Enable transparent background in Windows Terminal

We're taking a look at how to enable opacity/transparency in the Windows Terminal.

Tobias Zimmergren
Tobias Zimmergren

Here is another post about fun and helpful Windows Terminal tips and tricks in the series. Here's a list of the posts in this series.

Update 2022:

Version 1.12 or later of Windows Terminal now support FULL unblurred transparency. Unfortunately, this only works on Windows 11.

Here's what it looks like with the full transparency enabled. You can see through the terminal window to the underlying windows and areas—much to like here.

Open the Terminal settings.

To open the settings, you can either hit ctrl+, (Windows), or go to the dropdown-arrow in the navigation bar and select settings.

You'll see your settings.json or get a chance to click and open it in your favorite editor, and this is where you'll make the changes.

Full transparency

To enable the full transparency, define the following settings in your settins.json:

I am configuring full transparency and disabling the acrylic feature in Windows Terminal.

Here's an example:

// cropped... 
    
 "defaults": 
        {
            "font": 
            {
                "face": "Cascadia Code PL"
            },
            
            "startingDirectory": "%SystemDrive%/code/",

            "opacity": 65,
            "useAcrylic": false
        },

// cropped...

Here's how the full transparency looks. You can see through the terminal window to the underlying surface:

Windows Terminal has full transparency enabled on Windows 11.

Opaque/acrylic transparency

To enable acrylic transparency, you can define the useAcrylic boolean property, along with the opacity which is a number to specify the transparency between 0 and 100.

I am configuring the opacity/transparency in Windows Terminal.

Here's an example:

// cropped... 
    
 "defaults": 
        {
            "font": 
            {
                "face": "Cascadia Code PL"
            },
            
            "startingDirectory": "%SystemDrive%/code/",

            "opacity": 55,
            "useAcrylic": true
        },

// cropped...

Here's what it looks like with the acrylic opacity enabled.

Windows Terminal Transparency settings, with acrylic opacity, enabled.

Troubleshooting

If you don't get your terminal to be transparent, this could be because of configurations in Windows.

1. Enable Windows Transparency Effects

Make sure you have the Transparency Effects enabled in Windows.

You'll find this in the Windows Settings if you just search for "Transparency" from your start menu.

Enable Transparency Effects for Windows.

2. It may not work when you're running on Battery Saver

When you're running on battery saver mode, the transparency feature in Windows is disabled by default.

Make sure you're not running on the battery saver mode:

Do not run power save mode if you want to use transparency.

Happy Terminaling!

Windows Terminal

Tobias Zimmergren Twitter

Hey, I'm Tobias! I write about my experiences in designing, architecting, securing, and operating distributed cloud services. Nice to meet you 👋

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