powerline-shell 0,3,0,4,2,4,0,1

A beautiful and useful prompt for your shell

A Powerline style prompt for your shell

A Powerline like prompt for Bash, ZSH and Fish:


  • Shows some important details about the git/svn/hg/fossil branch (see below)
  • Changes color if the last command exited with a failure code
  • If you’re too deep into a directory tree, shortens the displayed path with an ellipsis
  • Shows the current Python virtualenv environment
  • It’s easy to customize and extend. See below for details.

Version Control

All of the version control systems supported by powerline shell give you a quick look into the state of your repo:

  • The current branch is displayed and changes background color when the branch is dirty.
  • When the local branch differs from the remote, the difference in number of commits is shown along with or indicating whether a git push or pull is pending

In addition, git has a few extra symbols:

  • – a file has been modified, but not staged for commit
  • – a file is staged for commit
  • – a file has conflicts

FIXME * A + appears when untracked files are present (except for git, which uses ? instead)

Each of these will have a number next to it if more than one file matches.


This script uses ANSI color codes to display colors in a terminal. These are notoriously non-portable, so may not work for you out of the box, but try setting your $TERM to xterm-256color, because that works for me.

  • Patch the font you use for your terminal: see https://github.com/Lokaltog/powerline-fonts

    • If you struggle too much to get working fonts in your terminal, you can use “compatible” mode.
    • If you’re using old patched fonts, you have to use the older symbols. Basically reverse this commit in your copy
  • Clone this repository somewhere:

    git clone https://github.com/milkbikis/powerline-shell
  • Copy config.py.dist to config.py and edit it to configure the segments you want. Then run

    • This will generate powerline-shell.py
  • (optional) Create a symlink to this python script in your home:

    ln -s <path/to/powerline-shell.py> ~/powerline-shell.py
    • If you don’t want the symlink, just modify the path in the commands below
  • For python2.6 you have to install argparse

    pip install argparse

All Shells:

There are a few optional arguments which can be seen by running powerline-shell.py --help.

  --cwd-mode {fancy,plain,dironly}
                        How to display the current directory
  --cwd-max-depth CWD_MAX_DEPTH
                        Maximum number of directories to show in path
  --cwd-max-dir-size CWD_MAX_DIR_SIZE
                        Maximum number of letters displayed for each directory
                        in the path
  --colorize-hostname   Colorize the hostname based on a hash of itself.
  --mode {patched,compatible,flat}
                        The characters used to make separators between


Add the following to your .bashrc (or .profile on Mac):

function _update_ps1() {
    PS1="$(~/powerline-shell.py $? 2> /dev/null)"

if [ "$TERM" != "linux" ]; then


Add the following to your .zshrc:

function powerline_precmd() {
    PS1="$(~/powerline-shell.py $? --shell zsh 2> /dev/null)"

function install_powerline_precmd() {
  for s in "${precmd_functions[@]}"; do
    if [ "$s" = "powerline_precmd" ]; then

if [ "$TERM" != "linux" ]; then


Redefine fish_prompt in ~/.config/fish/config.fish:

function fish_prompt
    ~/powerline-shell.py $status --shell bare ^/dev/null


Adding, Removing and Re-arranging segments

The config.py file defines which segments are drawn and in which order. Simply comment out and rearrange segment names to get your desired arrangement. Every time you change config.py, run install.py, which will generate a new powerline-shell.py customized to your configuration. You should see the new prompt immediately.

Contributing new types of segments

The segments directory contains python scripts which are injected as is into a single file powerline_shell_base.py. Each segment script defines a function that inserts one or more segments into the prompt. If you want to add a new segment, simply create a new file in the segments directory and add its name to the config.py file at the appropriate location.

Make sure that your script does not introduce new globals which might conflict with other scripts. Your script should fail silently and run quickly in any scenario.

Make sure you introduce new default colors in themes/default.py for every new segment you create. Test your segment with this theme first.

You should add tests for your segment as best you are able. Unit and integration tests are both welcome. Run your tests with the nosetests command after install the requirements in dev_requirements.txt.


The themes directory stores themes for your prompt, which are basically color values used by segments. The default.py defines a default theme which can be used standalone, and every other theme falls back to it if they miss colors for any segments. Create new themes by copying any other existing theme and changing the values. To use a theme, set the THEME variable in config.py to the name of your theme.

A script for testing color combinations is provided at themes/colortest.py. Note that the colors you see may vary depending on your terminal. When designing a theme, please test your theme on multiple terminals, especially with default settings.

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