How to Customize the Terminal in macOS

This overview will show you how to customize the Terminal on your Mac so that it’s a bit more visually appealing and easy to use.

Launch the Terminal by opening a Finder window and navigating to Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

Terminal will open up and present you with a command prompt.


From the Menu Bar, select Terminal and then Preferences…

For now, you can ignore the first window and select Profiles from the icons at the top of the Preferences screen.

It’s from here that you can do most of the customizations. The column on the left side of the screen is a list of “preset” Terminals that you can try out. Each one has a different style and color scheme.

To view/demo one, double-click its icon (not the text, but the icon itself) from the left column.

A Terminal will open and load the preset you double-clicked. Repeat this until you find a preset that you generally like (and we’ll continue to further customize it).

When you’ve found one you like, try adding a background image to see if that suits you. To do so, simply click the Image section, navigate to an image you like, and give it a try.

As you can see in the image below, you’ll probably want to have a pretty strong contrast between the colour of the text and the colour of the image itself. If a background image isn’t for you just click the same section and remove the image.

Now let’s move to the Font section. Click the Change button.

Experiment with a font and its color and size to find the one that works best for you in a Terminal window.

You can also customize the cursor – the default is “block” – which I quite like, but having the block also ‘blink’ really helps my eye go to the cursor right away.

Finally, click the Default button to make your newly customized Terminal the default one. That way each time you open a Terminal, this will be the ‘style’ of Terminal that you get.