Guake Terminal – developer’s best friend

Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.

Albert Einstein

After working for some time in Linux terminal, a new world of possibilities opens up. Manipulating text, working with large files (logs,…), controling structures, manipulating file/directory content, searching through everything, executing long running tasks and much more – all that feels simple to achieve with the built-in terminal use. Sure, there is a learning curve, but after you go through (and understand) basic workflow and main commands, it is one-up from that point on.

Doing all that in one terminal, can be tricky and cumbersone. Sure, you have tabs, but that can spin out of control. Especially if you just want to check status of long running task or issue simple command or quickly access some logs – quick tasks.

Simple and elegant solution

To be able to access terminal with one click, you can always set a keyboard shortcut. Some distros have that baked in. The challenge with each invocation is the loss of your focus, the need to switch back with ALT + TAB and other more challenges to increase your stress level. I just want to press a button and terminal should appear without affecting my current work.

I stumble upon Guake terminal after reading a book about productivity in Linux and decided to give it a try.

Installation is easy. Open terminal and write (I use Linux Mint – for other distributions, check this):

sudo apt install guake
guake install

Soon enough you’ll be able to use terminal anywhere as a top-down option with single “predefined keyboard hotkey”.

Search for newly installed software with Guake (if you search for q, it will work as well 😎) and press Enter.

Searching for quake terminal

You should experience top-down animation (which you can set) and you are ready to do your magic. You can call the terminal out with default hotkey (F12) and repress it to hide it.

Result of opening guake terminal with hotkey

Useful features

Guake terminal can do many things (check features here). I’ll list a few, which helped me being more productive.

+ one hotkey to rule them all – set keyboard hotkey to open and close it again. I caught myself pressing that keyboard on systems, where I don’t have it installed, and wondering why terminal doesn’t pop up.

+ quick open – it automatically finds URL in terminal and enables you to open it with CTRL + mouse click. The same with files. If you click it, it will open in your favorite editor. You will need to enable it Guake preferences window.

Guake quick open options

Check it out in action (click on picture) …

Open in action

+ tab management – if for some reason, you’ll need tabs to do your job done, Guake has simplified tab management with renaming, switching options for you to be quick and productive.

Tab management in Guake

+ various settings options – there are many configuration options to tune the terminal to your needs. Especially built in theming options, hotkey settings, autostart and more.


Guake is a good companion and powerful drop-down terminal. I will for sure add it to my toolbox going forward with Linux.

Check out the docs for more information to learn more about Guake.