One of the most annoying things for me in using Linux, is resizing an open window, such as a terminal window.

I'd like to resize the terminal window (make it larger or smaller). But when I put the mouse at the lower right corner to grab the corner point, it is trial and error to get the mouse to become at an angle so I can resize the terminal in an arbitrary direction this way:

           \ |

It insists that I resize it either like this


or like this


Sometimes it takes 5 seconds of trial error moving of the mouse around the corner of the window and error in order for the mouse to show at an angle instead of up or sideways so that the window can be resize in direction other than vertical or horizontal only.

I am using standard terminal emulation that appears in the menu->system->terminal. I think this is has to do with the desktop type. I am using Linux mint 14, with xfce distribution.

Is there a way to disable the horizontal and vertical resizing, and just keep the angle resizing? As I can use that for both and it is much more flexible. Now I have to first resize vertically, then resize horizontally to enlarge the window which is very silly.

This actually affects all windows, not just the terminal. For example, when I open firefox, and want to resize it, same problem happens. That is why I think it is a window manager configuration issue, and not the gnome-terminal itself.

In other words, I want it to work just like on windows, where I grab the corner of any window, and I can resize at an arbitrary direction always. Surely one can do this in Linux.

  • FYI, the terminal in xfce is probably the xfce terminal and not the gnome terminal, unless they did something weird in mint. Not that this is very relevant to the issue, as you say it is the window manager/DE; I prefer the xfce terminal and use it with KDE, no such issues. You might want to look at method 3 here: xubuntu.org/news/window-resizing-in-xubuntu-and-xfce (xfce is xfce whether on ubuntu or mint).
    – goldilocks
    Jan 12 '13 at 11:35
  • I can already grab any corner and resize, but I run MATE. Try a different window manager. Jan 12 '13 at 11:47
  • @goldilocks I just started xfce4-terminal& and it looks like the default terminal I have up. But besides this, it still have the same problem when it comes to graping the lower right corner. What is the command to find what window manager I am using? I am running Linux mint 14 xfce distribution that I downloaded from Mint web site.
    – user30175
    Jan 12 '13 at 17:21
  • It's also easier on Xfce, to resize using the top corners, not the bottom ones. Due to the way Xfwm4 work.
    – lmcanavals
    Jan 21 '13 at 10:49

Quick fix: hold down the Alt key, right-click into the window and drag the window to the size you want.

  • nice. Yes, this is much better. At least it allow one to resize in any direction. Not as easy as on windows, but much easier than before.
    – user30175
    Jan 12 '13 at 18:25

You may try to use xdotool. This tool is'nt related to xfce but to directly to X:

Fist take a window id by:



winId=$(xwininfo | sed -ne 's/^.*window id: \(0x[0-9a-f]*\) .*$/\1/ip')

than click on a terminal window, and:

xdotool windowsize --usehints $winId 100 30

or if winId store such graphic window's id:

xdotool windowsize $winId 1024 800
  • I really do not want to issue linux command each time I want to change window size. Much easier to use the mouse.
    – user30175
    Jan 12 '13 at 17:24
  • @user30175: Wrong, commands are almost always faster and more robust -- and better for your mental state, your arm (and shoulder), and eyes. Also, commands can be put in various initialization files; that way, the commands will be completely transparent to you, only what they do will be noticed: they'll be like music at the cinema -- you won't notice it, but it'll make the experience all that more pleasurable. Jan 13 '13 at 20:32

I had so much annoyance with windows I despaired, and then wrote functions to deal with it once and for all. If you put them in initialization files you may never notice them. Those below are some of them, with comments, so you'll get an idea what you can do, and how. Note though, this will require a lot of fiddling; but when done, getting rid of the mouse, everything looks the way you want, etc. -- it's worth it.

## hide all X windows
hideall () {
    DISPLAY=":0"  # (if you call this function from a tty)
    wmctrl -k on  # show desKtop: i.e., hide all windows

# urxvt window
# note: try `wmctrl -l` (as in "list") for windows to manipulate
alias maxu='wmctrl -r urxvt -b toggle,fullscreen' # -r: taRget window
alias hidu='wmctrl -r urxvt -b toggle,hidden'     # -b: what to do
fiftu () {
  wmctrl -r urxvt -b remove,fullscreen
  wmctrl -r urxvt -e 0,0,358,1024,381             # -e: rEsize

Here is a more advanced example how to store and reload a window's state, if you like to hide it while doing something else:

# store what window was displayed as a numeric value
WIN=`xprop -display ":0" -root | grep ^_NET_ACTIVE_WINDOW \
                               | cut -d" " -f5`
# hide all windows

# do stuff

# restore the window, using the number you obtained above
#  -i instead of a string, identify window with a numeric value
#  -a Activate
DISPLAY=":0" wmctrl -i -a $WIN

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