5 Ways to Open a Terminal Console Window Using Ubuntu

Use these shortcuts to quickly perform common tasks

It's possible to do most of the things you want to do in Linux without using the Linux terminal. However, there are many good reasons to learn how to use it. The Linux terminal provides access to the Linux commands as well as command-line applications that often provide more features than desktop applications. Another reason to use the terminal is that online help guides that solve problems with a Linux environment contain Linux terminal commands.

Animated illustration of a person opening a Linux terminal
Lifewire / Hilary Allison

People use an array of desktop environments as well as Linux distributions. Hence, the terminal commands are usually the same or are easier to narrow down than writing full graphical instructions for each combination.

When using Ubuntu, it is easier to install software using the command line than it is to use the graphical software tools available. The apt-get command provides access to every package in the Ubuntu repositories, whereas the graphical tool is often lacking.

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Open a Linux Terminal Using Ctrl+Alt+T

Ubuntu open terminal with hotkey

The easiest way to open a terminal is to use the Ctrl+Alt+T key combination. When you hold these three keys at the same time, a terminal window opens.

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Search Using the Ubuntu Dash

Ubuntu search terminal

If you prefer a graphical approach, select either the Activities launcher in the upper-left corner of the desktop or the Show Applications icon in the lower-left corner.

In the search box, enter term. As you type, the terminal icon appears. You will likely see an option for the default GNOME terminal at the top. Below, other terminal emulators that are available to install are listed.

To use the default one for your system, select the GNOME one at the top. It's called Terminal.

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Navigate the GNOME App Launcher

Ubuntu navigate GNOME apps to terminal

Another way to open a terminal window is to navigate the GNOME applications menu. Select Show Applications in the lower-left corner of the desktop. Then, select All at the bottom of the screen, if it isn't highlighted, scroll down, and select Utilities.

There are several system tools under Utilities. The Terminal is one of those utilities. Select it to open it.

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Use the Run Command

Ubuntu run command launch terminal

Another relatively quick way to open a terminal is to use the run command option. To open the run command window, press Alt+F2. To open the terminal, type gnome-terminal into the command window, then press Enter on the keyboard.

You must enter gnome-terminal because that is the full name of the terminal application.

You can also type xterm for the xterm application or uxterm for the uxterm application if those are installed on your system.

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Use Ctrl+Alt+A Function Key

Ubuntu terminal from switching sessions

The methods illustrated so far open a terminal emulator in the graphical environment. To switch to a terminal that isn't linked to the current graphical session, usually when installing certain graphics drivers or doing anything that messes with your graphical setup, press Ctrl+Alt+F3.

You will need to log in because you are starting a new session.

You can use F4 through F10 to create more sessions.

To get back to the graphical desktop, press Ctrl+Alt+F2.

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