Windows Terminal is an advanced application for command-line tools and shells, such as Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL, which features a tabbed layout, GPU acceleration, and extensive customization options. With the aim of making Windows a more popular platform for developers, Microsoft introduced WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) in Windows 10, which made it possible to run Linux binaries on Windows without the hassle of a virtual machine.
With full support for shells like Command Prompt, PowerShell, and WSL, new Windows Terminal adds more modern user interface features such as tabs, GPU accelerated text rendering engine, Unicode and UTF-8 character support, custom themes, and in-depth user configuration support. Built as the new open-source environment under the code name “Cascadia” and developed with the insights and direct contribution from the worldwide community, new Windows Terminal strives to greatly enhance productivity for professional users who are used to control and monitor their workflow jobs with this popular command-line tool.
Other much-requested features available in Cascadia are the support for window transparency effects, 24-bit color support, JSON settings file, integration with Microsoft Narrator, support for Azure Cloud Shell Connector, ANSI/VT sequences, and the ability to copy HTML format text to the clipboard.
However, be aware that as of late 2019 this developer utility app was still in the early preview release, providing users only access some of its features such as innovative “assistive technology”. According to the official listing on the Windows Store, at that point, It was still not formally tested and users could experience various bugs and instabilities, which are being aggressively fixed on the road to releasing a final stable build.
Windows Terminal Top Features
A new tool for developers
For a long time, the command-line environment available on Windows has been inferior to those on macOS and Linux. Microsoft has taken some steps to improve their console over the years, but they’ve finally decided to just develop a new application, called Windows Terminal.
This new tool will not replace the existing console, which would cause endless compatibility issues with older apps. Instead, you’ll be able to run Command Prompt, PowerShell and WSL instances in separate tabs, within the new Terminal.
Modern features for a modern terminal
The most important of these is, of course, multiple tab support. This was the most requested feature by far, which is hardly surprising. Every new tab will be connected to a specific shell or app, and they can even be opened with hotkeys.
Secondly, Windows Terminal uses a GPU accelerated DirectWrite/DirectX engine for rendering text. This means that all kinds of graphics and symbols can now be displayed within the terminal.
Customization is a bit tricky at the moment
To change key bindings, UI colors, backgrounds, as well as add new shells, you currently have to edit a JSON profile file in a text editor. While this isn’t too difficult, especially for developers, it’s clearly a temporary solution until a more intuitive method is implemented.
Just a preview for now, but it is worth trying out
This early build still lacks plenty of important features, such as the settings menu we mentioned. It is also impossible to reorder tabs at present, and you should expect to run into potential bugs that haven’t been ironed out yet.
When Microsoft releases a stable Windows Terminal to the public, it should be a real game-changer. It will make it much easier to work with command-line tools from Windows, thus increasing the platform’s appeal for developers. It’s still a preview, so don’t get your hopes too high yet, but it looks incredibly promising.
Installation and Use
Windows Terminal is a developer utility app that is as of 2019 still in the early preview phase of release. But even in this development state, many developers are gladly using it to enhance their daily workflow.
The app can be quickly installed from its official Windows Store page by clicking on the “Get” button. Upon finishing the installation, you can start it and immediately notice many of the improvements new this codename “Cascadia” app is offering to professional users. The most noticeable difference is the presence of tabs, GPU accelerated rendering and configuration area that can be accessed by clicking on the “+” button at the right of your latest tab. Settings can also be activated with a keyboard shortcut “Ctrl+ ,”.
Features and Highlights
- A brand new modern terminal app for professional users by Microsoft Inc.
- Introduction of the tabbed interface.
- Full support for modern Unicode character rendering.
- GPU-accelerated app.
- Advanced customizability.
- 100% FREE!