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Change the Default Terminal Emulator on Linux

Terminal is the heart and soul of any Linux system. Using it, you can perform all the complex and difficult tasks. All you need is a proper understanding of the commands you’re giving input and decipher what the output means.

Working with the terminal can be pretty boring in cases. The reason is, it’s the legitimate command line interface. That’s why there are a number of available terminal emulators that can add the difference in the working environment and gift you a less boring, more focusing environment.

Are you tired of the default terminal emulator? Today, let’s change the terminal emulator to a different one!

Changing terminal emulator

Before you can change the default terminal emulator, you need to have at least one more to switch to. Don’t worry; feel free to check out some of the most popular terminal emulators for the Linux platform.

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Installed your favorite one(s)? Good then, time to make the switch!

Fire up the current terminal emulator –

In my case, it’s the Xfce4-terminal.

Now, run the following command –

sudo update-alternatives --config x-terminal-emulator

You’ll be presented with a list of all the available terminal emulator(s) on your system. Depending on your installed terminal emulators, the list will vary. If you don’t have any, you’ll be told so.

My favorite one is Konsole – the terminal emulator of KDE Plasma. For making the switch, enter the number of your target emulator –

The switch is complete. Now, exit the current terminal emulator –


Verifying the result

Press “Ctrl + Alt + T” or whatever shortcut you’ve decided to fire up the terminal –

Voila! The change is successful!

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  1. elementaryOS is Debian-based distro… Does not work. For a start, the hotkey Ctrl + Alt + T is not how you pull up the terminal, it’s Meta + T… But beyond that, my preferred terminal emulator was already the one selected in this list.

    A partially _correct_ answer was:-
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec terminology
    gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.default-applications.terminal exec-arg -e
    My preferred terminal emulator is “Terminology”, and after this, I get Terminology with Meta + T, but still get Pantheon Terminal from Open in > Terminal.


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