Windows Terminal Preview 1.18 Release

Christopher Nguyen

Welcome back to another Windows Terminal release! This release updates Windows Terminal to version 1.17 and includes all of the features from this previous blog post. Additionally, Windows Terminal Preview is getting an update to version 1.18 and will include all the features detailed here, so let’s talk all about them!

As always, you can install Windows Terminal and Windows Terminal Preview from the Microsoft Store, from the GitHub releases page, or by using winget.

Tab Tearout

Yes! We finally have tab tearout! This has been a highly requested feature since the dawn of Terminal time. Starting in Windows Terminal Preview 1.18, you will now be able to tear out the tabs in Windows Terminal.

Tab Tearout

You will also be able to move tabs from one terminal window into the other.

Moving tabs from one terminal instance to another

Environment Variable Updates

The Windows Terminal will now reload the environment variables automatically when a new tab or pane is opened! No longer do you need to fully shut down the Terminal after installing something and changing the PATH – just open a new tab (or restart the current one) and head off to the races.

In addition, you can now add environment variables in your settings.json. Shoutout to @ianjoneill for this community-contributed feature! This can be done in defaults or in any profile.
In the example below, I set two environment variables, both named MY_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE, in defaults and in my PowerShell profile:


            "environment": {
                "MY_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE": "Hi from defaults!"
                "guid": "{574e775e-4f2a-5b96-ac1e-a2962a402336}",
                "name": "PowerShell",
                "source": "Windows.Terminal.PowershellCore",
                    "MY_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE": "Hi from PowerShell!"

The environment variables you set in defaults will be available to all of your profiles. The environment variables that you set within a specific profile will only be available for that specific profile.

This means that if I print the value of MY_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE in my PowerShell profile, then I will see “Hi from PowerShell!”


If I print the value of MY_ENVIRONMENT_VARIABLE in any other profile such as Command Prompt, then I will see “Hi from defaults!”


Right-Click Context Menu (Experimental)

This is an experimental feature that needs to be manually enabled. To manually enable this feature, add "experimental.rightClickContextMenu": "true" in the defaults section of your profiles section of your settings.json:


        "experimental.rightClickContextMenu": true

After enabling this feature, you will be able to see a context menu after right-clicking the shell in your terminal.

Moving tabs from one terminal instance to another

By default, you will see Paste, Split Pane, Duplicate Tab, and Close Tab as your options.
If you highlight text and open the right click context menu, you will also see a Copy option next to Paste. If you have another pane open, then you will also see Close Pane as another option.

If you have our experimental shell integration feature enabled, then you will also see Select Command and Select Output as options.

Shell Integration and Select Output in the right click context menu

Enabling shell integration marks vary from shell to shell. To learn how to enable shell integration for your favorite shell, visit this Shell integration tutorial to find out more!

Atlas Engine Improvements

Our experimental text rendering engine, the AtlasEngine, has gotten major improvements in Windows Terminal Preview 1.18. This text rendering engine has been nearly, completely rewritten to support overlapping text and, as a result, will no longer cut off italic text, emojis, or complex scripts. It will continue to clip box glyphs to their cells.
Below is a series of “before” and “after” pictures of the Atlas Engine rewrites.

Here is a before image of Fira Code with the old AtlasEngine

Old AtlasEngine on Fira Code
Here is an after image of Fira Code with our new AtlasEngine in 1.18 Preview.

AtlasEngine after 1.18 Preview on Fira Code
We can see that the old AtlasEngine shrinks glyphs. In our new AtlasEngine, we now handle those glyphs correctly.

We also have a before image of the Code New Roman font as an example.

Old AtlasEngine on HTML

Here is an after image for the Code New Roman font with AtlasEngine in 1.18 Preview.

Old AtlasEngine on HTML

In the screenshots above, you can see how our AtlasEngine rewrite in 1.18 Preview fixed powerline rendering. We now have no weird gaps, no cut off glyphs, and no shrunken glyphs. There is now also proper overlapping glyphs in the APL set, ✔️ in the Misc. glyphs row, and proper inversion of complex Unicode (without making the glyphs larger than they are supposed to be.)

We have also ensured that the AtlasEngine continues to support animated shaders, Han unification, and loc1 glyph variants in Windows Terminal Preview 1.18. The AtlasEngine will also now be used to display the Appearance preview in the Windows Terminal Settings UIs for profiles which it is enabled.

Portable Mode

As of stable channel version 1.17, Windows Terminal will support being deployed in “Portable mode”. Portable mode ensures that all data created and maintained by Windows Terminal is saved next to the application so that it can be more easily moved across different environments.

Portable mode is supported by the unpackaged “ZIP” distribution. This is an officially-supported mode of execution where Windows Terminal stores its settings in a settings folder next to WindowsTerminal.exe. Portable mode is not supported in the packaged or preinstallation kit distributions of Windows Terminal.

The unpackaged and portable mode distributions of Windows Terminal allow you to use Terminal without installing it globally, e.g. on systems where you may not have permission to install MSIX packages or download software from the Microsoft Store. Portable mode allows you to carry around or archive a preconfigured installation of Windows Terminal and run it from a network share, cloud drive or USB flash drive. Any such installation is self-contained and will not interfere with other installed distributions of Windows Terminal.

Portable mode needs to be enabled manually. After unzipping the Windows Terminal download, create a file named .portable next to WindowsTerminal.exe.
Windows Terminal will automatically create a directory named settings after you launch WindowsTerminal.exe. That settings directory will store both settings and runtime state such as window layouts.

Note that Windows Terminal will NOT automatically reload its settings and transform your terminal into portable mode right after you create the .portable file.
This change will only apply after you relaunch Terminal. You can verify if you are in portable mode, by selecting “About” in the dropdown menu.

Windows Terminal (Portable)

From here, you can customize Windows Terminal to your liking and then copy that entire Windows Terminal folder to a USB flash drive or network share to use on the go or to share with others!

For more information on the various distribution types that Windows Terminal offers, please see our distribution docs!

Usability Updates

⚡ Windows Terminal can now use Ctrl+Shift to run terminal elevated from the context menu (thanks @jamespack!)

⚡ Users can now enable and disable read-only mode rather than toggling it with the enableReadOnly and disableReadOnly actions (thanks @Swinkid!)

⚡ We added “legacy” themes to our available default themes. Check them out in the Settings UI!

⚡ We improved the preview text in the Settings UI and enabled the cursor

⚡ Users can now customize cell sizes and line spacing

⚡ A warning now appears when a proportional font is selected (thanks again @jamespack!)

⚡ We added an action to immediately restart a connection (restartConnection). You also manually invoke this menu with a keyboard shortcut by binding a keybinding instead

⚡ We added an action to manually invoke the control context menu

⚡ Added jump list support for indirect icon references (thanks yet again @jamespack!)

$ now supports activeOnly, to display the x only on the active tab (thanks @kovdu!)

⚡ Any WSL distribution named rancher-desktop or rancher-desktop-data will be ignored. Thanks for helping us with this, @jamespack. For more information on this change, please see issue #12757 on GitHub.

Miscellaneous Improvements

🛠️ Added support for horizontal margin sequences (thanks @j4james!)

🛠️ Added support for bracketed paste mode in ConHost (thanks again @j4james!)

🛠️ Added support for CSI 18t (thanks @michalnpl!)

🛠️ Added subtext to why “Always show tabs” is not toggleable in the Settings UI (thanks @BenConstable9!)

🛠️ The reset button is now accessible with description in reset (thanks @michalnpl!)

🛠️ We refactored how connection restart is handled and added an action for restartConnection for manually restarting a tab or pane

🛠️ If you are using the FTCS “start of command”, “start of output” and “end of output” marks (OSC 133), you can now use the selectCommand and selectOutput actions to select the command or output as demarcated by those sequences

Bug Fixes

🐛 Active attributes are now preserved during Virtual Terminal (VT) resize operations (thanks @j4james!)

