Run Multiple Linux Terminal Sessions Simultaneously With Terminator

Terminator is a terminal emulator that lets you work on multiple terminal sessions in a single window. It is a handy tool for system administrators and other users who deal with configurations and management of multiple systems.

In Terminator, you can split, switch and arrange terminals in a grid, create tabs, rename terminal sessions, configure key bindings, and much more. The best part about Terminator is that it lets you send your input to multiple terminal sessions simultaneously.

Let’s see how to install and use Terminator to run multiple terminals in one window.

How to Install Terminator on Linux

Terminator is available in most Linux distributions’ repositories, so you can install it using your default package manager.

On Debian-based distributions, you can install the package using APT​​​​.

 sudo apt install terminator 

On RHEL-based distributions, you can use YUM or DNF to install and manage packages. To install Terminator, use:

 sudo yum install terminator 


 sudo dnf install terminator 

Arch-based distributions use Pacman for package management. You can install Terminator on Arch Linux using:

 sudo pacman -S terminator 

The Terminator window has two main menus: Grouping Menu and Context Menu. These menus allow you to perform different functions and tweak settings and layouts. You can access the grouping menu by clicking the small three-box icon at the top left of the terminal window. To access the Context Menu, just right-click anywhere in the terminal window.

Features of Terminator

Some of the features of Terminator are:

  • Splitting and arranging terminals in a grid
  • Highly customizable
  • Run commands simultaneously in a group of windows or all windows
  • Save layouts for future use
  • Supports renaming titles of tabs, terminals, and windows
  • Plenty of shortcuts
  • Unlimited scroll back
  • Support for plugins to enhance functionality

Splitting the Window Horizontally and Vertically

To split a window, right-click inside the terminal window and select either Split horizontally or Split vertically based on how you want to divide the window. Choosing either option will divide the window into two smaller ones. You can split windows any number of times and in any combination to suit your needs.

You can also use the Shift + Ctrl + O keyboard shortcut to split the window horizontally and Shift + Ctrl + E to split it vertically. To navigate between different terminals, use the Alt + arrow keys.

Running Commands Simultaneously on Multiple Terminals

You can run a command simultaneously on multiple terminals by grouping them. You can also run a command at once in all terminals whether they belong to a group or not.

To send a command to all terminal windows, open the grouping menu and select Broadcast all. Now any command you run in the current terminal will be broadcasted to all the other terminals. The current terminal with the red title bar will be the broadcaster while all the other terminals with the blue title bar will be receivers. Note that the current terminal always has a red title bar.

Send broadcast to all Terminals

To run a command simultaneously in a set of terminals, add them to a group.

To do so, select New group from the grouping menu and name it. Then, to add another terminal to this group, open the grouping menu of that terminal and select the group name you want to add it to. Similarly, you can create multiple groups and add terminals to them.

Once you have created a group, open the grouping menu and select the Broadcast group option. Now if you run a command in a terminal that belongs to a group, only the terminals of that group will receive the broadcast.

broadcast to groups terminator

Zooming a Terminal in Terminator

To temporarily focus on one terminal window and hide all others, move to that terminal, right-click on it and select Zoom terminal from the context menu. It will zoom the terminal window as well as enlarge the font size. To bring back all the terminal windows, select Restore all terminals from the context menu.

Note that the Maximize option in the context menu is the same as the Zoom terminal option except that it does not enlarge the font.

Changing the Title of a Terminal

When working on multiple terminal sessions, you can give each one a specific title, so you can quickly identify the purpose of each. Not only terminals, but you can also change the title of windows and tabs.

To change the window title, use the Ctrl + Alt + W keyboard shortcut, rename it, and press Enter. Similarly, use Ctrl + Alt + A to change the tab title, and Ctrl + Alt + X to change the terminal title. You can also double-click the tab and terminal title bar to change their titles.

changing titles terminator linux

Save Layouts for Future Reuse

You can also save the layout of terminals after customizing them the way you want. This will save you from manually creating the desired layout each time you open Terminator.

After setting up your layout, open the Preferences window from the context menu. Then go to the Layouts tab. Click Add to create a new layout and name it. Then click Save and close the window.

To load the saved layout, you will need to type the following command in the terminal:

 terminator -l layout_name 

Useful Terminator Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are a few useful Terminator keyboard shortcuts that can speed up your workflow:



To open a new tab

Shift + Ctrl + T

To switch between terminals

Alt + arrow keys (Right, Left, Up, Down)

To close a terminal

Shift + Ctrl + W

To close a window

Shift + Ctrl + Q

To zoom a terminal

Shift + Ctrl + Z

To maximize a terminal

Shift + Ctrl + X

To begin search

Super + Ctrl + F

To group all terminals

Super + G

To ungroup all terminals

Shift + Super + G

To increase font size

Ctrl + +

To decrease font size

Ctrl + –

To copy text

Shift + Ctrl + C

To paste text

Shift + Ctrl + V

Set Terminator as Your Default Terminal

You can also set Terminator as your default terminal. To do so, type the following command in the terminal:

 sudo update-alternatives  

It will list all the terminal emulators available on your system. To set Terminator as the default terminal, enter the selection number corresponding to it.

Now you will be able to launch Terminator using the default keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T.

Boost Productivity With Terminator on Linux

Terminator’s productivity features allow you to multitask efficiently while staying in a single window. Window splitting, grouping, saving layouts, broadcasting, and keyboard shortcuts are the key features of Terminator that can make you more productive.

In addition to Terminator, there are other terminal emulators available that can help you enhance productivity like Terminology, Cool Retro Term, Guake, Alacritty, Tilda, etc.

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