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Guake is a top-down terminal for GNOME (in the style of Yakuake for KDE, Tilda or the terminal used in Quake).



Install guake, available in the official repositories.


Once installed, you can start Guake from the terminal with:

$ guake

After guake has started you can right click on the interface and select Preferences to change the hotkey to drop the terminal automatically, by default it is set to F12.

Also, you can adjust many of the Guake preferences with gconf-editor tool under apps > guake. If it's not enough for you, you are always free to copy the guake executable (/usr/bin/guake) to /usr/local/bin/guake and edit it in text editor, since it's just a Python script. Remember to make the file executable.


You may want Guake to load on starting up Desktop Environment. To do this, you need to

# cp /usr/share/applications/guake.desktop /etc/xdg/autostart/

See Autostarting for more info.

Guake scripting

Like Yakuake, Guake allows to control itself at runtime by sending the D-Bus messages. Thus it can be used to start Guake in a user defined session. You can create tabs, assign names for them and also ask to run any specific command in any opened tab or just to show/hide Guake window, manually in a terminal or by creating a custom script for it.

Example of such a script is given below this section.

You can use guake executable itself to send D-Bus messages. Here is the list of available options you may be interested in:

  • -t, --toggle-visibility — toggle the visibility of the terminal window. Actually, you can just type guake, and it will toggle the visibility of already running instance.
  • -f, --fullscreen — put Guake to fullscreen mode.
  • --show — show Guake main window.
  • --hide — hide Guake main window.
  • -n CUR_DIR, --new-tab=CUR_DIR — create new tab and select it. Value of CUR_DIR used to set a current directory for the tab, if specified.
  • -s INDEX, --select-tab=INDEX — select tab with index INDEX. Tab indexes are started with 0.
  • -g, --selected-tab — print index of currently selected tab.
  • -e CMD, --execute-command=CMD — execute an arbitrary command CMD in the selected tab.
  • -i INDEX, --tab-index=INDEX — used with --rename-tab to specify index INDEX of a tab to rename. Default value is 0.
  • --rename-tab=TITLE — set the tab name to TITLE. You can reset tab title to default value by passing a single dash ("-"). Use -i option to specify which tab to rename.
  • --bgcolor=RGB — set the hexadecimal (#rrggbb) background color RGB of the selected tab.
  • --fgcolor=RGB — set the hexadecimal (#rrggbb) foreground color RGB of the selected tab.
  • -r TITLE, --rename-current-tab=TITLE — same as --rename-tab, but renames the currently selected tab.
  • -q, --quit — shutdown running Guake instance.

Multiple options may be combined in a single call. If there's no guake instance running, all of the options specified will be applied to the newly created instance.

To display list of all available options, type guake --help.

There are 2 ways of starting guake while applying these scripts

  • copying the below example into a file like making it executable and running that file instead of guake
  • right clicking on Guake Terminal > Preferences > General and adding the path to the script in the "Path to script executed on Guake start:" section while making certain to comment out /usr/bin/guake & from the script below

The second option is preferable if you want the script to run regardless of how guake is started and you can still instruct guake not to run the script with guake --no-startup-script if needed.



/usr/bin/guake &
sleep 5 # let main guake process start and initialize D-Bus session

# adjust tab which was opened by default
guake --rename-tab="iotop" --execute="/usr/bin/iotop"

# create new tab, start bash session in it
guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
# and then execute htop, renaming the tab to "htop"
guake --execute="/usr/bin/htop" --rename-current-tab="htop"

# ...
guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --execute="/usr/bin/atop" --rename-current-tab="atop"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --execute="~/" --rename-current-tab="iptables -nvL"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --execute="/usr/bin/journalctl --follow --full" --rename-current-tab="journalctl"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --execute="/usr/bin/irssi" --rename-current-tab="irssi"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --execute="/usr/bin/sudo -i" --rename-current-tab="rootshell0"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --execute="/usr/bin/sudo -i" --rename-current-tab="rootshell1"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --rename-current-tab="shell0"

guake --new-tab --execute="/usr/bin/bash"
guake --rename-current-tab="shell1"

Notice than we should wait some time calling sleep to avoid race conditions between running instances.

Using Guake on multiple monitors

There are two GConf options allowing you to change the screen on which Guake window will appear:

  • /apps/guake/general/display_n — display to appear on if the mouse_display option is not set. If this is set to an invalid value (as in the case of removing a screen from a system), the invalid value is automatically updated to the current primary screen.
  • /apps/guake/general/mouse_display — appear on the mouse display. This overrides any setting in display_n.

Use some tool like gconf-editor to edit GConf options.


'Ctrl' keybind problem

As of guake 0.4.2-7 there has been a noted bug affecting multiple users concerning the use of the Ctrl key to toggle Guake window visibility (i.e. users that setup Ctrl+Shift+z to open the guake console are able to open it by just pressing Shift+z, independent on whether Ctrl key has been pressed).

To solve the problem you should manually fix the value of the GConf key /apps/guake/keybindings/global/show_hide. Open a gconf-editor, navigate to apps > guake > keybindings > global > show_hide and replace <Primary> with <Control>.

In Floating WM

If you are using Tilda and a floating WM, you may find out that you can use class string "Tilda" to set the window keep floating. But that Guake's WM_CLASS(STRING)'s out put is "", so you should use "" to do this. For example, in i3wm, add this to your .i3/config:

for_window [class=""] floating enable

See also