Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source


Simple shell prompt generator with support for powerline symbols and airline integration








  • Create a plain .sh file to manage the prompt. The generated file can be sourced by the shell on login.
  • Very fast prompt. No external binaries are spawned to render the prompt (no python, not even grep or sed)
  • Use vim-airline/lightline.vim colors, so the prompt shares the same colors with vim's statusline
  • Preloaded with stock themes and presets, which can be combined in multiple ways
  • Configure the prompt with a simple associative array, in case stock presets don't meet your needs
  • Preloaded with commonly used prompt sections e.g. branch name, last exit code (if not zero)

The plugin has been tested in bash, zsh and fish

More screenshots can be found in the wiki

Quick Start with airline installed

  1. In vim :PromptlineSnapshot ~/ airline
  2. In bash/zsh source ~/

Quick Start with lightline installed

  1. In vim :PromptlineSnapshot ~/ lightline
  2. In bash/zsh source ~/

Quick Start

  1. In vim :PromptlineSnapshot ~/
  2. In bash/zsh source ~/


Create a snapshot file with default prompt.

:PromptlineSnapshot [file]

Specify theme:

:PromptlineSnapshot [file] [theme]

Specify theme and preset:

:PromptlineSnapshot [file] [theme] [preset]

The created file should be sourced by bash/zsh:

# in .bash.rc / .zshrc
source [file]

For fish:

# in
function fish_prompt

function fish_right_prompt


Stock preset

Set g:promptline_preset to a stock preset. Running :PromptlineSnapshot [file] will use g:promptline_preset as [preset]

let g:promptline_preset = 'clear'
" or
let g:promptline_preset = 'full'
" other presets available in autoload/promptline/presets/*

Stock theme

Set g:promptline_theme to a stock theme. Running :PromptlineSnapshot [file] will use g:promptline_theme as [theme]

let g:promptline_theme = 'airline'
" or
let g:promptline_theme = 'jelly'
" other themes available in autoload/promptline/themes/*


TL;DR (starting point for a personalized prompt)

" sections (a, b, c, x, y, z, warn) are optional
let g:promptline_preset = {
        \'a' : [ promptline#slices#host() ],
        \'b' : [ promptline#slices#user() ],
        \'c' : [ promptline#slices#cwd() ],
        \'y' : [ promptline#slices#vcs_branch() ],
        \'warn' : [ promptline#slices#last_exit_code() ]}

" available slices:
" promptline#slices#cwd() - current dir, truncated to 3 dirs. To configure: promptline#slices#cwd({ 'dir_limit': 4 })
" promptline#slices#vcs_branch() - branch name only. By default, only git branch is enabled. Use promptline#slices#vcs_branch({ 'hg': 1, 'svn': 1, 'fossil': 1}) to enable check for svn, mercurial and fossil branches. Note that always checking if inside a branch slows down the prompt
" promptline#slices#last_exit_code() - display exit code of last command if not zero
" promptline#slices#jobs() - display number of shell jobs if more than zero
" promptline#slices#battery() - display battery percentage (on OSX and linux) only if below 10%. Configure the threshold with promptline#slices#battery({ 'threshold': 25 })
" promptline#slices#host() - current hostname.  To hide the hostname unless connected via SSH, use promptline#slices#host({ 'only_if_ssh': 1 })
" promptline#slices#user()
" promptline#slices#python_virtualenv() - display which virtual env is active (empty is none)
" promptline#slices#git_status() - count of commits ahead/behind upstream, count of modified/added/unmerged files, symbol for clean branch and symbol for existing untraced files
" promptline#slices#conda_env() - display which conda env is active (empty is none)
" any command can be used in a slice, for example to print the output of whoami in section 'b':
"       \'b' : [ '$(whoami)'],
" more than one slice can be placed in a section, e.g. print both host and user in section 'a':
"       \'a': [ promptline#slices#host(), promptline#slices#user() ],
" to disable powerline symbols
" `let g:promptline_powerline_symbols = 0`

Custom preset

Contents of the prompt are configured with a simple hash, with optional keys a, b, c, x, y, z, warn. In zsh, x, y, z, warn will be placed in the right prompt.

let g:promptline_preset = {
      \'a'    : [ '\h' ],
      \'b'    : [ '\u' ],
      \'c'    : [ '\w' ]}

screen shot 2013-12-26 at 4 58 15 pm

bash will replace \h \u \w. zsh's syntax for replacements is a bit different:

bash zsh excerpts from bash man page
\u %n the username of the current user
\w %~ the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde
\W %d the basename of the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated with a tilde
\h %m the hostname up to the first `.'
\H %M the hostname
\j %j the number of jobs currently managed by the shell
$ %# if the effective UID is 0, a #, otherwise a $
$(command) $(command) allows the output of a command to replace the command name
\t %* the current time in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format
\A %T the current time in 24-hour HH:MM format

