How to manage tabs and panes on Windows Terminal on Windows 11

Here's everything you need to know to work with tabs and panes on the Windows Terminal.

Windows Terminal tabs and panes
Windows Terminal tabs and panes
  • To use tabs on Windows Terminal, use the “Ctrl + Shift + T” and the “Ctrl + Shift + W” shortcuts to open and close tabs.
  • To use panes on Windows Terminal, use the “Alt + Shift + Plus” and the“Alt + Shift + Minus” shortcuts to create vertical or horizontal panes and the “Ctrl + Shift + W” shortcut to close panes.

On the Windows Terminal, you can work with the different command tools (such as Command Prompt, PowerShell, and Linux) from a single experience using tabs and panes.

Similar to other applications, tabs allow you to open multiple command tools in the same instance of the Windows Terminal. The ability to use tabs can come in handy for managing multiple projects and keeping track of your different tasks. On the other hand, panes allow you to run multiple command tools side by side within the same tab. Panes minimize the need to switch between tabs and let you see multiple prompts simultaneously.

This guide will teach you the steps to manage tabs and panes inside the Windows Terminal on Windows 11.

Windows Terminal open and close tabs and panes

On the Windows Terminal, tabs and panes can help you to work with command tools more efficiently, and the steps below will show you how to use the interface elements and shortcuts.

Terminal tabs

Windows Terminal tabs
Windows Terminal tabs

Create tabs

To create tabs on the Terminal, use these steps:

  1. Click the “+” (plus) button in the tabs area.

  2. Use the “Ctrl + Shift + T” keyboard shortcut to open a new tab using the default profile.

  3. Open the main menu and pick the profile to open a new tab.

  4. Use the “Ctrl + Shift + D” keyboard shortcut to duplicate the current tab in focus. Alternatively, right-click the tab and select the “Duplicate Tab” option.

    Quick note: The new tab won’t duplicate the screen contents of the other tab. Instead, it’ll create a new tab with the same profile.
  5. Use the “Ctrl + Shift + profile number” keyboard shortcut to open a new tab with the profile number according to the position in the main menu. For instance, if Command Prompt is in position “2” in the menu, use the “Ctrl + Shift + 2” shortcut.

  6. Use the “Ctrl + Shift + N” keyboard shortcut to open a new tab on a new window.

Navigate tabs

To navigate tabs on the Terminal, use these steps:

  1. Use the “Ctrl + Tab” keyboard shortcut to move to the next tab.

  2. Use the “Ctrl” key and repeatedly click the “Tab” to cycle through the open tabs.

  3. Use the “Alt + Ctrl + tab number (1 to 9)” keyboard shortcut to jump to a specific tab on the Windows Terminal.

Close tabs

To close tabs on the Terminal, use these steps:

  1. Use the “Ctrl + Shift + W” keyboard shortcut to close the current profile in focus.

  2. Click the Close “X” button in the tab to close it.

  3. Right-click the tab and choose the Close Tab option.

  4. Right-click the tab, select Close, and choose the “Close other tabs” option to close all the tabs except the one in focus.

  5. Right-click the tab, select Close, and select the “Close tabs to the right” option to close all the tabs to the right, leaving all the tabs on the left open.

  6. Click the Close “X” button from the top-right corner to close all tabs alongside the Terminal.

Terminal panes

Windows Terminal panes
Windows Terminal panes

Create panes

To open a new pane on the Windows Terminal, use these steps:

  1. Right-click the tab and select the “Split Tab” option to open a vertical pane on the right side.

    Quick note: If you choose the “Split Tab” option again, it’ll open another horizontal pane.
  2. Hold the “Alt” key and click the “+” (plus) button to open a vertical pane.

  3. Hold the “Alt” key and open the main menu and choose another profile to create a new pane to work with two command shells in the same tab.

  4. Use the “Alt + Shift + Plus” keyboard shortcut to create a vertical pane.

  5. Use the “Alt + Shift + Minus” keyboard shortcut to create a horizontal pane.

  6. Use the  “Alt + Shift + D” keyboard shortcut to duplicate a pane.

To resize panes on the Terminal, use these steps:

  1. Use the “Alt + Shift + Right or Left arrow” keyboard shortcut to make the horizontal pane in focus smaller.

  2. Use the “Alt + Shift + Up or Down arrow” keyboard shortcut to make the vertical pane in focus smaller.

Close panes

To close panes, use these steps:

  1. Use the “Ctrl + Shift + W” keyboard shortcut to close a pane in focus.

  2. Use the “Ctrl + Shift” key and repeatedly click the “W” key to close panes one by one.

While it’s possible to manage tabs and panes in different ways, you cannot move and rearrange tabs. In addition, you cannot convert panes into tabs or tabs into panes.

The ability to drag tabs in and out of the Terminal is possible, but the feature is still on preview at the time of this writing.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].