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.|
-F are only available in Windows Terminal Preview.
||Creates a new tab.|
||Splits a new pane.|
||Focuses on a specific tab.|
--title is only available in Windows Terminal Preview.
Command line argument examples
Commands may vary slightly depending on which command line you're using.
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.
Tab title (Preview)
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:
This feature is only available in Windows Terminal Preview.
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.