default, this button will have Monospace Regular 12 as the selected font. The following “Choose a Terminal Font” option will open when you click on this button:

Change Terminal Font

This dialog lets you search for a font, scroll through a list of fonts, and gives you a preview of the selected font. Select the font you want from here and then enter a text size either through the slider or through the input field.

Then click on the Select button located at the top-right corner of the dialog to confirm your selection. This will take you back to the Preferences view:

Custom font

Click on the Close button and you will see the newly selected font and font size enabled on your Terminal:

New font enabled in Ubuntu Terminal

Through this easy method, you can customize your Terminal text and font size right according to what is comfortable and pleasing to your eyes.

Changing the Terminal Wallpaper

Here, we will introduce you to a way of customizing the Terminal that makes it more vivid and lively-by changing its wallpaper. Before the release of Ubuntu 18.04, the Terminal used to come with a feature that would let you change the wallpaper easily. Now, that this feature has been removed, so we had to look for other ways to get a catchy background.

Please follow these steps in order to turn the transparency of your Terminal background to the highest. This way, your Desktop wallpaper will be visible right through the Terminal and will act as a Terminal wallpaper.

The first thing you will be doing is accessing the Terminal preferences as described in the above section “ Changing the Terminal Font”.

In the Colors view of Terminal preferences, try locating the “Use transparency from the system theme” option that is checked by default. Please uncheck this option as we want to keep custom transparency.

Change Terminal Wallpaper and use transparent terminal background

The “Use transparent background” option will become available now. Check this option and set the transparency to full. Close this view by clicking the Close button and you will be able to see your Ubuntu’s desktop background visible through the Terminal, acting as your Terminal’s wallpaper.

Changes Terminal wallpaper

Configuring the Terminal Bell

If you are a frequent Terminal user, or even a new-bie, you might have experienced an annoying beeping sound when you do something that is “not allowed”. For example, if you are in your Terminal and hit backspace when there are no characters to delete, this bell will ring. Another instance when this bell is played is when you are trying to tab complete a command although there are no completions for it. If you still can’t figure out what sound we are talking about, try running the following command in your Terminal, and you will know how this Terminal bell sounds:

$ echo -e '\a'

The solution to getting this annoying sound muted is through the Terminal itself. All you need to do is make use of the Terminal Preferences UI to turn off this sound. This way you can focus more on the work at hand rather than experiencing the disturbing sound that does nothing more than just distracting you.

Please follow these steps in order to mute the Terminal bell from the Terminal itself:

The first thing you will be doing is accessing the Terminal preferences as described in the above section “ Changing the Terminal Font”.

In the Preferences view, try locating the “Terminal bell” option under the Sound category. This option is checked by default which means that the Hardware beep is enabled.

Configure Terminal Bell

Uncheck this option in order to turn off the Terminal bell. Click on the Close button and check the Terminal bell now; it will not beep on any trigger. You can verify this easily by hitting the ‘backspace’ or “tab” key when nothing is entered on the command prompt.

So these were three ways through which you can give a customized look & feel to your Ubuntu Terminal and gain even more power over the command line.