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How To Change Gnome-Terminal Title from Command Line

Ubuntu 2

In this tutorial, we will explore several methods to change the title of a Gnome-Terminal from the command line. This can be useful for distinguishing between different terminal windows, especially when you are working on multiple tasks simultaneously.

Quick Answer

To change the title of a Gnome-Terminal from the command line, you can use escape sequences in the PS1 variable, the PROMPT_COMMAND variable, or command-line tools like xdotool or wmctrl. Each method has its own advantages and use cases, allowing you to customize and distinguish between different terminal windows.

Method 1: Using Escape Sequences in the PS1 Variable

The first method involves using escape sequences in the PS1 (Prompt String 1) variable. The PS1 variable is used to define the primary prompt string in Unix-like operating systems.

Here are the steps:

  1. Open your ~/.bashrc file in a text editor. This file is a script that is executed whenever a new terminal session is started in interactive mode.
    nano ~/.bashrc
  2. Add the following line at the end of the file. Replace “New Title” with the title you want for your terminal.
    PS1='\[\e]0;New Title\a\]'${PS1}
    Here, \[\e]0; and \a\] are escape sequences that set the terminal title, and ${PS1} preserves your existing prompt.
  3. Save the file and exit the editor.
  4. Run the following command to apply the changes:
    source ~/.bashrc

Method 2: Using the PROMPT_COMMAND Variable

The second method uses the PROMPT_COMMAND variable, which holds a command that is executed before the PS1 prompt.

  1. Open your ~/.bashrc file.
    nano ~/.bashrc
  2. Add the following line at the end of the file:
    PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033]0;New Title\007"'
    Here, echo -ne "\033]0;New Title\007" is a command that sets the terminal title.
  3. Save the file and exit the editor.
  4. Run source ~/.bashrc to apply the changes.

Method 3: Using xdotool

The third method involves using xdotool, a command-line tool that lets you simulate keyboard input and mouse activity, move and resize windows, etc.

  1. Install xdotool if it’s not already installed:
    sudo apt-get install xdotool
  2. Run the following command to set the terminal title:
    xdotool getactivewindow set_window --name "New Title"
    Here, getactivewindow gets the currently active window, and set_window --name "New Title" sets the title of that window.

Method 4: Using wmctrl

The fourth method uses wmctrl, a command-line tool that can interact with an X Window manager that is compatible with the EWMH/NetWM specification.

  1. Install wmctrl if it’s not already installed:
    sudo apt-get install wmctrl
  2. Run the following command to set the terminal title:
    wmctrl -r :ACTIVE: -N "New Title"
    Here, -r :ACTIVE: selects the currently active window, and -N "New Title" sets the title of that window.

Conclusion

In this tutorial, we explored four methods to change the title of a Gnome-Terminal from the command line. Each method has its own advantages and use cases, so you can choose the one that suits your needs best. Remember to replace “New Title” with the desired title for your terminal. Happy coding!

Can I change the title of a Gnome-Terminal window without using the command line?

Yes, you can change the title of a Gnome-Terminal window without using the command line. To do this, simply right-click on the terminal window’s title bar and select "Set Title". Then, enter the desired title for the terminal window.

Will the changes made to the terminal title persist after closing the terminal?

The changes made to the terminal title using any of the methods mentioned in this tutorial will not persist after closing the terminal. The title will revert back to the default title when you open a new terminal session. If you want to set a custom title every time you open a terminal, you can add the necessary command to your ~/.bashrc file as mentioned in Method 1 or Method 2.

Can I change the title of a Gnome-Terminal window while running a command or script?

Yes, you can change the title of a Gnome-Terminal window while running a command or script. You can use any of the methods mentioned in this tutorial before or after running your command or script. The title will be updated accordingly.

Can I change the title of a Gnome-Terminal window programmatically?

Yes, you can change the title of a Gnome-Terminal window programmatically using any of the methods mentioned in Method 3 or Method 4. These methods involve using command-line tools (xdotool and wmctrl) that allow you to manipulate windows and their properties programmatically.

Are the methods mentioned in this tutorial specific to Gnome-Terminal or can they be used with other terminal emulators?

The methods mentioned in this tutorial are specific to Gnome-Terminal and may not work with other terminal emulators out of the box. However, some terminal emulators may have similar functionality or provide their own methods to change the terminal title. It’s best to refer to the documentation or resources specific to the terminal emulator you are using.

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