Using command line arguments for Windows Terminal
You can use
wt.exe to open a new instance of Windows Terminal from the command line. You can also use the execution alias
If you built Windows Terminal from the source code on GitHub, you can open that build using
Command line syntax
wt command line accepts two types of values: options and commands. Options are a list of flags and other parameters that can control the behavior of the
wt command line as a whole. Commands provide the action, or list of actions separated by semicolons, that should be implemented. If no command is specified, then the command is assumed to be
new-tab by default.
wt [options] [command ; ]
To display a help message listing the available command line arguments, enter:
wt -?, or
Options and commands
Below is the full list of supported commands and options for the
wt command line.
||Displays the help message.|
||Launches the terminal maximized.|
||Launches the terminal as full screen.|
||Launches the terminal in the focus mode. Can be combined with
||Launches the terminal in a specific window.|
||Creates a new tab based on the profile name assigned.||Profile name|
||Creates a new tab based on the starting directory path assigned.||Directory path|
||Creates a new tab based on the command line assigned.||Executable with optional commands|
||Creates a new tab with the title assigned.||Text to use as the tab title|
||Creates a new tab with the tab color assigned.||Hex color as #RGB or #RRGGBB|
If you change the title of a tab in Windows Terminal and want that title to persist, you must enable the suppressApplicationTitle option by setting it to
||Creates a new split window pane either horizontally or vertically.||N/A. No additional values to assign.|
||Creates a new split window pane based on the assigned command line profile. If this parameter is not assigned, the default profile will be used.||Profile name|
||Creates a new split window pane based on the assigned starting directory path. If this parameter is not assigned, the default starting directory will be used.||Directory path|
||Creates a new split window pane with the assigned title.||Text to use as the tab title|
||Creates a new split window pane with the assigned tab color.||Hex color as #RGB or #RRGGBB|
||Creates a new split window pane with the assigned size.||Float that specifies the portion of the parent pane to use|
||Creates a new split window pane based on the assigned command line.||Executable with optional commands|
||Creates a new split window pane that is a duplicate of the current pane.||N/A. No additional values to assign.|
||Focuses on a specific tab according to it's tab index number.||Tab index as an integer|
||Move focus between panes in the given direction.||
When opening Windows Terminal from cmd (Command Prompt), if you want to use your custom "cmd" profile settings, you will need to use the command
wt -p cmd. Otherwise, to run your default profile settings, just use
Command line argument examples
Commands may vary slightly depending on which command line you're using.
Passing an argument to the default shell
To start an instance of Windows Terminal and have it execute a command, call
wt.exe followed by your command.
Here's an example of calling Windows Terminal to pass a ping command argument to echo an IP address:
wt ping docs.microsoft.com
Here's an example of calling Windows Terminal to open a new tab with a PowerShell command line, confirming to call the Start-Service command, and opening another new tab with Windows Command Prompt open to the
wt new-tab PowerShell -c Start-Service ; new-tab cmd /k dir
Target a specific window
Below are examples of how to target specific windows using the
// Open a new tab with the default profile in the current window wt -w 0 nt // Open a new tab in a new window with the default profile wt -w -1 nt // Open a new tab in the first-created terminal window with the default profile wt -w 1 nt // Open a new tab in the terminal window named foo with the default profile. If foo does not exist, create a new window named foo. wt -w foo nt
Open a new profile instance
To open a new terminal instance, in this case the command will open the profile named "Ubuntu-18.04", enter:
-p flag is used to specify the Windows Terminal profile that should be opened. Substitute "Ubuntu-18.04" with the name of any terminal profile that you have installed. This will always open a new window. Windows Terminal is not yet capable of opening new tabs or panes in an existing instance.
Target a directory
To specify the folder that should be used as the starting directory for the console, in this case the d:\ directory, enter:
To open a new terminal instance with multiple tabs, enter:
To open a new terminal instance with multiple tabs, in this case a Command Prompt profile and a PowerShell profile, enter:
To open a new terminal instance with one tab containing three panes running a Command Prompt profile, a PowerShell profile, and your default profile running a WSL command line, enter:
wt -p "Command Prompt" ; split-pane -p "Windows PowerShell" ; split-pane -H wsl.exe
-H flag (or
--horizontal) indicates that you would like the panes to be split horizontally. The
-V flag (or
--vertical) indicates that you would like the panes split vertically.
