How to customise your Linux terminal in ChromeOS

If we look back only a few years you didn’t have too many options for customising your Chromebook. This has thankfully changed and we have a lot more ways to customise how our ChromeOS computer looks.

In fact, customisation has gotten so good on ChromeOS that you can now even change how your Linux terminal looks. I think this is a great step forward because in the future more of us will start taking advantage of what Linux has to offer on ChromeOS.

If you’re unsure what I’m referring to when I mention Linux on ChromeOS. That’s absolutely understandable because it isn’t a feature everyone uses. Also, Linux isn’t available on every single Chromebook, so you would need to check whether it’s available on yours. Find out how to install Linux on ChromeOS.

What is Linux?

Linux is an operating system that has been around for decades. It’s arguably one of the most secure and powerful operating systems in the world. This is the reason why many of the supercomputers globally are run on Linux. All that power and security also means it’s also one of the hardest operating systems to use.

Linux terminal in ChromeOS
Default ChromeOS Linux terminal with black background

ChromeOS itself is built using Linux, but you would never really know this considering how easy it is to use. Because ChromeOS is built on Linux it wasn’t too difficult for Google to allow you to access Linux on your Chromebook. It’s important to not get them mixed up. Although ChromeOS is built on Linux it’s a totally separate operating system, which Google has made easy to use, fast and secure.

Linux terminal on ChromeOS with blue background
Linux terminal in ChromeOS with blue background

If you have access to Linux on your Chromebook. You will be able to install Linux programs and apps to use on your Chromebook. There are many apps and programs available, and they typically look more like the type of programs you may be familiar with using Microsoft Windows. Many Linux programs are free to use, which is another great benefit.

The Linux terminal

If you’ve used a Microsoft Windows computer and are over the age of 40 then you’ve possibly used MS-DOS before. MS-DOS is a command line terminal where you run commands and execute programs by typing in a line of text. This is very similar to how the Linux terminal looks, which you can also use to run processes and execute programs.

Not everyone will feel comfortable using the Linux terminal because you do need to know the commands to type into the terminal. This can make using the Linux terminal overwhelming if you’re used to using a Windows-based OS. The good news is you can use Linux on ChromeOS and have very little interaction with the Linux Terminal.

Linux terminal on ChromeOS with a background image
ChromeOS Linux terminal with background image

For example, instead of installing programs by typing commands into the Linux terminal. You can install a Linux App store on your Chromebook, which is very similar to the Play Store. This gives you a visual aid to install programs and removes the need of using the command line.

Although you can get away without using the Linux terminal too much on ChromeOS. It’s still a good idea to try and get to know the basics. This is because you can get a lot more out of Linux by using the Linux terminal.

How to customise the Linux terminal

By default, the Linux terminal looks like any other command line terminal. A black screen with white text, which is pretty much the standard. The good news is you can now customise your Linux terminal, so it doesn’t look as intimidating to use.

Being able to customise any part of your Chromebook is great. We all love to customise our computers because we spend so much of our time using them. When Linux was first launched on ChromeOS there were very few customisation options, so it’s great to see these are now available.

You can change the background colour, text colour and even add a picture to the background of your Linux terminal. The easiest way to show you how to do this is by video, so I’ve embedded a video on this post to show you how to customise your Linux terminal on ChromeOS.