This article is for those who wonder how my very simple, but helpful prompt in the shell is created and to learn the motivation behind it.

How it looks like

Bash/Zsh Prompt

How it is created


PS1='[\t] \[\033[1m\]\h\[\033[0m\]:\W\$ '


PS1="[%T] %B%m%b:%c%# "


  • I need the hostname to know on which box I am working
  • Time is helpful for copy & paste in logs (and to not waste space with xclock)
  • Short directory name (\W, %c) is helpful, long paths make the prompt unusable and I usually know which tree I am in (if not: pwd helps)
  • No need for username@ like most distros do: If I am a user, I am nico ($ in bash, % in zsh). Otherwise I am root (#).