Tips

How to change color in ‘Windows Terminal’

Windows Terminal is Microsoft’s new and improved terminal software designed to run command prompt, Powershell, and Azure Cloud Shell all under one roof. Windows Terminal has been bestowed with a number of customization options to make it even more delightful to use.

Using a source code editor like Visual Studio Code makes it much easier to make changes to lines of code. Simply download the application and install it. The app will automatically associate all your .json files to open with it. Else, you can simply use a lightweight but feature-rich text editor like Notepad++.

Before proceeding any further, it’s good to make either of Visual Studio Code or Notepad++ as your default software for .json files. For this, create a dummy .json file on your PC, rename it ‘test.json’, right-click on it, and then select Open with, and then choose either of Visual Studio Code or Notepad++ software.

Now that you have your code editor, let’s dive right in and see how to edit the default .json file of Windows Terminal to change the color of your Windows Terminal.

How to use color schemes

Windows Terminal comes with its very own color schemes. The default scheme for Windows Terminal is set to ‘Campbell’. If you would like to change the scheme, you can do so using the ‘Settings’ option. Click the dropdown arrow next to the ‘New tab’ icon and click ‘Settings’.

You will be greeted with the ‘settings.json’ file. Making changes to this file will directly affect the appearance and functions of the Terminal.

If you would like to apply the scheme to all the profiles, i.e. Command Prompt, Powershell, and Azure Cloud Shell, then make sure you add the lines below ‘defaults’ under ‘profiles’. To set a scheme to a specific profile, simply add it under the respective profile.

Now in the settings.json file, add the line given below under the Defaults to change the background color for all the windows to ‘One Half Dark’. You can choose between any color scheme you want, but more on that below. (Do not add command or anything else after it.)

"colorScheme": "One Half Dark"

The command line should look like this:

Now go to File > Save, or hit Ctrl+s on your keyboard. If your Windows Terminal is open, you should see the new background immediately. Otherwise, launch the app to view the changes.

Chang color of Windows Terminal

As you can see in the GIF above, we used three color schemes: One Half Light, One Half Dark, and Campbell. But there are many more color schemes available. Read on.

What Color schemes are available in Windows Terminal?

There are a total of nine color schemes available in Windows Terminal. To view how these color schemes look like, visit this page by Microsoft where they have listed each of the color schemes with their font colors and all.

However, here’s a simple list of the nine color schemes available in Windows Terminal by default:

  • Campbell
  • Campbell Powershell
  • Vintage
  • One Half Dark
  • One Half Light
  • Solarized Dark
  • Solarized Light
  • Tango Dark
  • Tango Light

How to change any default color schemes

Well, it’s easily possible for you to change the colors of any of the default color scheme.

But for this, you need to open the defaults.json file which has the default settings for the color schemes

How to open defaults.json

To open the defaults.json, click the drop-down arrow next to the ‘New tab’ icon in the Windows Terminal and this time hold down the ‘alt’ key and then click Settings. This will bring up the ‘defaults.json’ file. Here you can view all the default settings that come with the terminal.

If you scroll down to ‘schemes’ (line 66 in the screenshot below), you will notice a number of schemes listed along with their color palates in hexadecimal. You only need the name of the scheme to apply it in the settings.json file. Copy only the name of a scheme. For example, “Campbell”.

How to customize the color schemes

If the default color schemes aren’t enough for you, you can even customize them as you like! To do so, open both the defaults.json file and the settings.json file. It’s best not to make changes to the default.json file. So go ahead and copy a color scheme from the file. Make sure you do not include the brackets since the settings.json file already has them. Follow the image below to copy a color scheme.

Once you have copied the color scheme, go to the settings.json file and paste it under the “defaults” (line 30). Note: This will apply the theme for all the profiles. To apply the scheme to a particular profile, paste the scheme under that profile.

Now that you have pasted the scheme in the settings.json file, you can go ahead and edit the hexadecimal values of the colors, to customize the scheme. Don’t worry, these changes won’t affect your color  schemes. Go to File > Save once you are done.

How to change the cursor color

Included in its list of customizable appearances, you can also change the color of your blinking cursor. This is quite easily done. Using the guide above, open the setting.json file, and scroll to the line under “defaults” (line 30). Start typing “cursorColor:” to get a prompt for the command. Enter a hexadecimal value for the color you would like and then save the file. The command should look like this.

"cursorColor": "#790e8b"

How to add acrylic effect

Instead of a simple boring colored background, you can customize it to have a nice shiny acrylic effect! Additionally, you change the value to make your background opaque, so that you can see through it!

To give your background an acrylic effect, open the settings.json file and under “defaults” (line 30) start typing “useAcrylic”. You should get a prompt for the command. The default setting for this command is set to ‘false’, so go ahead and change it to ‘true’.

"useAcrylic": true

Once you save the file, you should see the change take effect immediately!

How to change the transparency level of Acrylic effect

To adjust the opacity in order to see through the window, under “defaults” start typing “acrylicOpacity”. The default for this command is set to 0.5. You can change this to anything between 0 and 1. The lower the number, the more translucent the window will get. Don’t forget to save the file!

"acrylicOpacity": 0.3

Note: To use “acrylicOpacity”, the “useacrylic” command must be set to ‘true’.


We hope this helped you in changing the background color of your Windows Terminal easily. If you need any help, do let us know.