4 Steps to Replace the Terminal in Elementary OS

EDIT (2016-10-06): I’ve removed Freya from the title since this also works in Loki.

Elementary OS is a fantastic looking, blazingly fast and very trim Linux distro that doesn’t get in the way when setting up a web developer environment. There isn’t anything to get in the way while installing git, vim, nodejs and all your favorite npm packages. But if you’re like me, and you spend a lot of time in the terminal, then you’ll likely want to use something other than pantheon-terminal.

Don’t get me wrong, pantheon-terminal has some cute touches, but if you spend all day in one app, it might as well be one you’re used to. Here is how I replaced pantheon-terminal with gnome-terminal

Tutorial Video

Step by Step

  1. Open the AppCenter, search for gnome-terminal and click “install”.

    gnome-terminal in appcenter

    Alternatively you can install it via the command line with:

    sudo apt-get install gnome-terminal
  2. To get gnome-terminal to show in the application launcher, you need edit the gnome-terminal.desktop file. In the terminal, type the following to edit the .desktop file in scratch editor.
    sudo scratch-text-editor /usr/share/applications/gnome-terminal.desktop

    Comment the two lines that start with OnlyShowIn by adding a # at the beginning of the line:

  3. Now, to get gnome-terminal to launch with the super + T key combo, edit the configurations with dconf Editor (install from the AppCenter if you don’t already have it).
    • Navigate to org > gnome > desktop > applications > terminal
    • Change the value of exec to gnome-terminal
    • Change the value of exec-arg to nothing (empty string)

    terminal settings in dconf editor

    Alternatively you can run these two gsettings lines in the terminal:

    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec gnome-terminal
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec-arg ''
  4. I like to keep things clean, so I removed pantheon-terminal, though it’s not completely necessary. Open up the AppCenter and search for pantheon-terminal and click “uninstall”:

    pantheon-terminal in appcenter

    Alternatively, you can use the run this line in the terminal:

    sudo apt-get purge pantheon-terminal

Adam Merrifield


8 thoughts on “4 Steps to Replace the Terminal in Elementary OS

  1. hi,

    I can replace gnome-terminal for pantheon.
    It does not work transparency terminal.
    You know how i can fix this?


  2. hi

    i have replaced my patheon terminal with gnome by following your steps on my Freya, But the transparency is not working. 🙁
    i’m using a paper theme!!,if that matters.

    Thanks 🙂

  3. I replace patheon terminal with lxterminal. The OP put the terminal in the menu automatically.

    1. You should be open with Scratch. If not, go into shell-mode with ctrl-alt-f2 and use nano or vi.

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