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Editing Windows Terminal JSON Settings

One way (currently the only way) to configure Windows Terminal is by editing the profiles.json settings file. At the time of writing you can open the settings file in your default editor by selecting Settings from the WT pull down menu.

The settings are stored in the file $env:LocalAppData\Packages\Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_<randomString>\RoamingState\profiles.json.

As of #2515, the settings are split into two files: a hardcoded defaults.json, and profiles.json, which contains the user settings. Users should only be concerned with the contents of the profiles.json, which contains their customizations. The defaults.json file is only provided as a reference of what the default settings are. For more details on how these two files work, see Settings Layering. To view the default settings file, click on the "Settings" button while holding the Alt key.

Details of specific settings can be found here. A general introduction is provided below.

The settings are grouped under four headings:

  1. Global: Settings that apply to the whole application e.g. Default profile, initial size etc.
  2. Key Bindings: Actually a sub field of the global settings, but worth discussing separately
  3. Profiles: A group of settings to be applied to a tab when it is opened using that profile. E.g. shell to use, cursor shape etc.
  4. Schemes: Sets of colors for background, text etc. that can be used by profiles

Global Settings

These settings define startup defaults, and application-wide settings that might not affect a particular terminal instance.

  • Theme
  • Title Bar options
  • Initial size
  • Default profile used when the Windows Terminal is started

Example settings include

    "defaultProfile" : "{58ad8b0c-3ef8-5f4d-bc6f-13e4c00f2530}",
    "initialCols" : 120,
    "initialRows" : 50,
    "requestedTheme" : "system",
    "keybindings" : []

These global properties can exist either in the root json object, or in and object under a root property "globals".

Key Bindings

This is an array of key chords and shortcuts to invoke various commands. Each command can have more than one key binding.

NOTE: Key bindings is a subfield of the global settings and key bindings apply to all profiles in the same manner.

For example, here's a sample of the default keybindings:

        { "command": "closePane", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+w"] },
        { "command": "copy", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+c"] },
        { "command": "newTab", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+t"] },
        // etc.


A profile contains the settings applied when a new WT tab is opened. Each profile is identified by a GUID and contains a number of other fields.

👉 Note: The guid property is the unique identifier for a profile. If multiple profiles all have the same guid value, you may see unexpected behavior.

  • Which command to execute on startup - this can include arguments.
  • Starting directory
  • Which color scheme to use (see Schemes below)
  • Font face and size
  • Various settings to control appearance. E.g. Opacity, icon, cursor appearance, display name etc.
  • Other behavioural settings. E.g. Close on exit, snap on input, .....

Example settings include

    "closeOnExit" : true,
    "colorScheme" : "Campbell",
    "commandline" : "wsl.exe -d Debian",
    "cursorColor" : "#FFFFFF",
    "cursorShape" : "bar",
    "fontFace" : "Hack",
    "fontSize" : 9,
    "guid" : "{58ad8b0c-3ef8-5f4d-bc6f-13e4c00f2530}",
    "name" : "Debian",
    "startingDirectory" : "%USERPROFILE%\\wslhome"

👉 Note: To use backslashes in any path field, you'll need to escape them following JSON escaping rules (like shown above). As an alternative, you can use forward slashes ("%USERPROFILE%/wslhome").

The profile GUID is used to reference the default profile in the global settings.

The values for background image stretch mode are documented here

Hiding a profile

If you want to remove a profile from the list of profiles in the new tab dropdown, but keep the profile around in your profiles.json file, you can add the property "hidden": true to the profile's json. This can also be used to remove the default cmd and PowerShell profiles, if the user does not wish to see them.

Color Schemes

Each scheme defines the color values to be used for various terminal escape sequences. Each schema is identified by the name field. Examples include

    "name" : "Campbell",
    "background" : "#0C0C0C",
    "black" : "#0C0C0C",
    "blue" : "#0037DA",
    "foreground" : "#F2F2F2",
    "green" : "#13A10E",
    "red" : "#C50F1F",
    "white" : "#CCCCCC",
    "yellow" : "#C19C00"

The schema name can then be referenced in one or more profiles.

