Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Change Your Bash Prompt

The Bash command prompt can easily be changed by modifying the value of the PS1 environment variable. For example: PS1='yes master?> ' will change your command prompt in terminal to "yes master?> ". If you want your command prompt change to become permanent add it to your .bash_profile or .profile file in your home directory.

In addition to changing your bash profile to a simple string of text there are a number of special characters that can be used. The special characters can be used to add things like the current working directory or the current time to your prompt. Below is a list of these special characters taken from the bash manual:

\a A bell character.
\d The date, in "Weekday Month Date" format (e.g., "Tue May 26").
\D{format} The format is passed to strftime(3) and the result is inserted into the prompt string; an empty format results in a locale-specific time representation. The braces are required.
\e An escape character.
\h The hostname, up to the first `.'.
\H The hostname.
\j The number of jobs currently managed by the shell.
\l The basename of the shell's terminal device name.
\n A newline.
\r A carriage return.
\s The name of the shell, the basename of $0 (the portion following the final slash).
\t The time, in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format.
\T The time, in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format.
\@ The time, in 12-hour am/pm format.
\A The time, in 24-hour HH:MM format.
\u The username of the current user.
\v The version of Bash (e.g., 2.00)
\V The release of Bash, version + patchlevel (e.g., 2.00.0)
\w The current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde (uses the $PROMPT_DIRTRIM variable).
\W The basename of $PWD, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde.
\! The history number of this command.
\# The command number of this command.
\$ If the effective uid is 0, #, otherwise $.
\nnn The character whose ASCII code is the octal value nnn.
\\ A backslash.
\[ Begin a sequence of non-printing characters. This could be used to embed a terminal control sequence into the prompt.
\] End a sequence of non-printing characters.

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