Customizing The Ubuntu Terminal

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The Obvious:

With a terminal open select Edit -> Profile Preferences. In here you can set background color, transparency, font, font-size, text colors and more. A couple not-quite obvious things I like to do. Uncheck the ‘show menubar by default in new terminals’ - it just isn’t very useful and a right click in the terminal gives you some of those options anyway and if what you need is not there you can easily bring back the menubar from there. Increase the number of scrollback lines - personally I at least double it to 1024 lines as Grails errors are long and ugly and that is the framework I spend a lot of my time working with. Your mileage may vary.


The .bashrc file in your home directory is where extra configuration options lie.


Ubuntu disables the prompt being a different color. but simply uncomment the proper line in .bashrc and you’ll undo that. Look in the vicinity of line 36-40. The comment says the goal is to avoid distraction… just doesn’t make sense to me. A colored prompt helps me distinguish certain pieces of text from others, so for me, it is essentially the opposite of a distraction helping me focus on the pieces I need to read from the pieces I don’t.


Many Linux command line gurus expect “ll” or certain other common aliases to work. Uncomment a couple more lines in Ubuntu’s .bashrc file and they will. Look in the vicinity of line 80-83. you’ll also see just a couple lines down:

# Alias definitions.

# You may want to put all your additions into a separate file like

# ~/.bash_aliases, instead of adding them here directly.

# See /usr/share/doc/bash-doc/examples in the bash-doc package.

if [ -f ~/.bash_aliases ]; then

. ~/.bash_aliases


So if you’d like to add extra aliases create a .bash_aliases file and fill it in. Sweet right?!

2020 update

just use oh-my-zsh and plugins that come bundled with it.