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Just like any other terminal emulator for UNIX-based systems, xfce4-terminal emulates the text-based terminal that you most likely see when your system is starting up. Although there are a plethora of other terminal emulators available for the X environment, xfce terminal offers several useful features :

  • Multiple tabs per terminal window
  • Most aspects of the terminal, including the toolbars, font, and scrollbar, can easily be configured by using the 'preferences' dialog window
  • Support for both MultiScreen and Xinerama


If you have emerged the xfce4-meta package, then you should have xfce4-terminal installed on your system. If you are interested in using xfce4-terminal with a desktop environment other than xfce, perhaps in a standalone window manager such as Openbox, you will have to emerge the program using the following command:

root # emerge xfce4-terminal

Chances are, if you are installing xfce4-terminal in a window manager or desktop environment different from xfce, it will pull in some xfce-based dependencies that it requires to run. If you do not like the idea of cluttering up your lean system with a few additional packages, consider checking out something with fewer requirements, such as Xterm.


If you are using the xfce4 desktop environment and xfce4-terminal is installed on your system, it should be located in your applications menu under the category "System." If you are not running the xfce4 desktop environment, launch the xfce terminal as you would any other application that you have installed on your system. After you launch the terminal, you will notice the terminal window has appeared on your screen (what a surprise, right?). You can now begin hacking away to your heart's desire from your newly installed terminal emulator.

Configuration Options

If something doesn't look right with the terminal to you, chances are, you can configure your problem away. To open the xfce4-terminal preferences dialog, go to the menubar at the top of the terminal window and select the category "Edit." Then choose the subcategory "Preferences..." to launch the preferences window.


To change the default font that the terminal uses, navigate to the tab labeled "Appearance" in the preferences dialog. Then, select the first box that says "Font." After selecting this window, you will be able to choose from any of the fonts installed on your system to use as the default xfce4-terminal font. For a really nice looking terminal font, consider emerging the package No results and then selecting the "Ubuntu Mono" option from the font selection dialog. The font seems to look best between sizes 10 and 12 in the terminal.


if you are interested in having a transparent background to your terminal window, navigate to the "Appearance" tab of the preferences dialog and select the box below "Background." After clicking on this box, choose the option "Transparent Background." After choosing the option, a slider should appear below the box that allows you to set the alpha level of the background. The closer the value is to 1, the more opaque the background will be. The closer the value is to 0, the background will become more transparent. If you do not get the desired transparency effect after changing this value, you may not be running a compositor on your desktop, which is required to have active transparent backgrounds on windows like this one. For a fairly efficient, very customizable compositor, consider reading the page on Compton.

Scrollbar Location

To change where the scrollbar is located on the terminal window, open the preferences dialog. In the first tab, choose the second to last option. By clicking on the listbox next to the text "Scollbar is:" you can set the scrollbar location to either be disabled, on the left of the terminal window, or on the right of the terminal window.

Default Geometry

If you think that the xfce4-terminal window is too small or too big when it launches for the first time, you can change its default size quite easily. To do so, open the preferences dialog for the terminal and navigate to the tab labeled "Appearance." Above the section titled "Tab Activity Indicator" are two text boxes next to one another. The first one from the left sets how many columns of text the window will have on launch and the second one sets how many rows of text the window will have. By increasing the number of columns, the window will become wider and by increasing the number of rows, the window will become 'taller.' To shrink the width or height of the window, decrease the value for columns or rows, respectively.

Background and Text Colors

If the default colors for the xfce terminal do not look particularly appealing to you, you can easily change the background color, the text color, and the cursor color. To do this, open the preferences dialog and select the tab labeled "Colors." The upper most colors allow you to configure the color of the different parts of the terminal like text and background mentioned above. If you are in a hurry and don't want to bother wTODOith tweaking the colors so they look just right, consider using one of the predefined themes listed under "Presets" at the bottom of the window. One of the nicer looking themes is "Dark Pastels." If you liked the Matrix, you might enjoy "Green on Black," or if you like the black and white of the vty, try "White on Black." After selecting the theme you like most or creating your own, the settings will be stored so that the terminal looks the way you want it to on every startup.

Command line options

Below is a table of command line options that can be used with xfce4-terminal. Realize that arguments should always be passed in the form of:

user $ xfce4-terminal --option1 --option2 --optionx

Adding additional arguments can be useful to users who want something other than appearance-related settings to be the same between different instances of the xfce terminal. Using xfce4, it is quite easy to edit the launcher for xfce4-terminal so that it takes specific arguments every time that it is started using the launcher.

--default-working-directory=DIRSet the value of $DIR to the directory that you would like the terminal to start in.
--tabOpen a new tab in the terminal window when it opens. This can be useful if, when the terminal starts up, you want to execute several commands simultaneously.
-e COMMANDExecute $COMMAND in the terminal window when xfce4-terminal launches
--drop-downLaunch the terminal in drop-down mode. The terminal hangs from the top of the screen and has a row of tabs at the bottom of its window. This has been called a "quake-style" terminal.

For more information on possible command line arguments for xfce terminal, read man xfce4-terminal.