It is common for me to have around 20 Terminal sessions grouped in about 5 or 6 windows.

My biggest problem is that I have a very hard time visually finding the group of windows that interests me in a particular moment. I find myself cycling thru all the windows in Terminal until I find the one that I need.

In an ideal world, Terminal app would have a user defined text in 18pt bold text between the titlebar and the tabs. Then I wouldnt have any problems.

If you have a situation like mine, how do you manage?

3 Answers 3


I use GNU Screen for this purpose. Very customizable, and available for Mac as well:

alt text

  • downside: no mouse pushing between split screens... Aug 10, 2011 at 20:29
  • I don't see that as a downside, the terminal is much faster if you know how to use it.
    – user1931
    Aug 10, 2011 at 21:44
  • Eye of the beholder :-) but agree that it's not a downside per se. I use C-a n/p and C-a a a lot, and when using split screen nex/previous can be a bit tedious... direct hopping in this case is much faster. But, in some cases I switch off the caption when I have a lot of windows, to save space on the notebook screen, and then it takes me longer to figure out the screen number vs. nudging the mouse over it... Aug 15, 2011 at 19:20

You could try iTerm. I have mine setup with the title determined by the machine its logged into.
This line in .cshrc is what does it:

alias cwdcmd 'printf "ESC]1;%s^GESC]2;%s^G" "$cwd:t $cwd:h:t" "$USER@$HOST $cwd" '

This sets the the title to 'user@hostname dir'

I also have the prompt color set

set prompt="\n%{\033[32m%}%U%n@%m[%h]%u "
  • These also work with Terminal, though prior to Lion it only supported setting the window and tab titles to the same value. As of Mac OS X Lion 10.7 you can set the window and tab titles separately.
    – Chris Page
    Aug 21, 2011 at 10:30

You can customize the window titles, either manually or automatically. The window title is normally associated with each tab and updates to reflect the currently selected tab. To have a given window display the same title no matter which tab is selected, you'll need to arrange to set the window title of all the tabs in the window to the same value.

As @KeithB mentioned, you can set the window title programmatically from within each shell or program running in a terminal via an escape sequence. If the terminals in the same window have something in common that you can key off of, you can have them all set the window title to the same (or a related) value.

You can also set the window title manually using the Inspector (Shell > Edit Title). If you do this and then save the terminal windows in a Window Group, the titles will be restored whenever you open the group.

Since you're setting up 20 terminals, I'm assuming you're already using a Window Group, but if you're not, look into it. You can set up your windows and tabs and save them so you can recreate them again later. You can even tell Terminal to open a given Window Group when Terminal starts (Terminal > Preferences > Startup). As of Mac OS X Lion 10.7, Window Groups can also automatically restore commands or ssh sessions created via Shell > New Command and Shell > New Remote Connection.

You can also customize the window title for multiple terminals via

Terminal > Preferences > Settings > [profile] > Window > Title

For each window, create a custom settings profile and customize the title. Create each of the tabs in a given window using the same profile (or assign the profile using the Inspector after creating the terminals). Then the tabs in a given window will all have the same title.

You can use custom profiles in combination with Window Groups, as well. Window Groups remember the settings profile of each terminal.

You can also differentiate terminals using different background colors or (in Lion) images, using settings profiles. Again, assign all the tabs in a given window the same profile if you want all the tabs in a given window to have the same appearance.

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