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I like to adjust my terminal window size to fit whatever I'm working on at the moment—sometimes a tiny screen just to tail a log file, and sometimes I stretch it all the way across the screen to read some wide output.

Whenever I open a new tab in the Terminal it resizes the window, losing whatever sizing adjustments I've made. How can I make it preserve the current window size when opening a new tab?

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Are you talking about creating a second tab in an existing window? That shouldn’t resize the window. If it does, please file a bug report or provide feedback at – Chris Page Jul 4 '12 at 3:33
Which OS version? – Chris Page Jul 4 '12 at 3:34
Yes, happens on creating the 2nd tab in any Terminal window. OSX Lion – Caffeine Coma Jul 5 '12 at 11:50
This still happens to me on Mavericks. – Stefan Lasiewski Mar 5 '14 at 18:48
This happens to me in 10.10. Any solution yet? – Sam Pullara Oct 27 '14 at 4:35

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This behavior is due to the Window settings in Terminal. All new terminals open to what is specified under Window (default is 80 x 24). When you open a tab, it resizes the window to the new tab.

I wasn't able to find a solution to this for, however, I've since switched to iTerm 2, and it doesn't suffer from this issue. All new tabs open to the same dimensions as the existing window they're opened into, rather than resizing the window to the default.

You can find iTerm 2 at

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“When you open a tab, it resizes the window to the new tab.” If it does that, that’s a bug. I can’t reproduce it. What OS version? – Chris Page Jul 4 '12 at 3:36
So iTerm2 is nice, but it has its own problems- page up/down and home/end do not work on a full-size keyboard. The solutions on iTerm's FAQ do not help. Frustrating. – Caffeine Coma Jul 5 '12 at 11:54
Chris, it happened to me frequently in Lion. I just tried it in Mountain Lion, and it doesn't appear to occur anymore. – billc Aug 12 '12 at 1:34
This doesn't fix it for me. I'm using ML 10.8.4. Everytime I open a tab in terminal the window doubles in size. New windows are fine. – Rob Sep 9 '13 at 9:46
Can confirm this is still a boss at being annoying. Mavericks OS. – Trip Apr 21 at 16:13
  1. Open Terminal

  2. Click on Terminal on the menubar, go to Preferences

  3. Select Startup

  4. Change the option 'New tabs open with' to 'Same Settings'

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Already tried that- no effect. – Caffeine Coma Jul 2 '12 at 4:59
That’s the default setting. Was it not already that way? – Chris Page Jul 4 '12 at 3:35
For future readers: When I changed the default columns under "Settings -> Window -> Window Size -> Columns" from 80 to 132, this worked. When I left it at 80, it would resize to 183 columns when I opened a new tab. So, maybe there's some automagic behavior with the default window size of 80 columns wide? – Walt W Jul 27 at 21:04

Resize your Terminal in Mac Preferences to fit your needs:

Open Terminal with Spotlight (⌘space, enter 'Terminal') and open Preferences (⌘,). In the Window tab, look at the Window Size, Columns & Rows. The values are often 80 and 24.

Optionally, resize your window to fix your desired new size. Pause and think, 24 lines, how wide is a line? OK, how many do I need?

Increase column size if when you both create a new tab or new window it is not the same size as your desired size.

Trial and error, just attempt to keep your estimates close and it will be brief. Similarly decrease if it is too large, for example, on this 1920 × 1200 scaled display the following is great for me: 130 & 40

Test your new setting by opening a new tab (⌘T).

Place your window over the previous one, is it the same size or close enough for you? If not keep resizing, until it is.

Open a new terminal window also (⌘N) and do similar.

Now consider using a window management program, I recommend Spectacle because it is free as in free beer and freedom:

You can then use the following to move windows quickly while a window is selected: ⌘⌃→

This places the window in the top right corner 1/4 of the screen, left works similarly. If you also hold down shift it will place the window below in the 1/4 half of the screen: ⌘⌃⇧→

Plenty more options are available, enjoy!

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