How to Use Terminator on Linux (Manage Multiple Terminal)

Linux and Unix administrators usually prefer to work from a terminal. Hence to manage different tasks, the administrator has to open many terminal windows which is an overhead. What about creating multiple terminals in a single window?

Terminator is a terminal emulator for Linux and Unix like systems which allows user to create multiple terminals in a single window and arrange them in grids. Each terminal window can be resized according to the need. Terminator is based on Gnome and written in Python language.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to install and use terminator in Linux.

Terminator multiple terminal

Installation of Terminator on Linux

On Debian based system like Ubuntu, you 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 and newer version of Ubuntu you don't have to run 'update' command.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome-terminator
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install terminator

For RHEL/CentOS, run the following yum command:

$ sudo yum install terminator

If you are using Fedora, run the following dnf command:

$ sudo dnf install terminator

On Arch Linux, use Pacman Command to install terminator, as follows:

$ sudo pacman -S terminator

If you want to compile it by yourself with the latest version, 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'. For the best view of the terminator, I suggest you 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 create a shortcut to run terminator from the properties menu.

terminator properties

Terminator Features

From its manual page, Terminator provides a lot of features. Here a list that may be useful on day-to-day operation:

1) 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

2) Switching between terminals

If you have multiple terminals, you don't need a mouse or 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 the right terminal from the current terminal. Use the same trick to move Up and Down.

3) Resize the terminal

Sometimes the size of terminals needs to be different. It depends on user needs. Luckily, terminator allows you to resize the size of the 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 on the left. You can use the Up arrow to resize it to the top and Down arrow to resize it to the bottom.

4) Removing scroll bar

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

Terminator without scroll bar

5) Group features

Creating a group is another interesting feature of terminator. Groups can be assigned with multiple terminals.

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 terminal 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.

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'.

How to Quit from Terminator

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

Terminator Shortcuts

Let's check some handy shortcuts to use on terminator. You can check the setting to see all keyboard shortcuts or can set your own shortcuts.

    • Toggle fullscreen: F11
    • Split terminals horizontally: Ctrl + Shift + O
    • Split terminals vertically: Ctrl + Shift + E
    • Close current panel: Ctrl + Shift + W
    • Open new tab: Ctrl + Shift + T
    • Move to the terminal above the current one: Alt +
    • Move to the terminal below the current one: Alt +
    • Move to the terminal left the current one: Alt +
    • Move to the terminal right the current one: Alt +
    • Next terminal in the current tab: Ctrl + tab
    • Previous in the current tab: Ctrl + Shift + tab
    • Next tab: Ctrl + Page up
    • Previous tab: Ctrl + Page down

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we have learned how to install and use terminator in Linux. Terminator is now moved to GitHub where you can report any issues.

Which is your favorite terminal emulators? Some of them I know are Tmux, Tilda, Guake, Tilix, Konsole, and Xterm.

For more details, please see the Terminator manual page by typing man terminator.

Pungki Arianto 6:10 pm

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