Change the Terminal Background Picture
If you’re bored with the standard black text on a white background of Terminal, you can really spice up the command line interface by adding a custom background picture. One of our commenters recently asked how to do this, so here we’ll walk through the process. This was written for OS X 10.7 but it’s basically the same in 10.6 and prior, minus the full screen abilities.
Obviously the first thing to do is to find a picture you like, if you plan on using Lion’s full screen Terminal (which looks great) I would suggest using a high resolution image. For the sake of this walkthrough, I’ll use the iCloud.com beta wallpaper because it’s subtle and makes a nice background image, but you’re free to get crazy and use sharks like I did in the screenshot above.
Set the Background Image
- Launch Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/)
- From the Terminal menu, pull down “Preferences” and click on the “Settings” tab at the top of the preference window
- Click on the ‘Window’ sub-tab and then click on the “+” icon to create a new Terminal theme, naming it whatever you want
- From the “Window” area, click on the pull-down menu next to “Image” where it says “No background image” and navigate to the picture you want to set as your terminals wallpaper
Assuming you are using the theme you are editing, the picture will immediately be visible, but there is a potential problem: depending on the background picture you selected, the terminals text might not be adequately visible. Since we chose the dark iCloud background image, the default black on white text doesn’t cut it, we’ll change that next:
Adjust the Text Color to Contrast with Background
- Back in the Terminal preference pane, click on the ‘text’ sub tab
- At the very least, the two changes you’ll want to make are to “Text” and “Bold Text” – I chose white because it contrasts well against the iCloud picture
- Set the font size if you feel like it (Menlo Regular 12pt is very nice)
At this point everything should look great, but if your settings aren’t visible you just need to select the new theme in the Inspector window by hitting Command+i and choosing your theme. If you picked iClouds t-shirt pattern, it’ll look like this:
If you want further eye-candy and customization, you can set opacity and blur as well, and don’t miss out on Terminals new full screen mode, it’s one of my favorite features of OS X Lion.