You stare at your prompt all day every day, so we might as well make it look a little nicer, right?

I recently migrated to using a PROMPT_COMMAND, which allows you to get very creative with your prompt, and wanted to share it with y’all.

Above you can see how my prompt looks like.

In order, we have,

  • a checkmark if last status was 0, x otherwise
  • date/time when the prompt was printed (useful to time things if you forget to wrap them with time)
  • hostname
  • user
  • current umask
  • current path
  • actual command prompt

The first line that includes status and date was my most recent addition, and so far I’ve been enjoying it.

How to set this up

So let’s take a look at how to make your shell look like that.

Start by creating or opening your ~/.bashrc.

Then create a method that will generate your prompt. I call mine __prompt:

__prompt() {
  local EXIT="$?"

  local RESET="\[\033[00;00m\]"

  local HOST="\[\033[00;31m\]\h${RESET}"
  local USER="\[\033[00;32m\]\u${RESET}"
  local PATH="\[\033[00;33m\]\w${RESET}"
  local UMASK="\[\033[00;34m\]$(umask)${RESET}"
  local PROMPT="\[\033[01;00m\]$ ${RESET}"
  local DT="\[\033[02;37m\]$(/bin/date "+%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")${RESET}"

  local STATUS=
  [[ ${EXIT} != 0 ]] &&
    STATUS="\[\033[00;31m\]x${RESET}" ||

  PS1="${STATUS} ${DT}\n${HOST} ${USER} ${UMASK} ${PATH}\n${PROMPT}"

and finally assign your custom __prompt command to PROMPT_COMMAND:


That’s it!

Source your .bashrc or restart your terminal to test it out: . ~/.bashrc