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Windows Terminal Quake mode

What new technology does is create new opportunities to do a job that customers want done.

Tim O’Reilly

Windows Terminal is a modern host application for command-line shells. It gives you rich configuration options to adjust your work with different shells and make terminals beautiful and aligned to your work (Command Palette, Dynamic Profiles, selection capabilities, etc. ).

Command palette in Windows Terminal

By popular demand, Quake mode was added in version 1.9. Quake mode is a popular/useful feature implemented in other command line shells and operating systems.

Quake mode enables you to have focused dropdown terminal invoked either via key combination or via cli command call. That enables you to always have terminal quickly available with one shot.

Quake mode in Windows 11

How to enable it?

Open Windows terminal. If you don’t have it installed, follow instructions here. Go to the settings (you can use CTRL+SHIFT+P to open command palette and search for settings).

Open settings via command palette in Windows Terminal

Navigate to Actions menu option in left pane and click button Add new action:

Actions menu in Windows Terminal settings menu

Select newly created button and search for Show/hide quake in the dropdown menu:

Click Add a scroll mark
Choose Show/Hide Quake window

Assign a key shortcut to the command and apply the choice by pressing confirmation button.

After confirmation you should see your result:

Show/hide Quake window option

What do you get out of the box

When firing up the command / key stroke, you’ll get command line (default profile you have set in Windows Terminal) rolled up from top of the monitor to the half of the monitor window:

CLI window via Quake Mode in Windows Terminal

Now you can easily use it whenever you want to access the terminal (keep in mind you need to have Windows Terminal open).

When invoked, the terminal window will be focused. When closed, it will return to the last window you were at before calling quake mode.

If you want to call it from command line (without bounding to a key combination), command is the following:

wt -w _quake

This will open fresh window. If you already have terminal open, it will create new instance.

Keep in mind that you won’t see windows in ALT+TAB. If you don’t have it bind with a key, you won’t be able to exit it (when hidden) and you need to go to the Task Manager (CTRL+SHIFT+ESC) and kill the instance(s) for window to be closed.

Starting Windows terminal when Windows starts

If you want to start terminal on Windows startup, you can set that in Windows Terminal settings:

Startup settings in Windows Terminal

When you execute Quake mode, the Windows Terminal window will be shown in taskbar. If you don’t want app to be shown in Windows taskbar, you can change that behavior in Windows Terminal settings:

Hide minimized settings in Windows Terminal

For additional options check official documentation here.

Closing remarks

Quake mode is really handful if you are working daily with Windows Terminal. It makes you productive as you have the command line at your fingertips whenever you need it. It is not obtrusive, rather it is quick and focused. I use it frequently and love it.