Settings layering

The runtime settings are actually constructed from three sources:

  • The default settings, which are hardcoded into the application, and available in defaults.json. This includes the default keybindings, color schemes, and profiles for both Windows PowerShell and Command Prompt (cmd.exe).
  • Dynamic Profiles, which are generated at runtime. These include Powershell Core, the Azure Cloud Shell connector, and profiles for and WSL distros.
  • The user settings from profiles.json.

Settings from each of these sources are "layered" upon the settings from previous sources. In this manner, the user settings in profiles.json can contain only the changes from the default settings. For example, if a user would like to only change the color scheme of the default cmd profile to "Solarized Dark", you could change your cmd profile to the following:

            // Make changes here to the cmd.exe profile
            "guid": "{0caa0dad-35be-5f56-a8ff-afceeeaa6101}",
            "colorScheme": "Solarized Dark"

Here, we're know we're changing the cmd profile, because the guid "{0caa0dad-35be-5f56-a8ff-afceeeaa6101}" is cmd's unique GUID. Any profiles with that GUID will all be treated as the same object. Any changes in that profile will overwrite those from the defaults.

Similarly, you can overwrite settings from a color scheme by defining a color scheme in profiles.json with the same name as a default color scheme.

If you'd like to unbind a keystroke that's bound to an action in the default keybindings, you can set the "command" to "unbound" or null. This will allow the keystroke to fallthough to the commandline application instead of performing the default action.

Dynamic Profiles

When dynamic profiles are created at runtime, they'll be added to the profiles.json file. You can identify these profiles by the presence of a "source" property. These profiles are tied to their source - if you uninstall a linux distro, then the profile will remain in your profiles.json file, but the profile will be hidden.

If you'd like to disable a particular dynamic profile source, you can add that source to the global "disabledProfileSources" array. For example, if you'd like to hide all the WSL profiles, you could add the following setting:

    "disabledProfileSources": ["Microsoft.Terminal.WSL"],

Configuration Examples:

Add a custom background to the WSL Debian terminal profile

  1. Download the Debian JPG logo

  2. Put the image in the $env:LocalAppData\Packages\Microsoft.WindowsTerminal_<randomString>\RoamingState\ directory (same directory as your profiles.json file).

    NOTE: You can put the image anywhere you like, the above suggestion happens to be convenient.

  3. Open your WT json properties file.

  4. Under the Debian Linux profile, add the following fields:

    "backgroundImage": "ms-appdata:///Roaming/openlogo-100.jpg",
    "backgroundImageOpacity": 1,
    "backgroundImageStretchMode" : "none",
    "backgroundImageAlignment" : "topRight",
  1. Make sure that useAcrylic is false.
  2. Save the file.
  3. Jump over to WT and verify your changes.


  1. You will need to experiment with different color settings and schemes to make your terminal text visible on top of your image
  2. If you store the image in the UWP directory (the same directory as your profiles.json file), then you should use the URI style path name given in the above example. More information about UWP URI schemes here.
  3. Instead of using a UWP URI you can use a:
    1. URL such as
    2. Local file location such as C:\Users\Public\Pictures\openlogo.jpg

Adding Copy and Paste Keybindings

As of #1093 (first available in Windows Terminal v0.3), the Windows Terminal now supports copy and paste keyboard shortcuts. However, if you installed and ran the terminal before that, you won't automatically get the new keybindings added to your settings. If you'd like to add shortcuts for copy and paste, you can do so by inserting the following objects into your globals.keybindings array:

{ "command": "copy", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+c"] },
{ "command": "paste", "keys": ["ctrl+shift+v"] }

This will add copy and paste on ctrl+shift+c and ctrl+shift+v respectively.

You can set the keybindings to whatever you'd like. If you prefer ctrl+c to copy, then set the keys to "ctrl+c".

You can even set multiple keybindings for a single action if you'd like. For example:

                "command" : "paste",
                "keys" :
                "command" : "paste",
                "keys" :

will bind both ctrl+shift+v and shift+Insert to paste.

Note: If you set your copy keybinding to "ctrl+c", you'll only be able to send an interrupt to the commandline application using Ctrl+C when there's no text selection. Additionally, if you set paste to "ctrl+v", commandline applications won't be able to read a ctrl+v from the input. For these reasons, we suggest "ctrl+shift+c" and "ctrl+shift+v"

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