If the arrays in g:promptline_preset hold multiple values, a powerline separator will be placed between them.

let g:promptline_preset = {
      \'a'    : [ '\h', '\u', '\j' ],
      \'c'    : [ '\w' ]}

screen shot 2013-12-26 at 4 59 42 pm

Any command can be used in the prompt with $(command). Also, order of the sections in g:promptline_preset can be configured with left_sections, right_sections, left_only_sections. left_sections and right_sections will be used to order the sections in zsh (zsh supports left and right prompt via PROMPT and RPROMPT), left_only_sections will be used for bash (which doesn't support right prompt).

let g:promptline_preset = {
      \'a'    : [ '$(hostname)' ],
      \'b'    : [ '$(whoami)' ],
      \'c'    : [ '$(pwd)' ],
      \'options': {
          \'left_sections' : [ 'b', 'a' ],
          \'right_sections' : [ 'c' ],
          \'left_only_sections' : [ 'b', 'a', 'c' ]}}

promptline comes preloaded with a few commonly used commands:

  • current directory (with dir truncation and powerline separators)
  • git branch (displayed in git repos only)
  • job count (displayed if jobs != 0)
  • last exit code (displayed if exit code != 0)

These commands (which are actually functions) reside in autoload/promptline/slices.vim

Sections x, y, z, warn will be printed on the right by default if the shell supports it.

let g:promptline_preset = {
        \'a'    : [ '$USER' ],
        \'b'    : [ promptline#slices#cwd() ],
        \'c'    : [ promptline#slices#vcs_branch() ],
        \'warn' : [ promptline#slices#last_exit_code() ],
        \'z'    : [ promptline#slices#host() ]}


screen shot 2013-12-26 at 5 01 54 pm


screen shot 2013-12-26 at 5 02 58 pm


Use let g:promptline_powerline_symbols = 0 to disable using powerline symbols

To configure symbols:

let g:promptline_symbols = {
    \ 'left'       : '',
    \ 'left_alt'   : '>',
    \ 'dir_sep'    : ' / ',
    \ 'truncation' : '...',
    \ 'vcs_branch' : '',
    \ 'space'      : ' '}

Custom slice

git sha1

Example: include git short sha1 hash in the prompt. Desired output:

screen shot 2013-12-30 at 3 33 55 pm

simple one-liners

Slices (a.k.a. segments) can be any custom command/function. To include the sha1 after the branch:

let g:promptline_preset = {
        \'a' : [ promptline#slices#cwd() ],
        \'c' : [ promptline#slices#vcs_branch(), '$(git rev-parse --short HEAD 2>/dev/null)']}

As a result, the sha1 will be displayed next to the branch name. If the current dir is not a git repository, the section will be empty:

screen shot 2013-12-30 at 3 17 55 pm


If the desired output cannot be achieved with a one-liner, a shell function can be used. This is specified with a hash, containing the function name and body:

let git_sha_slice = {
      \'function_name': 'git_sha',
      \'function_body': [
        \'function git_sha {',
        \'  local sha',
        \'  sha=$(git rev-parse --short HEAD 2>/dev/null) || return 1',
        \'  printf "%s" "$sha"',

let g:promptline_preset = {
        \'a' : [ promptline#slices#cwd() ],
        \'b' : [ promptline#slices#vcs_branch(), git_sha_slice ]}

Two things to note here:

  • function_name (string) is the name of the shell function. It's only used to make sure the function is not added more than once in the generated .sh file
  • function_body (array) is the shell function which will be placed in the generated .sh file.

The result is the same.

screen shot 2013-12-30 at 3 17 55 pm


The plugin's files follow the standard layout for vim plugins.

  • Pathogen git clone ~/.vim/bundle/promptline.vim
  • Vundle Bundle 'edkolev/promptline.vim'
  • NeoBundle NeoBundle 'edkolev/promptline.vim'

For the powerline symbols (the arrows), a powerline font is required.

Inspired by


I wanted unified colors throughout my most often used terminal applications (editor, multiplexer, shell). That motivated me to create this plugin, as well as tmuxline

There are similar plugins, but all of them seem to use an external (to the shell) program, e.g. python, nodejs. I think the shell's prompt should be as fast as possible, without being slowed by an external process. The only external process, spawned by promptline-generated prompt, is used to get VCS branch (i.e. git)

Known Issues

  • zsh empty whitespace on right prompt

    Up until version 5.0.5, zsh had a hard-coded space at the end of the right prompt. To remove the extra space, install zsh 5.0.5 (or later) and set ZLE_RPROMPT_INDENT=0 in zshrc.


MIT License. Copyright (c) 2013-2019 Evgeni Kolev.

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