#gif #terminal #recorder #image #command-line #generate #terminal-window

app t-rec

Blazingly fast terminal recorder that generates animated gif images for the web written in rust

26 releases

0.7.6 Jan 21, 2023
0.7.5 Oct 4, 2022
0.7.4 Jul 4, 2022
0.7.3 Mar 15, 2022
0.2.2 Nov 26, 2020

#68 in Command line utilities


1.5K SLoC

t-rec: Terminal Recorder

License: GPL v3 crates.io dependency status Build Status LOC

Blazingly fast terminal recorder that generates animated gif images for the web written in rust.




  • Screenshotting your terminal with 4 frames per second (every 250ms)
  • Generates high quality small sized animated gif images or mp4 videos
  • Build-In idle frames detection and optimization (for super fluid presentations)
  • Applies (can be disabled) border decor effects like drop shadow
  • Runs on MacOS, Linux and NetBSD
  • Uses native efficient APIs
  • Runs without any cloud service and entirely offline
  • No issues with terminal sizes larger than 80x24
  • No issues with fonts or colors
  • No issues with curses based programs
  • No issues with escape sequences
  • No record and replay - just one simple command to rule them all
  • Can record every arbitrary window you want (e.g. browser, ide)
  • Written in Rust 🦀

Installation on MacOS

with homebrew

brew install t-rec

with macports

sudo port selfupdate
sudo port install t-rec

with cargo

NOTE t-rec depends on imagemagick.

brew install imagemagick
cargo install -f t-rec 

NOTE -f just makes sure the latest version is installed

Installation on Linux

as .deb

sudo apt-get install imagemagick
wget https://github.com/sassman/t-rec-rs/releases/download/v0.5.0/t-rec_0.5.0_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i t-rec_0.5.0_amd64.deb

as snap

Get it from the Snap Store


sudo snap install t-rec --classic
/snap/bin/t-rec --version
t-rec 0.4.3

from AUR

t-rec can be installed from available AUR packages using an AUR helper. For example,

paru -S t-rec

If you prefer, you can clone the AUR packages and then compile them with makepkg. For example,

git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/t-rec.git
cd t-rec
makepkg -si

Installation on NetBSD

pkgin install t-rec

Or, if you prefer to build from source,

cd /usr/pkgsrc/multimedia/t-rec
make install

with cargo

sudo apt-get install libx11-dev imagemagick
cargo install -f t-rec
tested on those distros
ubuntu 20.10 on GNOME
ubuntu 20.10 on i3wm
linux mint 20 on cinnamon
ArcoLinux 5.4 on Xfwm4



or with specifying a different program to launch

t-rec /bin/sh

Full Options

t-rec 0.7.0
Sven Assmann <sven.assmann.it@gmail.com>
Blazingly fast terminal recorder that generates animated gif images for the web written in rust.

    t-rec [OPTIONS] [shell or program to launch]

    <shell or program to launch>    If you want to start a different program than $SHELL you can
                                    pass it here. For example '/bin/sh'

    -b, --bg <bg>                     Background color when decors are used [default: transparent]
                                      [possible values: white, black, transparent]
    -d, --decor <decor>               Decorates the animation with certain, mostly border effects
                                      [default: none] [possible values: shadow, none]
    -e, --end-pause <s | ms | m>      to specify the pause time at the end of the animation, that
                                      time the gif will show the last frame
    -h, --help                        Print help information
    -l, --ls-win                      If you want to see a list of windows available for recording
                                      by their id, you can set env var 'WINDOWID' or `--win-id` to
                                      record this specific window only
    -m, --video                       Generates additionally to the gif a mp4 video of the recording
    -M, --video-only                  Generates only a mp4 video and not gif
    -n, --natural                     If you want a very natural typing experience and disable the
                                      idle detection and sampling optimization
    -q, --quiet                       Quiet mode, suppresses the banner: 'Press Ctrl+D to end
    -s, --start-pause <s | ms | m>    to specify the pause time at the start of the animation, that
                                      time the gif will show the first frame
    -v, --verbose                     Enable verbose insights for the curious
    -V, --version                     Print version information
    -w, --win-id <win-id>             Window Id (see --ls-win) that should be captured, instead of
                                      the current terminal

Disable idle detection & optimization

If you are not happy with the idle detection and optimization, you can disable it with the -n or --natural parameter. By doing so, you would get the very natural timeline of typing and recording as you do it. In this case there will be no optimizations performed.

Enable shadow border decor

In order to enable the drop shadow border decor you have to pass -d shadow as an argument. If you only want to change the color of the background you can use -b black for example to have a black background.

Record Arbitrary windows

You can record not only the terminal but also every other window. There 3 ways to do so:

  1. use -w | --win-id argument to name the Window Id that should be recorded
t-rec --ls-win | grep -i calc
Calculator | 45007

t-rec -w 45007 
  1. use the env var TERM_PROGRAM like this:
  • for example lets record a window 'Google Chrome'
  • make sure chrome is running and visible on screen
TERM_PROGRAM="google chrome" t-rec

Frame cache dir: "/var/folders/m8/084p1v0x4770rpwpkrgl5b6h0000gn/T/trec-74728.rUxBx3ohGiQ2"
Recording window: "Google Chrome 2"
Press Ctrl+D to end recording

this is how it looks then: demo-chrome

  1. use the env var WINDOWID like this:
  • for example let's record a VSCode window
  • figure out the window id program, and make it
  • make sure the window is visible on screen
  • set the variable and run t-rec
t-rec --ls-win | grep -i code
Code | 27600

# set the WINDOWID variable and run t-rec
WINDOWID=27600 t-rec

Frame cache dir: "/var/folders/m8/084p1v0x4770rpwpkrgl5b6h0000gn/T/trec-77862.BMYiHNRWqv9Y"
Press Ctrl+D to end recording

this is how it looks then: demo-vscode


To contribute to t-rec you can either checkout existing issues labeled with good first issue or open a new issue and describe your problem. Also every PR is welcome. Support for Linux and Windows needs to be done.

On the web & social media



~301K SLoC