My iTerm 2 Setup

December 09, 2014

I started using iTerm 2 recently, mostly because of the ability to use the mouse inside tmux and vim so that my coworkers can still scroll through my code on my computer. Other than that, I probably would have stuck with Terminal. But, with that being said, here are my settings in iTerm.

iTerm 2

General Tab

I uncheck the checkbox that says “Use Lion-style Fullscreen windows” so that I can see the desktop behind, and I can also have windows on top of iTerm when it’s in fullscreen. I almost always have it in fullscreen since I program in vim.


Open preferences and to to the Profiles tab. Create new profile and name it

Colors tab

For the colors, I use a theme called Solarized. It’s a really nice looking theme available for a lot of platforms in a dark and light version. I use it for iTerm and vim.

  • Load Presets
  • Import Solarized Dark
  • Then select your profile on the left, click Load Presets and select Solarized Dark
  • Turn up Minimum contrast a little bit or you can’t see some text (like line numbers in grunt jshint)

Text tab

  • Check Blinking cursor
  • Uncheck Draw bold text in bright colors
  • Download a patched font
  • I use Anonymous for Powerline
  • Select patched font for regular and non-ASCII (14pt)
  • Check Flash visual bell

If you decide to use powerline (mentioned below), for non-ASCII, turn the vertical character spacing up a little bit until the > and < symbols on powerline don’t overlap the top.

Window Tab

Turn up the transparency just a little

Terminal tab

Set terminal type to xterm-256color

Keys tab

Under Hotkey, check “Show/hide iTerm2 with a system-wide hotkey”. I set mine to option-Space.

Install zsh and oh-my-zsh

Zsh and oh-my-zsh are awesome. If you don’t know what they are you should check them out.

Remap keyboard

System Preferences -> Keyboard -> “Modifier Keys…”

For the internal keyboard:

  • Change Caps Lock to Control
  • Change Control to Caps Lock

For an external PC keyboard:

  • Change Caps Lock to Control
  • Change Control to Caps Lock
  • Change Option to Command
  • Change Command to Option

Setup Control to send Escape unless it’s used in combination

  • Download Karabiner
  • Find the Change Key > Change Control_L Key (Left Control)
  • Check the Control_L to Control_L (+ When you type Control_L only, send Escape) setting
  • Enable it on login at System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items

Other stuff

I also use tmux and vim, and I have all of my configurations for them up on github. Feel free to check it out, it’s all pretty well commented.

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Written by Adam Garrett-Harris, a podcaster and software engineer in Utah. You should follow him on Twitter