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ConEmu is my new console replacement

Friday, August 7th, 2015

TL;DR: ConEmu is the BEST console for Windows power users!

Update 2015-08-24:

A recent update to ConEmu has added support for a feature I’ve requested last month, the ability to automatically restore the ConEmu console on the currently active screen (i.e., where the mouse is located), this makes ConEmu even more awesome! :D


In a previous post about my Windows dev environment configuration, I’ve explained that I was using AutoHotKey in combination with Console2 to get a quake-like console on Windows. Since then, I discovered ConEmu… and I ain’t going back!

I’ve recently switched from Console2 to ConEmu and because of this change, I no longer need AutoHotKey to show/hide the console since ConEmu show/hide can be bound to a global hotkey (i.e., I can get the same behavior). Altough, I still use AutoHotkey in order to start ConEmu when pressing ‘²’ in case ConEmu isn’t started already.

ConEmu has a gazillion features, one of which being the holy grail for me: an actual Quake-like console with animated dropdown and support for image backgrounds :D. It’s not my goal to describe all it can do but do yourself a favor, just try it out.

Basically the rest of my configuration is as explained in my earlier post apart from the fact that I now use ConEmu rather than Console2. In fine, I’m still using Bash :)

Here’s a link to my ConEmu configuration file

ConEmu configuration highlights:

  • Main
    • Font
      • Consolas
      • 16
      • Clear Type
  • Main > Size & Pos
    • Full screen
    • Centered (not important actually)
    • Long console output: 9999
    • Restore to active monitor (MUST HAVE if you use my configuration). See my update of 2015-08-24 above)
  • Main > Appearance
    • Always on top
    • Auto scrollbars (hidden after a small delay)
    • Quake style slide down (
    • Auto-hide on focus lose
  • Main > Background
    • custom background image (dark.jpg)
  • Main > Tab bar
    • Always show
    • Font
      • Consolas
      • 14
    • Console (text)
      • <%c> %d
      • console id
      • current working directory
  • Main > Confirm
    • No confirmation for new consoles/tabs
    • No confirmation for tab closing
  • Main > Update
    • automatic check on startup
    • Release type: latest
  • Startup
    • {Bash::Git bash} (can’t live without my Bash shell :p)
  • Startup > Tasks
    • {Bash::Git bash}
      • set as default task for new console
      • set as default shell
  • Features
    • Sleep in background
    • Log console output (great!)
  • Features > Text cursor
    • Active console
      • Block
      • Color
      • Blinking
  • Features > Colors
    • Scheme: Solarized Git (I’d love to have a Seti_UI one here)
    • Fade when inactive
  • Features > Transparency
    • Active window transparency: ~90%
  • Features > Status bar
    • Shown
    • Font
      • Consolas
      • 14
    • Selected columns
      • Console title
      • Synchronize cur dir (not sure what this one does)
      • Caps Lock state
      • Num Lock state
      • Active console buffer
      • System time
  • Keys & Macro
    • ²: Minimize/Restore (Quake-style hotkey also)
    • F1: Create new console or new window
  • Keys & Macro > Controls
    • Send mouse events to console
    • Skip click on activation
    • Skip in background
    • Install keyboard hooks
  • Keys & Macro > Mark/Copy
    • Detect line ends
    • Bash margin
    • Trim trailing spaces
    • EOL: CR+LF
    • Text selection: Left Shift
    • Copy on Left Button release
    • Block (rectangular) selection: Left Alt
    • Copying format: Copy plain text only
  • Keys & Macro > Paste
    • All lines
    • Confirm
    • First line Confirm pasting more than 200 chars

Here’s the new version of my AutoHotKey script. Now it:

  • starts ConEmu if not running already
  • lets the ‘²’ key press pass through if ConEmu is running (so as to let ConEmu show/hide the console window
; ConEmu script (start it if it ain't running)
; ConEmu class: VirtualConsoleClass (reference: https://github.com/koppor/autohotkey-scripts/blob/master/ConEmu.ahk)
; Change your hotkey here
;SC029 == ²

DetectHiddenWindows, on
IfWinNotExist, ahk_class VirtualConsoleClass
	Run "C:/CloudStation/Programs/tools/ConEmu/ConEmu64.exe"
	WinWait ahk_class VirtualConsoleClass
	; let the key pass through if ConEmu is active
	; reference: http://www.autohotkey.com/board/topic/2121-hotkey-pass-through/
	Suspend, On
	Suspend, Off
DetectHiddenWindows, off

Bonus: here’s the link to the background images that I use (I don’t claim any rights on these ^^).

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