Quake Style console: unleashing the power of the keyboard for development

I’ve been using cmder console emulator for Windows for a while now and I actually love it (although it’s a bit slow when dumping walls of text and misses some details when it comes to git completions).

When I’m programming, I always strive to learn as much keyboard shortcuts as I can and automate repetitive tasks in order to make my life a bit more deterministic and fast . 
I’ve always felt that, by keeping my hands on the keyboard and avoid using the mouse, I gain severe productivity boosts because I get things done faster
I also find that these apparently simple actions actually drift my attention away from what I want to accomplish to where is the option on the screen and aiming the pointer to it.

Using the keyboard allows me to boost my speed because tasks become deterministic and also I’m saving time from moving my hand away from the keyboard + holding the mouse + finding or recalling where is the element I want to hit + aiming to it + click + …

So, I tend to use command line (CLI) tools — as opposed to graphical tools — because the CLI usually is much more powerful than graphical tools and it improves my productivity and ability to work independently of any IDE or editor.
Mainly, I’m referring to tools such as git, nuget or npm.

Quake style option on cmder

Last week, I was doing some work with my colleagues Gabriel Calmeiro [which I discovered to be even more enthusiastic about the keyboard than me] and José Almeida when I noticed that Gabriel was using a keyboard shortcut to pull down and hide cmder window. Like this:

I immediately said to him: “when we finish what you’re doing now, you’ll have to teach me how to do that!”

Activating Quake style

It‘s actually pretty simple to activate this option.
Simply open Cmder Settings window (Win+Alt+P), select Quake style option from the menu, check the Quake style slide down option and click Save Settings.

Now you can use Ctrl+ç to slide down and up the cmder window.

The awesome thing about this feature is that the shortcut works globally Windows-wise. Meaning that I can be writing some code on Visual Studio/Visual Studio Code, hit Ctrl+ç and cmder Window will slide down immediatly.

And this is really great, as it’s a deterministic way to open the console regardless of the window I’m on at the moment or the previous windows I opened before. 
The alternative would be to Alt+Tab back to the cmder window, risking to require multiple Alt+Tabs to reach cmder window again.

Changing the shortcut to slide down cmder

If you don’t like the default Ctrl+ç shortcut, you can always change it on the Settings window under Keys & Macro menu option.


I’d love to hear about the performance boosts you use when writing software. So, drop me a line with your suggestions!