I have installed iTerm2 and was hoping I'd have something like guake (Yes I just switched from Ubuntu). I mapped the hotkey to a button of my choice and it works fine, but I miss the slide-down-from-top animation like I had in Ubuntu.


6 Answers 6


You can use iTerm2's system-wide hotkey with the Hotkey Window profile to do this.

In iTerm2 preferences, click on the "Keys" tab and choose "Hotkey". Click "Create a Dedicated Hotkey Window…" and assign the hotkey you'd like to use.

Check the "Hotkey toggles a dedicated window with profile:" option and choose "Hotkey Window" in the popup menu below (should be selected by default).

With default settings, the Hotkey Profile window will stretch across the top of the screen, and the hotkey will drop the window down from the top, complete with animation.

Screenshot of ‘Create a Dedicated Hotkey Window…’ Screenshot of ‘Hotkey: Click to Set’

You can customize the settings for the "Hotkey Window" profile under the "Profiles" tab. To make it look like a Quake drop-down terminal, you can use similar "Window" preferences:

iTerm2 Guake Window preferences

  • 7
    this worked great!! but it keeps popping up the default terminal window, so i close that and then i can use the slide down with the hotkey. any way to stop the default terminal window from popping up?
    – jere
    Commented Dec 30, 2012 at 0:18
  • 23
    @Lane Yes - defaults write com.googlecode.iterm2 HotkeyTermAnimationDuration -float 0.00001
    – mdrozdziel
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 19:43
  • 13
    Thanks @joelseph. Is there any way to have iTerms2 to only show the visor/Quake window on startup instead of the 'normal' iTerm2 window?
    – snowbound
    Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 4:25
  • 4
    @joelseph, I'm also want to know how to show the quake window only. Each time I used the hot key, both the hotkey window and the normal window will show up. It is a little annoying.
    – xi.lin
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 15:53
  • 9
    @snowbound To avoid two profiles on startup: -Open iTerm 2. -Close all console windows. -Go to Window > Save Window Arrangement. -Name the new arrangement. I named mine “No Windows”. -Make sure to set it as the default in Preferences > Arrangements. -Last but not least, in Preferences… > General under Startup make sure that “Open default window arrangement” is the only option checked. Source: rottmann.net/2013/03/…
    – k7k0
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 20:53

If you're not married to iTerm2, you could try TotalTerminal. The slide down window is always a keystroke away.

EDIT - I've loved Total Terminal for a long time. However, in late 2015 I moved to iTerm2. It does all the things I loved TT for, but without any of the issues I ran into.

  • 1
    This comment is old as crap so I assume this wasn't the case way back when, but iTerm2 supports a slide down Quake-style console now. Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 23:21
  • 10
    TotalTerminal does not work with ElCapitan without tweaking the system's security settings.
    – Guy
    Commented Oct 4, 2015 at 12:11
  • 2016 - iTerm2 does not slide up/down anymore, see this stackoverflow
    – im3r3k
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 2:26
  • 1
    Hmm... I read that comment, but I have to disagree. My iMac, as is Term2, and it works like it always did. BUT, are you the developer? If so, then I'm sure you know more than me. It still works for me though.
    – Greg Cain
    Commented Apr 2, 2016 at 0:57
  • 1
    2019 calling in, works fine on iterm2 w/ Mojave.
    – wom
    Commented Jan 18, 2019 at 20:37

While iTerm2 suggestion is a good one, it has a few problems of its own.

The hotkey activates all iTerm2 windows. Before OS X 10.11 El Capitan I used TotalTerminal (Visor) and I loved it. I had Visor sliding from top down and I used iTerm2 too, depending on task etc. iTerm2 itself seemed not enough for me when I moved to El Capitan.

But there's a way to closely replicate my old setup. A tine app called Apptivate can assign global keyboard shortcut to any application, script, etc. And they can be switched on and off (hidden) with the same shortcuts. Thus you can easily use Apple's Terminal in a way you used Visor (except for the animation). So I'm back with my old combo (Terminal.app + iTerm2) and it's close to ideal. Maybe it will help you too.


Turn on multiple desktops, have 2, one on top one on bottom. Assign a hotkey to switch to the TOP desktop. Open iTerm2 and put it in the top desktop and open all other apps on the bottom desktop. Either make the terminal maximized or full screen (lion) and it should give you something similar to what your're looking for.


The best solution I have found has been dTerm.


As stated in another stackexchange answer for the same question

TLDR watch a video I created or use warp

Step 1 HotKey

Create Dedicated Hotkey Window

Preferences > Keys > Click Create Dedicated Hotkey Window

set hot key by pressing Click to Set (and subsequently your desired key combo)

Step 2 Floating in Focus

Make the app stay above any apps that are currently in the workspace and maintain focus (in the same dialog from above)

  • Check Pin hotkey window(stays open on loss of keyboard focus)
  • Check Floating window

Step 3 Looks

When creating the hotkey terminal a new profile is created (generally named "Hotkey Window"), update profile as desired


  • To enable some changes you will need to restart iTerm

  • You will be using a specific hot key to call up the overlay

  • You may also want to access preferences as well, command-,

  • if using an older version of iTerm here is the previous video

  • if using an even older version of iTerm here is the pre-previous video

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .