Windows Terminal preview: New customizations offer 'big improvement'

Windows Terminal Preview version 0.4 arrives on the Microsoft Store and GitHub with bug fixes and improvements.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has released its second update this month for the Windows Terminal command-line tool. This time, it brings improvements to profile settings, tab title customizations, settings warning messages, and copy and binding updates. 

Windows Terminal is still a "very early" preview release of Microsoft's new command-line interface, which the company wants to become the tool of choice for developers who use Windows Command Prompt, PowerShell, and the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). 

Windows Terminal gives developers access to cmd, PowerShell, and WSL from a dropdown menu and allows users to configure profiles via profiles.json. It also supports multiple tabs. 

SEE: 20 pro tips to make Windows 10 work the way you want (free PDF)    

The app was launched on the Microsoft Store in June and earlier this month was updated to version 0.3 of Windows Terminal, with major improvements to the interface, title bar, and new accessibility integrations with Windows Narrator. 

Version 0.4 of Windows Terminal brings "significant improvements" to tab titles, 'tabTitle', a feature introduced in version 0.3. The new default tab title is set to the profile name instead of the executable's path.

Additionally, the profiles.json file has moved from the RoamingState folder to the LocalState folder, which stops settings from automatically transferring to other devices.

"We always thought it'd be a good idea to roam settings, but really it ended up being a lot more trouble than it was worth," Microsoft notes in version 0.4 release notes. 

"No longer will your WSL and PowerShell Core profiles from Machine A cause WT to fail to run on Machine B." 

In the current version if there is a problem with the profiles.json file, the app displays an error message explaining what is incorrect. And if the profile can't be read properly, Terminal uses the default settings but won't overwrite the existing settings file. 

There are also updates to key bindings or key combinations with a new option to open a tab dropdown with Ctrl+Shift+Space. 

Terminal now writes text copied to the clipboard in HTML, allowing developers to paste HTML to other applications like Outlook or Word, which should also provide the option to paste the text in plain text.    

Finally, there are accessibility improvements. 

"The UIA bounding rectangles are now properly aligned with the text ranges on 100%-scale displays. Bounding rectangles define the regions where text is displayed on the buffer inside the Terminal. This supports panes as well as improves accessibility," explains Kayla Cinnamon, program manager for Windows Terminal, Console and Command-Line. 

A full list of bug fixes and improvements is available on Microsoft's Terminal page on GitHub. 

Editorial standards