How can I change default fonts for a shell? Is this the same as changing fonts for xTerm? I am using JeOS and would like to change the fonts, as all of the work I do is in the terminal.

Second, I would prefer to change XTerm's fonts, rather than bash's. I am planning to shift to zsh or fishshell.

Any recommendations for the shell?

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Shells don't have fonts, but the terminal they run in probably does.

Change the font for xTerm.

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  • 3
    @Vivek, I hesitated to answer this question when I saw your 0% Accept Rate in SuperUser. Try accepting a few more helpful answers for your other questions. – pavium Nov 20 '09 at 11:43
  • :) i really meant "put it directly into the comment section underneath the question", where the other 'perspective and sunglasses' comment is lurking around ... – akira Nov 20 '09 at 12:37
  • Yeah, but I saw that comment about sunglasses and didn't want to go near it. – pavium Nov 20 '09 at 21:42

First you have to find out what type your terminal is. Issue "echo $TERM" and if it is

vt100, vt200, ansi or the like

you have to change the font in the terminal emulation software you use (putty, hyperterm, whatever).

xterm or aixterm

right-click into the window while you hold down the ALT-key (or the CTRL-key? not sure, just try) and select a different size from the upcoming menu. To change the fonts selected by the menu entries (if you do not like them altogether) enter the appropriate X-resource string into your "$HOME/.Xdefaults" file.

Here is an example, which will add a font with german diacriticals ("Umlauts") to the XTerm font menu and label it "ISO8859-Charset":


XTerm*VT100*font1: -ibm--medium-r-medium--20-14-100-100-c-90-iso8859-1
XTerm*fontMenu*font1*Label:   ISO8859-Charset


simply select "Options" from the menu. To make the change lasting change the preferences of CDE.


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  • $TERM it gives xterm in gui mode, and in the terminal-mode ie (ctrl+alt+F1) it give linux. i would like to change the fonts (thinner fonts, with lower dpi or something, say courier-new than monospace) – Vivek Sharma Nov 21 '09 at 4:25

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