The Terminal window allows you to enter Linux commands on a command line (Applications | Accessories | Terminal). It also provides you with a shell interface for using shell commands instead of your desktop. The command line is editable, allowing you to use the backspace key to erase characters on the line. Pressing a key will insert that character. You can use the left and right arrow keys to move anywhere on the line, and then press keys to insert characters, or use backspace to delete characters. Folders, files, and executable files are color coded: black for files, blue for folders, green for executable files, and aqua for links. Shared folders are displayed with a green background.
The terminal window will remember the previous commands you entered. Use the up and
down arrows to have those commands displayed in turn on the command line. Press the ENTER key to re-execute the currently displayed command. You can even edit a previous command before running it, allowing you to execute a modified version of a previous command. This can be helpful if you need to re-execute a complex command with a different argument, or if you mistyped a complex command and want to correct it without having to re-type the entire command. The terminal window will display all your previous interactions and commands for that session. Use the scrollbar to see any previous commands you ran and their displayed results.
You can open as many terminal windows as you want, each working in its own shell. Instead of opening a separate window for each new shell, you can open several shells in the same window, using tabbed panels. Select Open Tab from the File menu to open a new tab window (Shift-Ctrl-t). Each tab runs a separate shell, letting you enter different commands in each. You can use the Tabs menu to move to different tabs, or just click on its tab to select it. The Tab menu is displayed on the toolbar only if multiple tabs are open. For a single window, the Tab menu is not shown.
The terminal window also supports GNOME desktop cut/copy and paste operations. You
can copy a line from a Web page and then paste it to the terminal window (you can use the Paste entry on the Terminal window’s Edit menu, or press Shift-Ctrl-v). The command will appear and then you can press ENTER to execute the command. This is useful for command line operations displayed on an instructional Web page. Instead of typing in a complex command yourself, just select and copy from the Web page directly, and then paste to the Terminal window. You can also perform any edits on the command if needed before executing it.
You can customize terminal windows using profiles. A default profile is set up already. You can create new ones with customized preferences. To customize your terminal window select Profile Preferences from the Edit menu. This opens a window for setting your profile options with tabs for General, Title and Command, Colors, Background, Scrolling, and Compatibility. The window title lists your current profile. This will be the default profile if you have not set up and selected another profile.
To create a new profile, choose New Profile from the File menu. This opens a Profiles window listing current profiles. Click the New button to open the New Profile window where you can enter the profile name and select any profile to base it on. The default profile will be chosen initially. To edit a profile, select Profiles from the Edit menu to open the Profile window listing your profiles. Select the one you want to edit and then click the Edit button to open the Editing Profile window for that profile.
On the General tab, you can select the default size of a terminal window in text rows and
The Scrolling tab specifies the number of command lines your terminal history will keep. These are the line you can move back through and select to re-execute. You can set this to
unlimited to keep all the commands. You can also place the scrollbar on the right or left side.
Your terminal window will be set up to use a black background with white text. To change this you can edit the profile to change the background and text colors on the Colors tab. De-select the “Use colors from system theme” entry. This enables the “Built-in schemes” menu from which you can select a “Black on white” display. Other color combinations are also listed such as “Black on light yellow” and “Green on black.” The Custom option lets you choose your own text and background colors. The colors on your open terminal window will change according to your selection, allowing you to see how the colors choices will look.
Should you want a transparent or image background, use the Background tab. Initially the background will be set to solid color (the colors chosen on the Colors tab). To use an image instead select the Background image entry and then choose an image file. For a transparent background, choose the Transparent background entry and then set the amount of shading (none is completely transparent and maximum show no transparency).