Windows Terminal 1.18 outs with tab tear out, portable mode, AI capabilities

The Windows Terminal app gets tab tear out, auto variable update, portable mode, and AI capabilities.

Windows Terminal 1.18
  • Windows Terminal 1.18 is now available as a preview.
  • This new version introduces tab tear out, auto variable update, and portable mode.
  • Microsoft also announced that through the GitHub Copilot experience, the terminal is getting AI support.

The Windows Terminal app is getting a new update that bumps the version number to “1.18” and brings new features, fixes, and improvements.

In version 1.18, the Windows Terminal introduces the ability to drag out tabs to create separate instances of the terminal. The command shell can now reload environment variables automatically when opening a new tab or pane. The terminal will soon support right-click context menu. Microsoft is also improving its text rendering engine, making the experience portable, and through the GitHub Copilot X project, the Windows Terminal is about to get AI capabilities.

Tab tear out

Starting with version 1.18, you can drag out tabs to create separate instances of the terminal. You’ll also be able to move tabs from one terminal window to the other.

Variable updates

The Windows Terminal can now reload the environment variables automatically when you open a new tab or pane without restarting the application.

In addition, you can now add environment variables in your settings.json. This can be done in defaults or in any profile. Example:

            "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!"

Context menu

As part of an experimental project, you can now manually enable a right-click context menu feature using the "experimental.rightClickContextMenu": "true" defaults section of your profiles section of your settings.json. Example:

        "experimental.rightClickContextMenu": true

Text rendering engine

In this release, the text rendering engine (AtlasEngine) is getting some improvements, including support for 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.

Microsoft also made sure that the AtlasEngine continues to support animated shaders, Han unification, and loc1 glyph variants in Windows Terminal Preview 1.18.

Portable mode 

Starting with version 1.18, it’s possible to deploy the Windows Terminal as “Portable Mode.” The new 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.

Microsoft is using the “Zip” container to distribute this new portable mode, but this is not supported in the packaged or preinstallation kit distributions of Windows Terminal.

The idea of the portable mode is to enable users to use a pre-configured instance of the Windows Terminal without installing it from a network share, cloud drive, or USB flash drive.

You must enable portable mode 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.

You can then customize the 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.

GitHub Copilot AI

As part of the continued effort to bring AI to every product, the Windows Terminal is getting support for the GitHub Coptilot X.

Users with access to the GitHub Copilot experience will be able to use the natural language AI both inline and in an experimental chat experience to recommend commands, explain errors, and take actions inside the Windows Terminal. You can sign up to get early access to the Copilot Hub at GitHub.

This release also includes a bunch of fixes and other minor improvements.

Windows Terminal 1.18 is now available as a preview with the new features mentioned above and several bug fixes, and you can download it from the Microsoft Store or GitHub. If you are using the stable channel of the app, you can now update to version 1.17, which includes all these improvements.