I am using terminator 0.96 as terminal emulator. How can I make it run in the background and make it appear/disappear like guake terminal (i.e. using a shortcut key).


7 Answers 7


I was trying do the same thing (being a fan of both guake and terminator). Here's what I came up with (a customized version of desqua's answer to this question):

To launch an application or to show its window if already launched or to minimize if it is focused

1) Install wmctrl & xdotool, or in a terminal: sudo apt-get install wmctrl xdotool

2) Make a script:

  • Make a file gedit ~/bin/launch_focus_min.sh

And paste this:

# This script does this:
# launch an app if it isn't launched yet,
# focus the app if it is launched but not focused,
# minimize the app if it is focused.
# by desgua - 2012/04/29
# modified by olds22 - 2012/09/16
#  - customized to accept a parameter
#  - made special exception to get it working with terminator

# First let's check if the needed tools are installed:

tool1=$(which xdotool)
tool2=$(which wmctrl)

if [ -z $tool1 ]; then
  echo "Xdotool is needed, do you want to install it now? [Y/n]"
  read a
  if [[ $a == "Y" || $a == "y" || $a = "" ]]; then
    sudo apt-get install xdotool
    echo "Exiting then..."
    exit 1

if [ -z $tool2 ]; then
  echo "Wmctrl is needed, do you want to install it now? [Y/n]"
  read a
  if [[ $a == "Y" || $a == "y" || $a = "" ]]; then
    sudo apt-get install wmctrl
    echo "Exiting then..."
    exit 1

# check if we're trying to use an app that needs a special process name
# (because it runs multiple processes and/or under a different name)
if [[ $app == terminator ]]; then

# Check if the app is running (in this case $process_name)

#pid=$(pidof $process_name) # pidof didn't work for terminator
pid=$(pgrep -f $process_name)

# If it isn't launched, then launch

if [ -z $pid ]; then


  # If it is launched then check if it is focused

  foc=$(xdotool getactivewindow getwindowpid)

  if [[ $pid == $foc ]]; then

    # if it is focused, then minimize
    xdotool getactivewindow windowminimize
    # if it isn't focused then get focus
    wmctrl -x -R $app

exit 0
  • Make it executable: chmod +x ~/bin/launch_focus_min.sh

3) Make your keyboard shortcut:

  • Open your keyboard settings and create a custom shorcut with the command: /home/<user>/bin/launch_focus_min.sh terminator (~/bin won't work)

  • assign this command to Shift+Escape (or whatever keyboard shortcut you used for guake).

  • I tried this but it does not seem to work for me.
    – Chirag
    Sep 20, 2012 at 11:44
  • This is the perfect solution, The best of Guake with the best of Terminator, Thanks.
    – wranvaud
    Jan 25, 2015 at 1:37
  • had to change "~/bin/launch_focus_min.sh terminator" into "/home/<user>/bin/launch_focus_min.sh terminator" for it to work for me Mar 7, 2015 at 0:19
  • I had to add a bash shebang to the beginning of the file to get it to run properly under zsh: #!/bin/bash Oct 6, 2019 at 12:13

The easiest way to do this would be use xdotool, and use the windowunmap/windowmap command to hide/unhide the desired class of windows. (This approach was not mentioned in the other answers that mention xdotool.) The solution will work well across all desktops, whatever window manager they are using. As the manpage notes,

In X11 terminology, mapping a window means making it visible on the screen.

So, unmapping a window will do the opposite and hide the window. Unfortunately, there is no toggle available to use with xdotool to switch between map/unmap states, but the two commands you need are below. The first hides the window:

xdotool search --class terminator windowunmap %@

and the second reverses the effect:

xdotool search --class terminator windowmap %@

Please note that if the window is already minimised, the windowunmap command will be unsuccessful.

For more information see man xdotool, the Ubuntu manpages online, and my answer to this related question.


By selecting a set of preferences in Terminator, you can make it work almost similar to Guake.

Refer to the following article for detailed explanation.

I would advise you to follow all the steps in the article to get the desired results. I skipped a few steps, thinking they weren't necessary, but were actually needed to overcome some bugs.


I would recommend simply using yakuake, a terminal in the same style as guake for the kde desktop.

You can install it by running sudo apt-get install yakuake.

  • Cannot leave terminator. I am using it since, last 2 years. Almost addicted to it by now. :)
    – Chirag
    Aug 10, 2012 at 19:31

Well the simplest solution would be just to lock Terminator to launcher and use the shortcuts that Ubuntu provides.

You can starts any application that is locked to launcher using the launcher shortcut:

Super + 1 to 9

For a full list of ready available shortcuts, hold the Super key.


I wrote a script to raise and minimize the gnome terminal with byobu in linux mint, because guake has some weird console output messes. Then I added it to the shortcuts in the administrator keyboard->shurtcuts section.

script named guake-toggling-for-gnome-terminal.sh:

#!/usr/bin/env bash
if ! pgrep -x "gnome-terminal" > /dev/null
    gnome-terminal --app-id us.kirkland.terminals.byobu -e byobu

byobuVisible=$(xdotool search --onlyvisible byobu)
byobuNotVisible=$(xdotool search byobu)
xdotool windowminimize ${byobuVisible}
xdotool windowraise ${byobuNotVisible}

Byobu is just the window name here.


The accepted answer didn't fully worked for me.

pgrep -f terminal // this does not give pid of renning terminator

I tweak this with

pid=`ps aux | grep terminator | awk '{print $2}'`

in line 54

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