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Transparent Terminal Apps
Terminal windows can be made transparent simply by typing the following text at the command line:
defaults write TerminalOpaqueness '0.85'
The amount of transparency can be adjusted by using values between 0 and 1 (with 1 being completely opaque).

You will need to open a new terminal window to see the result.
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You can do this from PropertyListEditor
Authored by: marmoset on Nov 21, '00 06:19:53PM

If you have the developer tools, you can
open up the file
plist in your home directory with the
PropertyListEditor. Then do what looks
natural. :)

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OS X 4k17 Improves this
Authored by: Anonymous on Jan 25, '01 10:57:05PM

Good news! With the Public Beta, this trick would make the whole window transparent,
including the title bar and scroll bars. With the 4K17 (MacWorld) build, this is fixed so the title
bar and scroll bars are always 100% opaque.

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ghosted text
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 09, '01 09:26:06AM
I tried this on my release verion install of OS X.

It was buggy as hell.

This screenshot (1152x768, ~160K) shows that yes, I have a pretty transparent terminal window but that it's also got lots of "ghost" text - when my text scrolled up, it left little shadows behind. I've noticed this on several different machines, with different color schemes.

I'd be all over transparent terminals if this didn't happen...

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ghosted text
Authored by: robg on Apr 09, '01 09:32:33AM

Very odd - I get nothing like that, even at 50%+ transparency -- what video card do you have, and how much transparency?


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ghosted text
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 09, '01 09:35:18AM

I cranked it up to 100% transparency, and it's the ATI Rage Mobility (I think :) that's in my Powerbook G4. :)

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ghosted text
Authored by: JasonWMac on Dec 08, '01 09:53:52PM

I get the same thing in my PowerBook G3 Bronze (ATI Rage) at anything less then about 90%.

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ghosted text
Authored by: slkjoy on Aug 01, '02 01:22:47PM

I get the ghosted text only if I resize the terminal window - and then whatever text is displayed at that moment leaves a ghost. If I don't resize, there's no ghost effect. (nvidia geforce4 mx in a dual 1G with a 22" cinema).

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Does this work in a default install?
Authored by: babbage on Apr 09, '01 05:25:40PM
I haven't installed the developers tools cd -- not much room on my hard drive & I've read horror stories about it taking hours & hours only to not work in the end. On my system, my /System/Library/Preferences directory doesn't seem to have anything about the terminal, though I do have a ~/Library/Preferences/ file. My understanding is that this "defaults" command is a tool for editing the XML configuration files, yes?

Assuming that is the case, I'm poking around the plist file but I don't see anything useful about opacity. I *do* see how to override your default shell (hmm, I've been meaning to learn zsh...), but that's for later.

Do you need to have something like the devel tools disc installed to mess around with terminal transparency settings, or am I just not looking in the right places?

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Does this work in a default install?
Authored by: robg on Apr 09, '01 05:49:46PM

Yes, just type the command at the terminal...

Also, you can change the shell in the prefs for the terminal; no mucking about in files required!


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Does this work in a default install?
Authored by: babbage on Apr 09, '01 06:13:06PM
Ahh, of course. And of course I didn't actually try running the command to see what would happen... :)

Oh well, cool trick, I definitely like this. Thanks!

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Does this work in a default install?
Authored by: achterberg on Nov 27, '01 08:22:50AM

Try the program Tinkertool.

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Transparent Scrollbars and ghosting
Authored by: Anonymous on Apr 19, '01 09:12:28PM

I find it quite annoying that the scrollbars cannot be "transparent-ized" even if Terminal is set to 100% transparency. It's pretty ugly to have nothing but a scrollbar and titlebar hanging in mid-air. If this was implemented in the Public Beta, is there a way to get it back?

Specifically, I would like the option to completely hide the scrollbar and titlebar...Xterm on X11 (Linux/UNIX) has this capability and its pretty slick. You can even scroll through text just without the scrollbar. Real nice when you just want to have a term sitting in the background...

Also, I too have experieced the "ghosting" effect. Pretty cool when the text is static, but when something like top is running, it makes it really hard to read...

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Warning: in MacOS X (10.2), this hack breaks the terminal
Authored by: Berkana on Oct 15, '02 02:38:42AM

I attempted to use this hack on the terminal in MacOS 10.2. DON'T DO THIS!!! (you can change the transparency in the Windows Settings item in the Terminal menu. Select "colors" and set the transparency from there.

The terminal became transparent, but as soon as I tried to open another terminal window, it caused a major screen redraw error: the bottom half of my screen went black, and displayed weird colorful barcode like patterns. When I opened new windows and resized the dock, or did anything that involved screen redrawing, the part of the screen that was redrawn went back to normal.

I couldn't find anything that would fix it at first, so I reinstalled my whole system using the "archive and reinstall" option on the MacOS 10.2 disks. Reinstalling didn't do anything!

Finally, my friend found out the trick that worked from a FAQ written by Bob Levitus. Go to your home directory, and from there go to your library/preferences/ Move "" to the trash, log out, log in, and start the Terminal again. It will rebuild the preference list for the terminal, and all will be well again.

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Warning: in MacOS X (10.2), this hack breaks the terminal
Authored by: giaguara on Nov 29, '02 10:36:16PM

i have 10.2.2 (or 10.2.3 devp.) and this does not make it crash. maybe they have fixed it with .2 update.

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Transparent Terminal
Authored by: Gordon Werner on Nov 03, '10 11:45:31AM

easiest way to make the terminal windows transparent:

Terminal menu -> Preferences -> Windows Setting... -> Color -> Set Opacity

just remember to select use settings as default in the shell menu

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