• ARTICLES
SEARCH

How-To Geek

Make your Gnome Terminal Background (mostly)Transparent on Ubuntu

The Gnome terminal window has the built in ability to show a transparent background. It’s not true transparency, as it simply shows through the background picture, but it’s close enough.

Open up a terminal window, and go to the Edit \ Current Profile menu:

Click on the Effects tab, and then check the Transparent background radio button. The slider will let you control how transparent the background is. All the way to the left is fully transparent.

I left it a little bit shaded, here’s what it looks like over the default Ubuntu background:

This trick is most useful when you have a very dark or very light background.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/10/06

Comments (13)

  1. Joe

    Thanks Dude I have been looking for a way change the the fonts and the background of the terminal, It was very nice guide :-)

  2. Brett

    Awesome, did exactly what I wanted! Thanks for sharing with the world. :)

  3. Matthew

    Thanks!

  4. barry

    Thank you – nice and simple – screen shots are great help.

  5. LinuxCrayon

    I’m assuming this is for a version of Ubuntu

  6. Eduardo

    If you want ANY window to be transparent you can use an even easier trick on Ubuntu.
    Hold down your Alt key and use your mouse scroll wheel and you can gradually change the transparency of any window selected. I don’t know if this only because I have ATI drivers and settings but it works for me.

  7. Nishant

    But wait…
    In my computer, what happens when I do the above settings is that the terminal becomes completely transparent. So, that means if I open a window also, the terminal will now show not the background picture, but this openend window as background.
    How do I resolve this?
    I want only the desktop background picture as the background of my terminal at all times.

  8. Nishant

    But wait…
    In my computer, what happens when I do the above settings is that the terminal becomes completely transparent. So, that means if I open a window also, the terminal will now show not the background picture, but this openend window as background.
    How do I resolve this?
    I want only the desktop background picture as the background of my terminal at all times…

  9. leenux

    thx =)

  10. CyJambo

    thx a lot!

  11. Rydea

    Seems this behaves a bit differently if you have Compiz or Metacity running. With Compiz it turns the window transparent so you can see other windows behind it. With Meta city it displays your desktop background image.

  12. HSAM

    Thank you it work for me!!! and was really easy I’ve thought that It would be more difficult!!!

  13. AG

    @Nishant

    I find fully transparent terminal windows very useful. For example, when following a method on a web page I can still see the page under the window and don’t have to keep switching between the two. However, that’s just me. After updating my PC I found that the fully transparent terminal disappeared and the pseudo transparency of just the background popped up. Wasn’t until I upgraded top Ubuntu 11.04 that I had it back – but only for some users. I assume an incompatibility with my Intel graphics card was the problem on 10.10. A bit of delving showed that somehow the users who couldn’t use it were running metacity and those who could were running the gnome-wm. So the method:

    Alt-F2 and type gconf-editor then press Run…

    In gconf-editor use the path: / > desktop > gnome > session > required components…

    Right click on the “windowmanager” key and edit it….

    Change the value to “metacity” for just pseudo transparency and “gnome-wm” for full transparency (assuming your graphics card/OS version can hack it).

    There may be an easier way of doing all that, but I know not what. Hope this helps.

Get Free Articles in Your Inbox!

Join 134,000 newsletter readers

Email:

Go check your email!