What is the correct way to non-interactively change the console font?

I have a HiDPI display and need a larger console font. I can set it interactively just fine using:

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure console-setup
# Select UTF-8 -> Guess -> Terminus -> 16x32
update-initramfs: deferring update (trigger activated)
Processing triggers for initramfs-tools (0.130ubuntu3.5) ...
update-initramfs: Generating /boot/initrd.img-4.15.0-43-generic

However, if I try to set it non-interactively as follows:

 $ sudo debconf-set-selections <<EOF 
 console-setup console-setup/charmap47 select UTF-8
 console-setup console-setup/codeset47 select Guess optimal character set
 console-setup console-setup/codesetcode string guess
 console-setup console-setup/fontface47 select Terminus
 console-setup console-setup/fontsize string 16x32
 console-setup console-setup/fontsize-fb47 select 16x32 (framebuffer only)
 console-setup console-setup/fontsize-text47 select 16x32 (framebuffer only)

This does not work. Running setupcon has no effect. If I check /etc/default/console-setup, I see the font info is updated when I run dpkg-reconfigure, and dpkg-reconfigure also triggers update-initramfs, so it seems more is going on with dpkg-reconfigure that my debconf-set-selections does not trigger. How do I find these actions and trigger them after my debconf-set-selections?

1 Answer 1


You will need to do this in /etc/default/console-setup file, let's say if we're gonna to use Terminus 16x32 fonts, the command will be:

sudo sed -i '/^FONTFACE/s/^/#/' /etc/default/console-setup # comment out the old value
sudo sed -i '/^FONTSIZE/s/^/#/' /etc/default/console-setup # comment out the old value
echo 'FONTFACE="TER"' | sudo tee -a /etc/default/console-setup # Set font to Terminus
echo 'FONTSIZE="16x32"' | sudo tee -a /etc/default/console-setup # Set font size

And finally, apply your change with sudo update-initramfs -u

Also, Ubuntu kernels (starts from Xenial) will soon support FONT_TER16x32 for console display in early boot stage [1].

To benefit from this HiDPI fonts support, one just need to add "fbcon=font:TER16x32" to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX in /etc/default/grub, and run sudo update-grub

[1] https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/linux/+bug/1819881

  • Either I've messed up my system testing this, or there is still another step, because this did not work for me. I edited console-setup per your commands, ran update-intramfs, rebooted, and still had a small console font.
    – proximous
    Apr 15, 2019 at 13:57
  • I was using this command for console-setup on a freshly installed Xenial server and it works well.
    – P.-H. Lin
    Apr 24, 2019 at 9:35
  • 1
    I tried the above on a fresh 20.04 and it works so I'm marking this solved with my thanks!
    – proximous
    Jan 5, 2021 at 19:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.