I Changed The Default Terminal Color Scheme in Elementary OS with These Simple Steps

I Changed The Default Terminal Color Scheme in Elementary OS with These Simple Steps

Hundreds of color schemes are available, including Dracula!

Diky Hadna 👾

Published on Sep 16, 2021

4 min read

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As a developer myself, I've spent hundreds (or even thousands) of hours using the terminal, and I'm sure you are doing the same thing.

Mastering how the command line interface works will eventually help you to get things done faster. Say, cloning a git repository, create a new directory, initializing a project, and even configuring your operating system.

Since I spend a lot of time in this dark side, I need some eye-pleasing UIs to work with.

A little flash back 🐧

You can skip this part if you want to jump into how to change the color scheme.

I've been using terminal (or console) since 2007, when I was a student in high school. I was distro-hopping (trying one Linux distribution and then try another one) so I familiarized myself with CLI.

Trivia: Feisty Fawn was the first Ubuntu codename that I use. Can you guess what version is it?

I was nothing but curious and nerdy student back then, and I didn't even know what software development is at those times. It was just nice to see how beautiful desktop environment can be (and Microsoft Windows was nowhere near in terms of desktop customization).

Some Linux distros I've tried at those times were PC Linux, Berry Linux, Slack, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, RedHat, CentOS, Linux Mint, and Mandriva.

But, I noticed something. No matter how far I distro-hopping, I always come back to Debian derivatives.

It was always easier for me to get a grasp using these Debian derivatives.

Today, I am dual-booting my machine with Windows 11 (yes, it's 11, not 10) and Elementary OS Odin.

I'm going to save this for the next note, but here's a sneak peek: I use WSL, but wanted more performance.

So, why does this post matter? Changing Terminal color scheme is easy!

For some other distros, yes. Just open the preferences, and change the style.

But, good luck trying to find those preferences menu in Elementary OS 😂

Elementary OS is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu LTS. It promotes itself as a "thoughtful, capable, and ethical" replacement to macOS and Windows and has a pay-what-you-want model.

Elementary OS works a bit different compared to Ubuntu. Using their own Pantheon desktop environment (DE), everything is simpler and minimalistic, and I love it!

However, when you want to customize and tweak it deeper, you need an extra effort, and changing the terminal color scheme is one of them.

Then why don't just install new terminal app?

I could, but I just want to maximize what's built-in, and the default terminal is just works for me.

No need to install another one, I just need to find a way to configure it.

Let's dive down

Here are the steps you need to change the color scheme:

  • Open up your Elementary OS terminal

  • Type this command and press enter $ sudo nano /usr/bin/theme

  • It will open a blank page

  • Copy all the code from the Gist below and paste it to your terminal

  • Save the file with Ctrl + X and then Y and finally press Enter

  • Add execute permission to the file using $ sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/theme

  • Now type theme in your terminal and press Enter

  • The terminal will show the available color schemes, and you can type the index number of the theme you want, and press Enter

  • For example, type 28 to change it to Dracula theme, and press Enter

  • Your new color scheme will be applied!

Note for Elementary OS 6 (Odin) users

Started in this version, the Elementary OS had changed the component name for the terminal app.

It was previously org.pantheon.terminal and now it's io.elementary.terminal.

So instead copy-pasting the code from the Gist above, you need to change the org.pantheon.terminal.settings to io.elementary.terminal.settings.

You can achieve this by using your favorite text editor (hey, there is an app called Code which is shipped with the installation, you can use it!)

Happy hacking!


The featured image in this post is edited using my Spotify Photo Filter which you can use for free from my Mini Product.

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