How to customize your terminal prompt with Bash only

Tom Deneire
5 min readMay 19, 2023
My terminal prompt (details below)

A fancier prompt?

At work, most of my colleagues work with MacBooks and therefore have zsh as their default shell, which can be configured with a host of plugins through the Oh My Zsh framework.

As a result, most of their terminal prompts look something like this:

Oh My Zsh “Robby Russel” theme (source:

While my prompt — being a Linux Mint user with Bash as default shell — was very bland in comparison:

Default Bash terminal prompt

The difference between both is obvious, and it’s not just about aesthetics. There’s much more information in the first version. Specifically the information about which git branch you’re currently on is very handy indeed. You don’t want to be typing “git branch” all the time, and more importantly, it makes it much more difficult to make mistakes and commit to the wrong branch. And of course, the colors also help to get the different types of information across more easily and, let’s be honest, they look way cooler too…

Choosing bash