All I want to do is make the background for Mac OS X's Terminal Black so that I can run a Perl script with Terminal and have the background black for that.

How would I do this for Mac OS X?
How would I do this for an average Linux?

  • well, which terminal on linux? xterm has a different method of configuration from gnome-terminal from konsole, etc etc etc...
    – Babu
    Jan 25, 2010 at 14:15
  • There are many different terminals for GNU+Linux. Personally I prefer Terminator. It has pretty good defaults as for me. May 12, 2021 at 11:01

4 Answers 4


I'm not sure about Linux but on Mac OS X you can change the theme in the preferences. Open Terminal, then go to the Terminal menu -> Preferences, choose the Settings tab and set the Pro theme as the default.

If you don't need it as the default you can choose Shell -> New Window/Tab -> Pro and you'll get a one off terminal with that theme.

I'm sure something similar is possible on Linux also.


Terminal application in macOS

  • Pull down the Terminal menu and choose “Preferences”, then click the “Profiles” tab.
  • Select profile with name "Pro". You can make it default using the button with text "Default" right under the list.
  • Click "Color & Effects" to customize the background and opacity. (e.g. I don't like transparency).
  • Then under the “Text” tab check the boxes for "Use bold fonts" "Display ANSI colors" and "Use bright colors for bold text". This makes things like directories and executables be bold and brighter, making them easier to spot in listings.
  • Under "Font", click "Change..." and select SF Mono and size 11pt.

In my case preferences look like this: Terminal Preferences / Profile

And the final result looks like this: Terminal window with Tmux (htop and git log output)

You can find more on page Simple Tricks to Improve the Terminal Appearance in Mac OS X (section "Enable Bold Fonts, ANSI Colors, & Bright Colors").

  • 2
    After this, Shell -> Edit Background Color -> Set Opacity to 100% to avoid the transparency when not on full screen.
    – cegprakash
    Feb 19, 2020 at 15:08

Assuming that you want to change the colours of the screen from your Perl script, then you could look at using ANSI Color from CPAN. For example code, look here.


Since at least MacOS Mojave, Apple provides a "dark" desktop theme -- which also makes the terminal light-text-on-dark-background.

In System Preferences -> General -> Appearance, select Dark:

System Preferences -- General

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