Tutorial Windows: The Stylish Command Prompt in Windows 10
Before Windows started to gain ground as an operating system, DOS, or Disk Operating System, was the popular kid in school. Now, after more than 30 years since its birth, it still lives as the Command Prompt and can also be found in Windows 10.
While mainly used by tech savvy users to perform advanced operations in Windows or enhance existing applications by applying specific parameters, little has changed throughout the years, at least when it comes to aesthetics.
Now that Windows has reached its final iteration, it’s time to make the Command Prompt blend in a little better with the fresh design. Some of you may already know of the Command Prompts properties, but for those who don’t, here are a few ways to tweak visuals, or alter them completely.
Using the default set of features
Regardless of the reasons you need to use the Command Prompt, you already know it can easily be accessed by right-clicking the Start Menu/Screen button on the taskbar, where there’s also an option to launch it with administrative privileges.
There are several properties that aim to enhance both functionality and visuals, part of the default set of features. For starters, right-click the Command Prompt title bar and click on Properties. A new window pops up with four tabs:
-> Cursor Size: mostly speaks for itself, representing the blinking vertical bar, or caret, used to indicate where the character you type next appears. Size specifications are small, medium, and large.
-> Command History: lets you set Buffer Size, which is the amount of previous commands to remember. Pressing the up arrow on your keyboard automatically types it in. The more you press, the older the command. Additionally, Number Of Buffers can be used to have separate history trackers for more Command Prompt Instances. There’s also the option to Discard Old Duplicates.
-> Edit Options: are there to make work more comfortable. QuickEdit Mode lets you use the mouse to copy and paste text between Command Prompt instances. To overwrite existing text without having to delete it, there’s Insert Mode. If you want to use regular and new hotkeys, an option is there to Enable Ctrl Key Shortcuts. Filter Clipboard Contents on Paste can be used for text from other locations to have tabs removed and smart quotes converted into regular ones.
->Text Selection: comes in handy for easy selection of continuous text by choosing to Enable Line Wrapping Selection. This can also be done through Extended Text Selection Keys, which means via hotkeys.
-> Size: the numerical value that dictates how big characters appear on screen, with values from 5 to 72 for TrueType fonts, as well as 4×6 to 10×18 for Raster Fonts.
-> Font: changes letter shape, with two TrueType options, and Raster Fonts. Given their lack of device dependency, TrueType fonts can be made Bold.
-> Screen Buffer Size: is basically the way text is shown in the main window. Width determines how far text stretches on one line, regardless of window size, with a similar option for Height. There’s also an option to Wrap Text Output on Size, making the Width value obsolete.
-> Window Size: lets you manually specify Width and Height in case you don’t want to drag window borders to resize, or simply want to keep the interface at a specific set of values.
-> Window Position: is where the main window pops up on launch. You can Let System Position Window, or manually specify distance from Left and Top of the screen.
-> Selected Color Values: are Red, Green, and Blue numerical correspondents that determine color of the selected elements. These can also be picked from a small palette, and applied to the following elements:
→ Screen Text and Background: are exactly the main window elements. Be careful not to choose a tone that makes text difficult to read.
→ Popup Text and Background: are the prompts that appear whenever a command is triggered.
-> Opacity: is a feature introduced in Windows 10, with values from 30 to 100 percent.
With all these option reviewed, you can take a bit of your time to tweak Command Prompt so that it blends with your custom Windows 10 theme and style. If these aren’t enough, try one of the alternatives presented below.
Third-party alternative enhancements
|Some video games were also equipped with a command line component, letting you stick your nose into more details you don’t normally see in the options menu, or simply to cheat your way past a difficult situation. Leaving cheat codes aside, Qonsole does the same thing with Windows, making the Command Prompt neatly slide from the top of the screen, in a similar way to the console in Quake games, hence the name. Download and info here.|
|In case 3 out of 4 active windows on your desktop belong to the Command Prompt, then the possibility of multiple tabs surely crossed your mind. To solve the problem, a group of individuals created a small application called ConsoleZ. Besides visual customization options, it lets you split the workspace horizontally, vertically, both, combined multiple times, and in tabs. Grab it here.|
|There’s a chance that neither of the alternatives above makes the cut when choosing a replacement for the Command Prompt. Don’t worry, this one surely does, because everyone enjoys actually doing something in a Matrix-style interface. That’s right, ConsoleDX, even its default theme, starts pouring down characters with cool glow effects, but it can also be tweaked in an unimaginable number of different ways. Read all about it.|
To sum it up
The Command Prompt has probably been around for longer than you have, but this doesn’t mean it needs to look and feel outdated. Now that Windows has apparently reached its final iteration, it’s time for the good old command line utility to adapt as well, or even benefit from different third-party enhancements.