A Modern Terminal Workflow — Part 5 / 5

Configuring iTerm2

🍿 2 min. read

iTerm2 is a Terminal Replacement for Mac OS offering plenty of customization and features.


Open iTerm’s preferences with “⌘,” then tick the following settings:

  1. “Load preferences from a custom folder or URL”
  2. Choose ~/dotfiles
  3. “Save changes to folder when iTerm2 quits”

Theme: Dracula

Dracula is not only a Vim theme but also a theme for many other applications such as iTerm2. This can be added to the dotfiles just like tpm was in part 4 by using a git subtree.

git remote add -f iterm-dracula
git subtree add --prefix=iterm-dracula/ iterm-dracula master --squash
  1. Profiles tab
  2. Colors sub-tab
  3. Color Presets…
  4. Import…
  5. ~/dotfiles/iterm-dracula/Dracula.itermcolors

Font: Fira Code

Designers have logos, programmers have... well, frameworks and languages I suppose — but visually a great way to build a brand are our tools and our style. Themes are a great start, but it doesn't have to stop there. Our entire terminal is made up of text, so make that text look beautiful.

Put simply: Fira Code is a free monospaced font with programming ligatures.

What does any of that mean? It's what you want for highly legible code and looking badass in the process.

NOTE Currently the Fira Code font is only supported in iTerm's nightly builds at the time of writing. Eventually this will simply be part of the final release.

  1. Profiles tab
  2. Text sub-tab
  3. Change Font
  4. Family: Fira Code (I enjoy size 18)

Cursor Guide

Even self proclaimed terminal pro's who claim to never lose track of their cursor should do themselves a favor and enable iTerm2's cursor guide. Subconciously a gentle highlight of the current line will draw your eye right to where you need to be.

  1. Profiles tab
  2. Colors sub-tab
  3. “Cursor Guide”
  4. Set color (I prefer 255, 255, 255, 35)

Tmux Tab Switching

A clever hack to enable Ctrl Tab and Ctrl Shift Tab tmux tab switching is to let iTerm handle those shortcuts, then send the default Ctrl B n and Ctrl b p hex codes to the terminal. This pairs well with NeoVim’s tabbing being the same but without holding Ctrl. (Special Thanks to Dan Lowe)

  1. Keys
  2. New > “Ctrl Tab” > Send Hex Codes > 0x02 0x6E
  3. New > “Ctrl Tab” > Send Hex Codes > 0x02 0x70
  • Ctrl Tab to switch to next tmux tab
  • Ctrl Shift Tab to switch to previous tmux tab


That wraps up my opinionated guide to created a dotfiles repo for a modern terminal workflow. While it does make assumptions about some ideal tools, configurations, and plugins to use this guide has not assumed what programming languages you the reader may be using. Next steps would be to leverage the plugin managers and configuration files created during the guide to make developing with your favorite languages an even more pleasant experience.