5 Ways to Open a Terminal Console Window Using Ubuntu

Many users nowadays can do most of the things they want to do within Linux without having to use the Linux terminal, but there are still a lot of good reasons to learn how to use it.

The Linux terminal provides access to all of the native Linux commands as well as command-line applications that often provide many more features than desktop applications.

Another reason to learn how to use the terminal is that quite often, online help guides that help to solve problems with your Linux environment contain Linux terminal commands.

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

People use a wide array of different desktop environments as well as different Linux distributions, so the terminal commands are usually the same or are easier to narrow down than writing full graphical instructions for each and every combination.

When using Ubuntu, it is actually 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 single 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 key combination of Ctrl+Alt+T.

Simply hold all three keys at the same time, and a terminal window will open.

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Search Using the Ubuntu Dash

Ubuntu search terminal

If you prefer a more graphical approach, select either the Activities launcher in the top left of your desktop or the Show Applications icon in the lower left.

Start typing the word "term" into the search box and as you type you will see the terminal icon appear.

You will likely see an option for the default GNOME terminal up top. Below, you'll see other terminal emulators available to install.

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

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Navigate the GNOME App Launcher

Ubuntu navigate GNOME apps to terminal

A more circuitous way of opening a terminal window is to navigate the GNOME applications menu. Start by pressing Show Applications in the lower left of your desktop.

Select All at the bottom of the screen, if it isn't already highlighted.

Scroll down until you locate Utilities. Select it.

There are a number of system tools under Utilities. The Terminal is one of them. 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, and press Enter on your 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 they're installed on your system.

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Use Ctrl+Alt+A Function Key

Ubuntu terminal from switching sessions

All the methods thus far have opened a terminal emulator within the graphical environment.

To switch to a terminal which isn't linked to the current graphical session — usually when installing certain graphics drivers or doing anything that may be messing with your graphical setup — press Ctrl+Alt+F3.

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

You can also use F4 through F10 to create even more sessions.

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