🐛 LineFeed and PrintString functionality is now merged into AdaptDispatch (thanks again @j4james!)

🐛 ConHost now respects the codepage stored in .LNK files (thanks @michalnpl!)

🐛 Windows Terminal will now focus on the shell instead of the titlebar when a profile is selected from a nested menu entry (thanks @kkostrzewa!)

🐛 We now manually pre-evaluate the starting directory when calling elevate-shim

🐛 We now use a “virtual CWD” for each terminal window

🐛 We fixed a bug in default terminal startup that should fix some apps that immediately print lots of text to the console

🐛 We now use the persisted position with centerOnLaunch:true

Top contributors

We love working with the community and recognizing those who made an impact for each release. Here are the community members who helped out for this one!

Contributors who created the most merged pull requests

🏆 j4james

🏆 jamespack

🏆 ianjoneill

Contributors who opened the most non-duplicate issues

🏆 j4james

🏆 Saiteja341

🏆 Vampire

Contributors who provided the most comments on pull requests

🏆 j4james

🏆 jamespack

🏆 ianjoneill

I would also like to give additional recognition to @kovdu, @Swinkid, @Yovach, and MikuAuahDark for their help on documentation, code health, grammar, spelling, workflow security and maintenance!


We hope you enjoy this latest release of Windows Terminal Preview! More information on these new features can be found on our docs site and if you find any bugs or have feature requests, feel free to file them on GitHub. If you have any questions you can reach out to Christopher Nguyen (@nguyen_dows) on Twitter.

Thank you!

2023 Signatures


Discussion is closed. Login to edit/delete existing comments.

  • deadpin 2

    Love the tab tearout feature! It’s great to follow terminal’s development on github; it’s obvious you folks enjoy doing what you do. Keep up the great work.

    But remember, if the version isn’t available through winget, it doesn’t exist 🙂 hint hint

  • Dweeberly Loom 0

    I love and am impressed with MS Terminal. Great work! That automatic env reload isn’t really for me but I’m sure many people will benefit … hopefully that defaults to disabled, otherwise I can see it leading to confusion for some. I’d also love to see it easily available via winget. The tab tearout and context menu are excellent improvements, I’m very used to those in apps like browsers and more than once I’ve tried it in Terminal out of rote habit. I use Terminal a lot and it’s one of the best Windows apps of the last five years.

    Now if you could only fix every terminfo/termcap/inputrc on every Unix box everywhere … ’cause they are all set differently for the same terminal type 😉 😀

    To all the contributors on this project, THANK YOU!

  • Elvin Aslanov 1

    Will the Windows Terminal be updated automatically with Windows updates so we can have those features blended in?

  • Chris Rivers 1

    Windows Terminal can now use Ctrl+Shift to run terminal elevated from the context menu (thanks @jamespack!)

    This is a huge help and quality of life improvement in my part of the world. Thank you all!!

  • bufes 0

    This seems interesting, I’d like to try it out. I downloaded Terminal Preview app from the store. However, when I try to run it, it always says ver 1.16. Where can I get any help for this?

    • bufes 0

      nm, I uninstalled Terminal and now Terminal Preview works. I have more questions and suggestions
      – could the tab color be set/saved for each profile?
      – could the tab tile be set/saved for each profile?
      – only line-based selection seems to work now. Any way to select blocks again?
      – font-related settings are not taking effect when I change them
      – pane split line cannot be moved, why is that? Panes should be resizeable imo.
      – lines are wrapped, any way to changed that like cmd.exe can?
      – when splitting a window, the new pane doesn’t use the same executable that was set for that profile
      – what is appropriate forum to ask questions for Terminal Preview and make suggestions?

  • Dustin Schultz 0

    Are there any plans to support Serial connections from Terminal?

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