Configuration Menu

  • To access the main menu, hold down the control key and click the left mouse button
  • Ctrl-Middle Button is the terminal options (Preferences) - hint, you can set reverse video here.
  • Ctrl-Right Button is the font options.

To scroll using the scrollbar, grab the grey bar with the middle button.

Alt vs Meta

At some stage (eg xterm version 187 in Debian Unstable), xterm started treating keyboard input differently when the Alt key was pressed. (For PC keyboards, the Alt key has the mod_1 X keyboard modifier set). For example, pressing Alt+x generates a "ø" and pressing Alt+q now generates "ñ". This isn't very good if you want to use the Alt key in emacs(1) in the terminal. The best solution for this is to add XTerm*eightBitInput: false to either $HOME/.Xresources (for a single user) or to /etc/X11/app-defaults/XTerm (for a system wide default). The same change can be made for the UXTerm class for when you're using a UTF-8 xterm.

Another solution (that isn't as tidy as the above) is to use xmodmap(1) to tell X that your Alt key should generate Meta:

xmodmap -e 'keysym Alt_L = Meta_L'

Startup Options

Some handy command line options that xterm understands:

launch the shell as a login shell so it’ll load the startup files like /etc/profile, .bashrc
put the scrolbar on the right side of the term
visual bell, flash the window instead of beeping the speaker
-fg foreground colour -bg background colour
change colours
swap forground/background colours
-e command
run the command instead of launching a shell
-fa "bitstream vera sans mono" -fs 8
use AntiAliasedFonts!

All of these can also be put into your .Xresources so that they will be permanently active without having to pass all these parameters to xterm every time.

Setting the window title

echo -ne "\033]0This is a title\007"

The number after the ] can be 0, 1 or 2:


Set both the icon name and window title


Set just the icon name


Set just the window title

Check your .bashrc to see that the PROMPT_COMMAND EnvironmentVariable isn't set to overwrite your newly set window title every time it displays a prompt.

The full nitty-gritty

See xterm(1).