How to Customize the New Windows Terminal App

Windows Terminal with a background showing an ocean wave

With the new Windows Terminal application, Windows finally finally a tabbed terminal that can execute the Cmd, PowerShell, and Bash prompts in the same window. It's also deeply customizable – you can even define Animated GIFs as a background.

Beyond the background, you can also change the theme of the terminal. Whether it's text colors or backgrounds or font style, you can customize your Windows terminal. Microsoft has even included several predefined themes. All you need is a text editor and a basic knowledge of JSON. If you do not know JSON, you can probably still make changes. we will guide you through.

How to customize the Windows terminal

Windows terminal json configuration file, indicating a custom background option.

The first step in customizing the Windows terminal is to verify that Windows has a default application associated with the JSON file type. The best way to do this is to use the file explorer.

Launch the file explorer and look for a JSON file. If you do not have one, create one. Right-click on File Explorer and "New," and then click "Text Document."

Rename the file in test.json (by deleting the .txt extension in the process) and confirm that you want to change the extension. If you do not see the .txt file extension, tell File Explorer to display file extensions.

File Explorer submenu with arrows pointing to New and Text

Then, right-click on the new JSON file and choose the option "Open With." Choose your favorite text editor, whether it's Notepad ++ or Notepad.

Now that you have a text editor set for JSON files, it's time to change the Windows Terminal settings. Open Windows Terminal and click on the down arrow in the title bar (just to the right of the plus symbol) and choose "Settings".

Windows terminal with arrows pointing to the down arrow and configuration options.

A JSON file will launch in the editor you will have chosen earlier. You can make any changes here.

How to change the background

Windows terminal with a cat typing at the bottom of the keyboard gif

You can change the background to any type of image file: PNG file, JPEG file, or even an animated GIF file.

To change the background of one of the shells, you must first place the image file in a location that is readable by Terminal App. Windows Terminal is an application of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). He prefers to use his own AppData folder. AppData is a folder that you usually find in the user profile and is used to store program settings. UWP applications create a custom AppData folder and use it instead. The AppData folder of Windows Terminal is located in:

% LOCALAPPDATA% Packages Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_8wekyb3d8bbwe RoamingState

Just copy that into the file explorer's path bar and press Enter; you will be taken to the right place. Place your image files here and Windows Terminal can use them for the backgrounds.

Provide a background image for Windows Terminal

Open Settings in Windows Terminal and scroll to the profile you want to edit. There are several profiles in the "profiles" section: ". Each corresponds to a menu option: Cmd, PowerShell, Linux distributions, etc. You can find out which one is by looking at the line "command line" or "name" of each section.

To change the background image of any of these sections, under the "icon" line, add the following lines:

"backgroundImage": "ms-appdata: ///roaming/yourimage.jpg",
"backgroundImageOpacity": 0,75,
"backgroundImageStrechMode": "fill",

Where "yourimage.jpg" is the name of your image or gif file. Make sure each line in the section, except for the last one, ends with a comma.

If you are using a GIF file, you may want to replace "fill" with "uniformToFill". We ended up with a black box around our GIF with "padding", but that was fine with "uniformToFill."

Setting a background image in the Windows Terminal JSON file

Save the file and your changes should appear immediately, even with Windows Terminal open.

How to modify the default key bindings

The first section is about keyboard shortcuts. If you do not like keyboard shortcuts, you can edit them here. For example, if you want Ctrl + e to close the tabs, you will find this section:

"command": "closeTab",

Replace "ctrl + w" with "ctrl + e" (making sure you keep the quotation marks), and then save the file. If you want to align everything with the existing indentation, be aware that the file uses spaces rather than tabs. And as our screenshots show, the file uses Unix line endings, but most text editors (even Notepad) can handle Unix line endings without problems.

Windows Terminal Key Link Options.

How to change the default color scheme

Windows Terminal comes with several color schemes that change the color of the font, the color of the background, the shape of the cursor, and so on. You can choose themes individually for Command Prompt, Bash, and PowerShell.

To change the default theme, start by searching for the desired shell profile by scrolling the screen to the "profiles" section: "and by looking at the command line entry of each subsection.

The command prompt is located under: "command line": "cmd.exe", for example. Then change the "colorScheme": "Campbell" to the color of your choice. You have a choice between Campbell, Half a Dark, Half Light, Dark Solarized and Solar Light. If you wanted Solarized Light, for example, change the color scheme line to "colorScheme": "Solarized Light.These are the same color schemes used by Microsoft colortool utility.

Windows terminal color scheme option for cmd.exe.

Windows Terminal is very interesting and gives you a small preview of the old Microsoft software. Windows sets functionality. The functionality of the tabs is not as robust, but it's a clue to what could have been. At the very least, you no longer need to switch programs to navigate between Command Prompt, Powershell and Bash.

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