Terminal Design Proposals

Robert Schütte


Robert Schütte



  • Fast & easy to use Terminal

  • Interaction with other Apps and the Gnome Desktop


  • easy to modify with addons etc.

Tentative Design

Normal Terminal

The normal terminal window, when you start the terminal.


Droped Terminal

This is the terminal Window, when you move the window up. A maximized Version without titlebar.


Normal Terminal Dark Theme

The normal terminal window, without tabs, but multiple windows.



  • What if we merge the functions of the Drop Down Terminal Extension with Terminal? --EduardGotwig

  • Because the terminal, extensive use of it anyways, is the realm of power users, I think that we should streamline/beautify as much as possible

    without neglecting the NEED for power features to allow more productive use of this application.

    • Essentially I'd like to see the basic features from Terminator done with GTK+3 and some GNOME flair

      • Split panes to view multiple terminal sessions at once
        • Maybe with arbitrary maximum # of splits to keep things sane (i.e. 2 columns of 4 rows of terminals)
      • Currently selected pane/terminal would be highlighted in some way
      • App menu would have options for:
        • New tab
        • Split horizontally
        • Split vertically
        • Close (selected)
        • Preferences
        • Quit
      • Option to show titlebar on top of each split terminal or only the top titlebar reflecting the selected terminal

      Thoughts? --JeromeBarnett

  • Two things I can think of that needs to be fixed(both aesthetic): use a dark theme and add a way to add/remove color schemes(like Konsole). --Reda Lazri

  • Second mockup has a dark theme, but in my opinion a dark and white theme must be avaible. Also I think, that the splited windows are better than tabs. The titlebar shuld have less buttons as possible, so I combinde the hotizontal und vertical split in one icon, click the button once for horizontal split and twice for vertical split. Settings like color schemes and etc. must be placed in the settings window. --Robert Schütte

  • What about text reflow (as in Terminal.app for Mac OS X) and/or and horizontal scrollbar? --TaeSandoval

  • I strongly dislike the vertical tabs. I can't think of a single app that does that (for good reason). On the other hand, I agree that having a dark & light app is a necessity, and I would "love" same-window splits/split panes (whatever they're called).

Mathieu Jourdan



Make terminal consistent with other gnome software.


Just replace the menubar?

Feature that differs with the current terminal:

  • - tabs, as tiling would be handled by gnome-shell
  • + terminal cloning
  • + bookmarks, with the same pane as for file-chooser and nautilus

Tentative Design


User could change their current directory to one of his favourites, by using the same pane as in the file chooser or Nautilus.


Searchbar. Lacks Previous/Next for now.



Something to make the menu bar more convenient.


Window menu

I particularly like the terminal tiling proposal, so the "clone terminal" entry would create a second window with the same environment variables as the first one.



AlexandreUltré --

  • Why the sidebar for settings? This is a thing we don't want to keep in our way… Plus, the bubble drop-down seems more consistent with application menu and settings menus in general.
  • Shouldn't “Preferences”, “About” & “Help” be in application menu instead of settings menu?

  • On the opposite, shouldn't “Reset”, “Reset & Clear” & “Set Title” be in setting menu instead of application menu?

  • What about a dark theme?

Except those points, this looks like the terminal I'd like to use.

MathieuJourdan --

Thanks for your comments, Alexandre. You are totally right on all the points you raised. About the sidebar, this was only a question of personal preference =D

Some similar remarks have been made on #gnome-design, so I made a new proposal in the "simple design update" section below. I think it answers to your concerns, so does an other mockup published by AllanDay: https://raw.github.com/gnome-design-team/gnome-mockups/master/terminal/terminal-menus.png

AlexandreUltré --

I think that menus in Allan's mock-up are better (because simpler), except maybe for the fullscreen (if we have a single window, why fullscreen in the window menu?). But your idea of a menu entry for keybord shortcuts is really good. Perhaps put it in the application menu?

MathieuJourdan --

Entry for keyboard shortcuts is not mine, it was an submenu of "Terminal" in Gnome Terminal 3.4, but has been moved to "Preferences" since. I can't figure out why Allan's mockups are simpler?

I missed the point about a dark theme in your first comment? Were you thinking about some kind of feature changing the window and terminal colors depending on the things we are doing in it?

AlexandreUltré --

So it's not the cheatsheet I imagined. Too bad… My turn now: the dark theme I spoke about was only… a dark theme. Nothing more than a white on black window instead of a black on white. That's better for the darkest hours of the day. Call it a “night mode” if you prefer. I already proposed such a thing in my GNOME Writer proposal. Now, about what makes Allan's mockups simpler, that's an overall impression. Maybe is it because it seems easier to find what to do with this interface. By example, he only propose one window menu (the contextual tab menu doesn't count), when you propose two. And there are separation rules in his menus. I guess it seems more organized. But as I said, this is only based on an overall impression. I'm not really what you can call a designer ;)

simple design update


Mathieu Jourdan


Below are some usability bugs seen with Gnome-terminal 3.4 on Debian Sid.

Search Menu

I never thought one could want to search for strings in a terminal without using a pager or a text editor. Maybe it is useful for some user, though, but in this case this should probably be done through the same kind of search panel we find in other gnome applications.

Terminal menu name

Having a menu called "Terminal" in a window named "Terminal" is a bit strange.

Terminal size

At the bottom of the "Terminal" menu, there are 4 lines:

  • 1. 80x24
  • 2. 80x43
  • 3. 132x24
  • 4. 132x43

I cliked on some of these lines without saying any effect in the window. I search for information in the help pages, I found nothing. Later, I discovered that it had no effect because this was to set the window size and my window was maximized.

1. changing size is not relevant when maximized or fullscreen 2. the digit before the dimensions brings confusion and no information 3. changing the size and switching to fullscreen should be done through the same menu

Terminal menu scope

Changing the size (in characters) has effect on the whole window, e.g the window is not resized when you switch tabs. Changing of profiles has effects only on the current tab. So has "Reinitializing". User can't know in advance in which scope the settings will apply, hence he has to try multiple things to get (or not) the result he wants.

Hidding menu bar

The terminal menu bar is not really pleasant to see. So I click on "display" / "display the menu bar" to hide it. Fine. Now I want to edit my profile, so I need to display the menu bar again. Oops, I forgot to memorize the keyboard shortcut, how do I revert? Left click on the decoration bar? Nope. Right click? Maybe on the application icon, then? Nah ! It was right-click anywhere in the window, and the was not any keyboard shortcut to memorize in the "Display" menu!

Handling profiles

I would like to tune the terminal, change text font and colors... Where could I do this? Go to "display"? Hum no, it seems "display" allows to change the zoom level and switch to windowed from fullscreen. Maybe it's in terminal? Yeah, there is a submenu to change of profile, maybe that's the thing! But where do I configure those profiles!? Maybe this is in "Edit"? Yes ! Last line: "profile preferences"! Wait... The 4th line is "profiles"... Ok, let's click on profiles! Yes! I have a window which allows me to manage profiles, but doesn't not allow me to select the one to load.


  • make terminal more convenient to use
  • make it consistent with other apps new design: files, web, music...
  • solve the bugs discussed above
  • do not add or remove a single feature

Tentative design

  • move window and tab creation to the application menu
  • add button to show search panel
  • merge "display" and "terminal" menus in a single "settings" menu.
  • add a supplementary button to hold the rest: copy/paste and selection from the "edit" menu, and the whole "tab" menu


Design/Apps/Terminal/Proposals (last edited 2013-06-25 20:37:39 by AlexandreUltré)