Howto create a Transparent Terminal in Ubuntu Desktop

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This tutorial will explain how to create a Transparent Terminal in Gnome Background using alltray

With AllTray you can dock any application with no native tray icon (like Evolution, Thunderbird, Terminals) into the system tray. A high-light feature is that a click on the "close" button will minimize back to system tray. It works well with Gnome, KDE, XFCE 4*, Fluxbox* and WindowMaker*. (*) No drag ‘n drop support. Enable with "-nm" option.

Install alltray in ubuntu

sudo aptitude install alltray

This will complete the installation

Configuring Transparent Terminal

First you need to open Gnome Terminal from applications--->Accessories--->Terminal

Once it opens go to Edit--->Profiles

Once it opens you should see similar to the following screen here you need to Press the New button

Once it opens you should see similar to the following screen here you need to give the new profile a name and click on create

The profile editor dialog should open.

Here, uncheck ‘Show menubar by default in new terminals’.

Go to Effects tab, select ‘Transparent background’ and set the transparency amount close to None.

Go to Scrolling tab and select Disabled from the drop-down list.

Close the editing profile dialog and in the Profiles dialog, select the newly created profile from the ‘Profile used when launching a new terminal’ drop-down list of your choice and close it.

Create a new launcher on the Desktop (right click on the background)

Now you need to enter a name for it,insert the following command in the ‘Command’ field,comment field and click on ok

alltray -x -st -g +380+5 "gnome-terminal --window-with-profile=tterm --geometry=110x30"

Launcher created on desktop as follows

Make sure that one of your Gnome panels has the ‘Notification Area’ applet.Open the launcher created on the desktop and click on the terminal icon in the notification area. You should now have a transparent terminal in your background.

One more Transparent Terminal screenshot

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12 Responses

  1. machiner says:

    It’s a Windows mentality to install software to do a job that can be done without it.

    See my transparent terminal, using no ancillary software but only the preferences in the terminal itself. It’s the xfce4-terminal on the xfce4 desktop but the same can be done in Gnome with it’s terminal.

  2. Impressed one says:

    Riiiiiight… that was ‘useful’…

  3. michael says:

    This is somewhat useless because if you have any text behind the terminal it becomes impossible to read. A great work around is the blur plugin for compiz.

  4. Michael S says:

    If you open up the GNOME terminal in ubuntu, click on ‘Edit’ and then ‘Current Profile’, go to ‘Effects’ tab and click on ‘Transparent Background’, you will have exactly the same thing – with one major difference. The transparent background will be your desktop wallpaper only. If your terminal is on top of any other app (such as Firefox), that will not show through. Thus, your terminal text isn’t competing for your eyes.

    Also, you can change the font color at the same time, so if your background is very dark, you don’t strain yourself trying to read black. You can read white or any other contrasting color you like.

  5. Locke2007 says:

    How about this : a slide down (also transparent) terminal/console like you would find in many first person shooter games for your Gnome desktop

  6. John says:

    “It’s a Windows mentality to install software to do a job that can be done without it.”

    It’s a Linux mentality to expect that common everyday people are comfortable living in the guts of the OS or in endless conf files (or even programming/scripting). Personally, I’d prefer to not recreate the wheel just because I can.

    Kudos to the author of the howto article! I found it very useful/interesting. I’m using Ubuntu as a VM and on a bootable USB.

  7. jase says:

    It isnt Linus’s fault that linux is so configurable. perhaps more than windows will ever be. For one “user friendly” GUI front-end to software in windows, there would be a countless number of check boxes to own up to the amount of options in Linux. You would clickety click your way off the window. Thats why text is better.
    If you RTFM like every individual in this planet should (setting an alarm clock for instance), then your so called “expectations” would be irrelevant.
    Its in a book at fu**** reading rainbow. *nods*
    To expect that “common everyday people” use Windows is false. There is no “common everyday people use windows” here in the computer world my friend. To expect that it wont take as long to learn Linux as you did to learn Windows, is false. If YOU are actually “tired” of windows or just wanting to “experiment” with Linux or even having the slightest bit of interest at all to use Linux as a secondary boot, then I can pretty much tell that this “Linux mentality” statement of yours is a poor man’s excuse not to RTFM and explore your options.

  8. Carson McNeil says:

    Michal S, that is only if you don’t have compositing enabled for your OS yet. Otherwise, other programs such as firefox will show through, which I find incredibly useful. For example, I can type in terminal code off of a web page on a fullscreen firefox without ever having to switch windows.
    That aside, I am trying to get partial transparancy on Terminator.(I’m using #! Linux, so installing gnome-terminal would not be a good solution) Anyone have any ideas?

  9. rookie says:

    HI. its nice post, but after follow your instruction, how to get back my terminal into normal view? thanks for the tutorial. Ill keep it, but i need to sure my self its can be reverse back

  10. me says:

    so, anyone knows how to get it back to the original terminal if you wish to reverse the process?

  11. Lorraine says:

    If anyone wants to reverse the process (like I did, because it’s pretty useless), click on the terminal (where the commands are written), and set the Preferences to Default again. That’s what I did (after trying to look for a solution).

  12. aditya menon says:

    Thank you! This worked. I did not bother with the launcher and elected to keep the scroller though 🙂

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