How to install and use Terminator Terminal Emulator on Ubuntu 20.04

Terminator is a terminal emulator program that helps users easily manage multiple terminals. It provides flexibility for arranging multiple terminals side by side. Besides the normal features of a gnome-terminal, it provides extra features like:

  1. Horizontal and vertical splitting of the main terminal window.
  2. The broadcast feature allows users to simultaneously issue commands to different terminals.
  3. With the group feature, users can combine different terminals on the same and different windows. The broadcast feature also works on a group basis.
  4. It has different keyboard shortcuts or key bindings for different operations.

What will we cover?

In this guide, we will explain to you how to install and use Terminator on Ubuntu 20.04. Let’s get started with the Terminator tour.

Installation of Terminator

Most Linux distributions come pre-shipped with the Terminator package which can be installed from their regular software repository. On Ubuntu 20.04 one can install Terminator in the way similar to installing any software from its repository:

$ sudo apt install terminator

Installing Terminator

Using Terminator

Once terminator is installed on your system, it becomes the default terminal whenever you open a folder or directory in the terminal window. Let us explore some of its functions:

1) Open a terminator window by simultaneously hitting the key combination: (alt+ctrl+T). Now when you right-click inside the terminal window, you will see different options. First, select the option ‘Split Horizontally’. Now right-click again and select ‘Split Vertically’. This will create the following grid type terminal:

Horizonatl and Vertical Split of Terminator
2) Now click on the grid icon on the left top side of any terminal window. Here you will see options for creating groups, broadcasting, etc.

Options in Terminator


3) If you select the ‘Broadcast all’ option, any command you type and run on one terminal will also run on the other terminals.

The Broadcasting Feature of Terminator 

4) We can create groups and add multiple terminals to them:

Creating Groups in Terminator
Key-bindings  or Keyboard Shortcuts

Terminator has several keyboard shortcuts or keybindings to simplify terminal management. Below we have listed 

  • Ctrl+Shift+O: Use this to horizontally split the terminals.
  • Ctrl+Shift+E: Use this to vertically split the terminals.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Right: It will move the parent dragbar towards the right.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Left: It will move the parent dragbar towards the left.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Up: It will move the parent dragbar towards upside.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Down: This will move the parent dragbar towards downside.
  • Ctrl+Shift+S: Use this to hide and unhide the scrollbar.
  • Ctrl+Shift+F: Use to search within terminal scrollback.
  • Ctrl+Shift+N or Ctrl+Tab: Focus to the next terminal within the same terminal window.
  • Ctrl+Shift+P or Ctrl+Shift+Tab: Move in a backward manner to the previously active terminal within the same tab.
  • Alt+Up: Shift the focus to the terminal above the active one.
  • Alt+Down: Shift the focus to the terminal below the active one.
  • Alt+Left: Shift the focus to the terminal left of the active one.
  • Alt+Right: Shift the focus to the terminal right of the active one.
  • Ctrl+Shift+C: This will copy the selected text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+V:  This will paste the copied text.
  • Ctrl+Shift+W: This will terminate the active terminal session.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Q: This will close the terminator itself.
  • Ctrl+Shift+X: It will switch the terminals among showing all and only showing the active one.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Z: It will switch the terminals between showing all terminals and only showing a zoomed version of the current one. For this to work, at least three terminals should be open and at least one terminal should have a different alignment than the other two.

Table showing different Tab operations

Key Combinations

Tab Operations

Ctrl+Shift+T

For opening a new Tab

Ctrl+PageDown

Switching to next Tab

Ctrl+PageUp

Switching to the previous Tab

Ctrl+Shift+PageDown

Switching Tab position with the next one

Ctrl+Shift+PageUp

Switching Tab position with the previous one

Ctrl+Plus (+)

To increase the text size. (Pressing the shift button may be required.)

Ctrl+Minus (-)

To decrease the text size. (Pressing the shift button may be required.)

Ctrl+Zero (0)

To reset the font size to default.

F11

Switch to Full screen Mode


Besides the above-mentioned terminator operations, there are also other ones like full-screen mode, grouping terminals, Drag and Drop etc. 

Uninstalling The Terminator

If you are unhappy with the Terminator, you can always switch back to your old days terminal by uninstalling it by running:

sudo apt remove terminator

Conclusion

Terminator is also available on Github. For those who want to install it from source code can use Github. But this is a long way to install Terminator, in fact we recommend installing it from your OS's package system. The source code will require you to satisfy different dependencies, creating unnecessary hurdles in the installation process. Use source code only if you don't have a way around it.

Terminator is a great piece of mind for those who extensively use the Linux terminal. It is much better as compared to normal Gnome terminals. If you have not previously used Terminator, give it a try and we hope you will really fall in love with it.

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