Is it possible to open a new tab in the current terminal with some commands?


9 Answers 9


If you just want to open a new tab

To open a new tab in the current opened terminal you can press SHIFT+CTRL+T. Alternatively, use the top level menu, which shows the keyboard shortcut (see screenshot below)

If you want to do it from the command line

Install xdotool - a program that lets you simulate keyboard input (among other things).

sudo apt-get install xdotool

then type in the terminal:

xdotool key ctrl+shift+t

That will simulate pressing the key combination, and open the new tab in the terminal.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Great answer, really easy to follow. How would one make a shortcut for switching to the next/previous tab? This would help immensely. Sep 15, 2014 at 12:24
  • What window theme are you using? Really like it
    – xoner
    Feb 6, 2015 at 8:37
  • Thats I am not using right now. Its long ago. not sure I didnt remember the name.@xoner
    – rɑːdʒɑ
    Feb 8, 2015 at 5:38
  • 1
    There is no need for xdotools. ctrl+shift+t opens a new tab in the default ubuntu terminal with no modifications necessary.
    – user137717
    Aug 27, 2015 at 20:13
  • 2
    @user137717 the question does ask for a command line, not a keyboard shortcut, therefore you need xdotools. Aug 29, 2016 at 10:37

In Gnome Terminal Emulator just use Ctrl+Shift+T

You can check and change this and other key combinations in Edit menu.

  • 10
    The question searches for a command and not for a shortcut.
    – BuZZ-dEE
    Jan 2, 2014 at 9:33
  • I'd love to be able to cntrl+tab between the tabs Mar 15, 2016 at 11:14
  • 2
    @JamieHutber You can use Ctrl+PgUp and Ctrl+PgDn
    – wjandrea
    Sep 11, 2017 at 3:32

in the terminal the shortcut key is

Ctrl + Shift + T

this shortcut can also be edited

  • 4
    that is not a command line solution, but a keyboard shortcut. Aug 29, 2016 at 10:36
  • 1
    hwo to switch between tabs in terminal ? Sep 15, 2016 at 19:31
  • 4
    For switching tabs between terminal use CTRL + PAGEUP/PAGEDOWN
    – iec2011007
    Sep 16, 2016 at 8:13

New tab Ctrl + Shift + T

Close tab: Ctrl + Shift + W

Switch tab: Ctrl + Pg Up and Ctrl + Pg Dn

Move tab: Ctrl + Shift + Pg Up and Ctrl + Shift + Pg Dn

  • 2
    Where are the command line commands?
    – user723790
    Aug 10, 2018 at 9:12

Huh, I do this to fork a build process. package.sh builds and uploads docker images - so I prefer them to overlap. gnome-terminal has some command line options to make new tabs:

BRANCH=${1?choose an environment e.g. stage, demo, production}

if [ -x "$(command -v gnome-terminal)" ]; then
  # run in parallel for gnome-terminal
  gnome-terminal \
  --tab --working-directory=`pwd` --command "zsh -is eval './package.sh app1 $BRANCH'" \
  --tab --working-directory=`pwd` --command "zsh -is eval 'sleep 75  && ./package.sh app2 $BRANCH'" \
  --tab --working-directory=`pwd` --command "zsh -is eval 'sleep 150 && ./package.sh app3 $BRANCH'" \
  --tab --working-directory=`pwd` --command "zsh -is eval 'sleep 225 && ./package.sh app4 $BRANCH'" \

  # run one at a time for bash
  ./package.sh app1 $BRANCH
  ./package.sh app2 $BRANCH
  ./package.sh app3 $BRANCH
  ./package.sh app4 $BRANCH


Use package ttab

Edit like this

ttab 'cd /Users/chenkai/gh/g-imagery-api && npm run dev '
  • 5
    Please, provide a more detailed answer, include more specific commands and not just link to another solution. Apr 3, 2019 at 14:42

If you want to open a new tab to a specific directory:

  1. Set the shortcut to Switch to Last Tab in your terminal Preferences.

  2. Put the shortcut to the command below.

    gnome-terminal --tab --working-directory=$HOME/path/to/the/dir; xdotool key <Switch to Last Tab shortcut>

Make sure you have xdotool installed.

  • Open the terminal

  • maximize it (or just click the terminal window)

  • at top bar, click Terminal-->Preferences

  • under General option, switch Window to Tab

  • after that, whenever you want to open new terminal, RightClick in the terminal --> Open Terminal


The way i usually want to do this is when i start typing cd some/directory/to-switch-to and then i realize i would much rather open that directory in a new tab. This function will open a new tab in the same directory if no path is specified, and in the specified directory (absolute, home-relative, or current directory relative) if one is supplied, with much credit to @wolcen.

tcd() {
  if [ -d ${PWD}/$1 ]; then
    gnome-terminal --tab --working-directory=${PWD}/$1
    gnome-terminal --tab --working-directory=$1

Usage example:

tcd some/directory

Now if i've finished typing a cd command i can press ctrl+a and t and ENTER to instead open the directory in a new tab with just a few keystrokes.

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