I would like to make the background of Gnome Terminal transparent. I know this feature has been removed from Gnome but I find it very helpful. I am wondering what's the best way to achieve this. I'm working under Debian Testing with Gnome 3 (Gnome shell 3.14.2) on a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon (3rd gen.)

I thought the Gnome extension "Transparent Windows" would be good, but Google Chrome gives me "We cannot detect a running copy of GNOME on this system...". This is a known bug. With Iceweasel (Firefox), I could not find the extension under extensions.gnome.org, but when searching for it via Google, it showed up. I then installed it but nothing happened thereafter, the extension does not show up in Tweak Tool -> Extensions for example... (not even after reboot...). So I guess this is not working.

I then found devilspie (see https://rgrunber.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/get-to-know-a-command-devilspie/; there is also http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=293843) and did the following:

sudo apt-get install devilspie
cd ~/.config
mkdir .devilspie
cd .devilspie
emacs terminal-opacity.ds 
# put in terminal-opacity.ds:
   (matches (window_name) "Terminal")
   (opacity 84)

One then has to execute devilspie -a /home/myuser/.config/.devilspie/terminal.opacity.ds on login, not sure if I do this step correctly (any suggestions). For now I execute it by hand. When I then open a new terminal, nothing changed....


As it seems (see here or enter link description here), one needs (additional) tools like transset-df which are very old and not easily available anymore... I still hope someone has figured out a way to have a transparent terminal window...

3 Answers 3


... Apparently this is not easily possible at the moment. I therefore used the application Terminator which provides a terminal with that feature.


Unfortunately mainstream gnome-terminal has removed the transparency option, but Fedora 21 and Ubuntu Vivid have a patch that bring it back. You can find this patch in their repos, and recompile gnome-terminal with this patch for yourself.

(At this moment unfortunately I wouldn't recommend using Terminator. It's stuck with a very old (Gtk+2-based) libvte, which is the actual terminal emulation widget. That old version contains many-many bugs that were fixed since then. You get hundreds of bugfixes - dozens of serious ones - if you choose gnome-terminal instead.)

  • do you know any alternative to stock gnome terminal? I'm pretty upset with there minimalism, and not even providing us with all that existing fuctionality as a plugin, at least
    – opensas
    Feb 4, 2019 at 3:29

goto firefox/addons/plugins in the browser then set gnome shell integration to always active and then you have to reload the gnome extension site. after that procedure you can install gnome shell extensions from: https://extensions.gnome.org/

  • ps: im also searching for a function or addon to turn the terminal transparent but dont know how..
    – linus
    Feb 9, 2017 at 21:47

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