Multiple tabs and panes
split-pane commands can be sequenced to get multiple tabs, each with split panes. To open a new terminal instance with two tabs, each with two panes running a Command Prompt and a WSL command line, with each tab in a different directory, enter:
wt -p "Command Prompt" ; split-pane -V wsl.exe ; new-tab -d c:\ ; split-pane -H -d c:\ wsl.exe
To open a new terminal instance with custom tab titles, use the
--title argument. To set the title of each tab when opening two tabs, enter:
Using application title
To open a new terminal instance allowing applications within it to set the tab title by sending title change messages, use the
--useApplicationTitle flag. To suppress these messages, use the
--suppressApplicationTitle flag. If none of these flags are provided, the behavior is inherited from the profile's settings. To open a tab with title
tabname that will not be overridden by the application, enter:
To open a new terminal instance with custom tab colors, use the
--tabColor argument. This argument overrides the value defined in the profile, but can be overridden as well using the tab color picker. In the following example, a new terminal is created with two tabs of different colors:
--tabColor is set for a tab, it is associated with the first pane of this tab. Hence in a tab with multiple panes, the color will be applied only if the first pane is in focus. To set the tab color for additional panes, you will need to add the
--tabColor parameter to the
split-pane subcommand as well. In the example below, a tab with two panes is created with tab colors specified for each pane:
wt new-tab --tabColor #009999 ; split-pane --tabColor #f59218
To open a new terminal instance with a specific color scheme (instead of the
colorScheme set in the profile), use the
--colorScheme argument. This argument overrides the value defined in the profile.
To open a new terminal instance with a specific tab in focus, use the
-t flag (or
--target), along with the tab-index number. To open your default profile in the first tab and the "Ubuntu-18.04" profile focused in the second tab (
-t 1), enter:
Examples of multiple commands from PowerShell
Windows Terminal uses the semicolon character
; as a delimiter for separating commands in the
wt command line. Unfortunately, PowerShell also uses
; as a command separator. To work around this, you can use the following tricks to run multiple
wt commands from PowerShell. In all the following examples, a new terminal window is created with three panes - one running Command Prompt, one with PowerShell, and the last one running WSL.
The following examples use the
Start-Process command to run
wt. For more information on why the terminal uses
Start-Process, see Using start below.
Single quoted parameters
In this example, the
wt parameters are wrapped in single quotes (
'). This syntax is useful if nothing is being calculated.
start wt 'new-tab "cmd" ; split-pane -p "Windows PowerShell" ; split-pane -H wsl.exe'
When passing a value contained in a variable to the
wt command line, use the following syntax:
$ThirdPane = "wsl.exe" start wt "new-tab cmd ; split-pane -p `"Windows PowerShell`" ; split-pane -H $ThirdPane"
Note the usage of
` to escape the double-quotes (
") around "Windows PowerShell" in the
-p parameter to the
All the above examples explicitly used
start to launch the terminal.
The following examples do not use
start to run the command line. Instead, there are two other methods of escaping the command line:
- Only escaping the semicolons so that
PowerShellwill ignore them and pass them straight to
--%, so PowerShell will treat the rest of the command line as arguments to the application.
wt new-tab "cmd" `; split-pane -p "Windows PowerShell" `; split-pane -H wsl.exe
wt --% new-tab cmd ; split-pane -p "Windows PowerShell" ; split-pane -H wsl.exe
In both of these examples, the newly created Windows Terminal window will create the window by correctly parsing all the provided command-line arguments.
However, these methods are not recommended currently, as PowerShell will wait for the newly-created terminal window to be closed before returning control to PowerShell. By default, PowerShell will always wait for Windows Store applications (like Windows Terminal) to close before returning to the prompt. Note that this is different than the behavior of Command Prompt, which will return to the prompt immediately.