Two ways to add a Wallpaper to your Ubuntu Terminal

If you like using the terminal as much as I do, you may have noticed how boring it gets sometimes with its black background and white/grey text. Fortunately, there are some ways to add some life and colors to the command line. Some try to turn the background into some nice spot colors, while others change the text color and font. Here is a way for you to customize the terminal so that it becomes more vibrant and alive by changing the background image of your terminal. Before the release of Ubuntu 18.04, the terminal came with a feature that lets you easily change the background image. Now that this feature has been removed, we had to look for other ways to create a memorable background for ourselves.

In this article, we will explain two ways through which you can change your Terminal’s wallpaper:

  • By editing the Transparency settings in Terminal Preferences.
  • By using the XFCE Terminal

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

Method 1: Edit Transparency settings from Terminal Preferences

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 through the Terminal and will act as a Terminal wallpaper.

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 Ubuntu Terminal

Step 2: Access Terminal preferences

The Terminal preferences let you make several customizations to your overall Terminal experience. This also includes changing the text and background settings 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:

Access Terminal preferences

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

Right-click in the Terminal

The Preferences window opens in the Text view; please click on the Colors tab to edit background preferences. Preferences open 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 background settings.

Step 3: Edit the Preferences

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.

Edit the Preferences

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.

Use transparent background

Method 2: Using the XFCE Terminal for a Custom Wallpaper

Although the GNOME Terminal does not let you have a custom wallpaper as its background, you can switch to the XFCE Terminal easily for a custom wallpaper.

Installing the XFCE Terminal

Please follow these steps in order to install the XFCE Terminal.

Open your Terminal application either through the system Application Launcher Search or through the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut.

The next step is to update your system’s repository index through the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

This helps you in installing the latest available version of the software from the Internet. Please note that only an authorized user can add, remove and configure software on Ubuntu.

Now you are ready to install the XFCE Terminal; you can do so by running the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt-get install xfce4-terminal

Install xfce4-terminal

The system might ask you the password for sudo and also provide you with a Y/n option to continue the installation. Enter Y and then hit enter; the software will be installed on your system. The process may, however, take some time depending on your Internet speed.

Set a Wallpaper in Xfce Terminal

You can launch the XFCE Terminal by looking up for it through the Application Launcher search or by opening it directly from the Applications listing:

XFce Terminal

When you open the Terminal Preferences, it will open in the General view. Please switch to the Appearance tab to change the background.

Terminal Preferences

Try locating the Background option and select Background image from the drop-down. This lets you browse through your files and select a custom image that you can use as a background. You can also choose if you want to use the image as a tiled, center, or stretched (full screen).

This is how my Terminal looks like with a custom background:

Linux Terminal with background Image

Now you can also customize your Terminal with what suits your personality!