Terminator - Multiple GNOME Terminal in one Window

Linux Administrator usually prefers to use console in a working environment. Especially when he/she need to remote another computer. Console is more flexible than graphical interface. It's not a secret that Linux Administrator can use more than one console simultaneously. When it happens, he/she may not see those consoles at the same time. If he/she does not want that, multiple monitor will solve the problem. Another trick to solve the problem is to use a small tool called Terminator.

Terminator is a tool for arranging terminals. One ot the most common ways to do that is Tabs. By default, modern Linux which uses GNOME is equipped with GNOME terminal. It has Tab support. So what are the advantages of Terminator instead of GNOME terminal? Terminator can arrange terminal in grid mode. We will show it to you.

Terminator in action


Ubuntu based can use apt-get command to install Terminator.

sudo apt-get install terminator

If it doesn't happen, you may need to add ppa-repository like this :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome-terminator

Don't forget to update it.

sudo apt-get update

Then install it.

sudo apt-get install terminator

If you are using Fedora, you may run this command to install it (as root):

yum install fedora

Or if you want to compile it by yourself, you may download Terminator source directly from Launchpad

How to run Terminator

Once Terminator installed you can run it via Terminal. Open the GNOME Terminal then by type terminator. Yes, Terminator needs GNOME terminal to run it. For best view of Terminator, I suggest you to run it in maximize mode or full-screen mode.

To run in maximize mode :

terminator -m

To run in fullscreen mode :

terminator -f

You can also create a shortcut to run terminator and put the parameter on it.

Shortcut properties


From it's manual page, Terminator provide a lot of features. Here a list that may be useful on day-to-day operation :

Split terminal Horizontally and Vertically

To do this, you can press Ctrl+Shift+O. Terminator will split the current terminal horizontally. To do vertically, use Ctrl+Shift+E

Switching between terminals

If you have multiple terminals, you don't need a mouse/touchpad to move between terminals. For example, press Alt+Left arrow to move to the left terminal from the current terminal and press Alt+Right arrow to move to right terminal from current terminal. Use the same trick to move Up and Down.

Resize the terminal

Sometimes the size of terminals need to be different. It depends on the user needs. Luckily, Terminator allow you to resize the size of terminals. You can just click and drag the border of the terminal to resize it. Or if you want to do it via keyboard, just press Ctrl+Shift+Right arrow to resize the terminal to the right. Press Ctrl+Shift+Left arrow to resize the terminal ot the left. You can use the Up arrow to resize it to the top and Down arrow to resize it to the bottom.

Removing scroll bar

If you feel that scroll bar is annoying, you can remove it. Just select the terminal and press Ctrl+Shift+S. The scroll bar will be disappear. Press it again to make the scroll bar back.

Terminator without scroll bar

Group features

Another thing that really interesting is a group feature. You can assign multiple terminals into a group. First, you need to create a group by clicking the icon at the top left of the active terminal. Then choose New group to create a new group.

Grouping terminals

From the picture above, we created a group named production. To assign another terminals into that group, just click on the icon at the top left of each terminal, then choose production. Once it's done, you will see a group name at the terminal header. OK then. What's the function of group name? As you can see in the picture above, there is a Broadcast menu. If you choose broadcast group, it's mean if you type a command in the one terminal which a member of that group, the command will be replicated to all terminals in the group. It's really handy if you want to run the same command in many terminals. It keeps all terminals are synced.

Run command at the same time across terminals

You can create more than 1 group. But 1 terminal can only become a member of 1 group. So if you want to broadcast across groups, you can select broadcast all

Quit from Terminator

The best way to quit from terminator is by typing exit from each terminal. If you in hurry, you can press Ctrl+Shift+Q to quit from all active terminals.

That's the list of some features from Terminator. Terminator still has a lot of features that have not been discussed here. For more details, please see the Terminator manual page by typing man terminator.

About Pungki Arianto

Pungki , currently working as a Linux / Unix administrator for a banking company. He love to work in Linux / Unix since it's fun for him. He is also interested in information technology, information security and writing.

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