Make the Terminal Always Available in Ubuntu With Guake

Ubuntu Guake Terminal

Gary Newell

Ubuntu has been developed in such a way that users can get away without using a terminal window. In theory, everything can be achieved through graphical applications. 

Whilst this is a plausible theory, there are obviously times when using a terminal may be either the only option or the preferred option.

For example, you have an issue with a piece of hardware and you are searching online for a solution. Very rarely is the solution provided where you can run a graphical user interface and click a few buttons.

In the main, solutions to Linux problems are delivered as terminal commands. Sometimes this is because there is no graphical solution and other times it is because it is easier to get people using different Linux distributions and desktop environments to enter a few commands into a terminal than it is to describe a process involving pulling up menus or dashboards, running applications and describing the buttons, dropdown lists and textboxes that need to be clicked, picked and entered.

Some people like using the terminal and only use the graphical environment when there is a necessity to do so.

This article will show you how to install, run and tweak Guake so that you have a terminal window available at the touch of a button.

How to Install Guake Within Ubuntu

The easiest way to get Guake is to open the software center by clicking the suitcase icon with an A on it within the Ubuntu Launcher.

When the Software Centre opens enter Guake into the search bar and when the option appears, select Install.

How to Run Guake

To run Guake for the first time press the Windows key on your keyboard and when the Ubuntu Dash appears, type Guake.

Select the icon that appears and a message will appear telling you that you can press F12 at any time to make the Guake terminal appear.

Pulling Up a Guake Terminal

To get a terminal to appear all you have to do is press F12. A terminal window will fold down from the top of the screen. To make it disappear again, press F12 again.

Guake Preferences

You can tweak the settings within Guake by bringing up the Ubuntu Dash and typing Guake Preferences.

When the icon appears, select it.

A settings window will appear with the following tabs on it:

  • General
  • Scrolling
  • Appearance
  • Quick Open
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Compatibility

The general tab has options such as choosing the interpreter, setting the window height and width, starting full screen, hide on lose focus and switch to popping up from the bottom instead of the top.

The scrolling tab has an options letting you choose how many scrollback lines there are.

The appearance tab lets you choose the colors of the text and the background window for the terminal. Whilst the transparency option may seem cool when you first use it, you will find it annoying when trying to type in a command which you can no longer see because it blends in with another window. 

Quick open is an interesting tab. There is a single checkbox which when checked allows you to open files listed in the terminal simply by clicking on them.

The keyboard shortcuts tab is one you will really find useful:

  • F11 - open guake full screen
  • F12 - open guake in a window
  • Shift, Ctrl and Q - close guake
  • Shift, Ctrl and T - new tab
  • Shift, Ctrl and W - close tab
  • Ctrl and Page Up - move to previous tab
  • Ctrl and Page Down - move to next tab
  • F1 - move to 1st tab
  • F2 - move to 2nd tab
  • F3 - move to 3rd tab

You can guess the rest of the function keys for choosing tabs:

  • Ctrl +- - Zooms out
  • Ctrl ++ - Zooms in
  • Ctrl += - Zoom in (alternative)
  • Ctrl and Down - Increase height
  • Ctrl and Up - Decease height
  • Shift, Ctrl C - Copy to clipboard
  • Shift, Ctrl V - Paste from clipboard

Finally, the compatibility tab has options for defining what the backtab and delete keys produces within a Guake terminal.