In Ubuntu 14.04, in the terminal I want to display the three Unicode characters:

U+2591 ░ Light shade

U+2592 ▒ Medium shade

U+2593 ▓ Dark shade

When I echo these characters in the terminal, I get the following, regardless which font I'm using.:

unicode shade characters

How to make them look as above (from Wikipedia)?


This screenshot shows exactly what I mean:

screenshot 2

On the left is a bit of Geany with the character I want to display. On the right the same character as it appears in the terminal. Clearly they are different. Perhaps I'm being a bit thick here... I want the character to be displayed as in Geany, ie. as a small chessboard.

  • Those look like dark, medium and light to me. Change the terminal background colour, if you don't like it. – muru Apr 27 '16 at 19:47
  • The ones in my terminal are different to those in wikipedia. Mine seem to be solid, whereas wikipedia ones, particularly 'Light shade', are see-through. – Alichino Apr 27 '16 at 19:52
  • O.o They are see-through in your case. You can see the background colour behind the blocks. – muru Apr 27 '16 at 19:55
  • 1
    @egmont no, I don't, but if OP had it working correctly last year, I figured something must have changed over that time to 14.04's GNOME Terminal – muru Apr 28 '16 at 4:57

The U+2500 .. U+25AF characters are drawn manually by VTE, not taken from the font. And, indeed, the three particular characters you've mentioned are drawn as single solid colors.

This is the same as the imaginary result of printing the pattern with the dots being infinitely small (and having an infinite amount of them to achieve the desired density), and applying antialiasing.

I guess the reason for this approach was that printing multiple of these characters next to each other with your preferred look doesn't look nice on the boundary of such cells at many font sizes.

  • Hmmm. Well, your answer explains the problem, that's for sure! However, is there a way to display the shades as I want? As you said - taken from the font? – Alichino Apr 29 '16 at 12:12
  • You need to modify VTE's source code in order to do this. – egmont Apr 29 '16 at 22:22

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