How to Make Windows Terminal Translucent Without Acrylic (Blur)

2 minute read

Motivation

I’m a huuuge fan of translucent terminals. It’s because they allow me to see another thing through the terminal, without having to split my screen.

Like this:

Translucent cmd

Ah, it’s so beautiful, isn’t it?

And a few months ago, I started using WSL2 on Windows Terminal:

Windows Terminal

Look how solid the background is. I don’t like it. I like the theme (FYI, the theme is called “One Dark.”), but I really wanted to add transparency.

Almost all tutorials that I read were pointing to the acrylic way, but this method makes the background blurry, which I didn’t like as well. The below is what I found after 2-3 days of surfing the Internet looking for a way that can make WSL2 terminal clear and translucent. (Two birds with one stone!) 🎉

AHK

AHK stands for AutoHotkey. It’s a free, open-source scripting language for Windows. You can install it here.

AutoHotkey website

Hit Download and then Download Current Version.

I’ve already installed AHK, so I won’t do it again. But once you finish downloading, you’ll get a popup asking if you want to customize installation. Assuming this is your first time using AHK, don’t use the option. Use the other one that’s above the customized install button.

AutoHotkey is not magic, we all wish it was, but it is not. So we will need to tell it what to do. This process is called “Scripting.”

Instructions:

  1. Right-Click on your desktop.

  2. Find New in the menu.

  3. Click AutoHotkey Script inside the New menu.

  4. Give the script a new name. It must end with an .ahk extension. For example: MyScript.ahk (or TranslucentTerminal.ahk in this case!)

  5. Find the newly created file on your desktop and right-click it.

  6. Click Edit Script.

  7. A window should have popped up, probably Notepad. If so, SUCCESS!

    • Copy and paste this snippet at the end of the file:

      • ; Toggle window transparency on the current window with Win+Escape.
        #Esc::
            WinGet, TransLevel, Transparent, A
            if (TransLevel = OFF) {
                WinSet, Transparent, 200, A
            } else {
                WinSet, Transparent, OFF, A
            }
        return
        
        • You can adjust the transparency using the numeric value: 200. The higher it is, the more solid the background color becomes. 200 seems to be just right for me.
  8. Save the File.

  9. Double-click the file/icon in the desktop to run it. Open Windows Terminal and press Windows key + Escape.

  10. Ta-da!

    Translucent Windows Terminal

I love it! I found this method on this GitHub issue. But honestly it was quite scary to try this, as it was my first time learning about and using AHK. (Am I the only one who gets easily intimidated by touching something that’s completely new to me?)

Thanks for reading, and I’ll come back with another post soon!

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