cookie:~ j$ date
Sun Aug  5 02:14:29 CEST 2012
cookie:~ j$

Just as it's pasted here, all three lines are of the same color. I would like to have "cookie:~ j$" or at least part of the string be of a different color than the rest.

I know that I can specifically enable color coding for specific applications like ls or git, but I haven't found anything like this.

Is there a way to change the coloring and format of the static host/path/user string in the Terminal or iTerm?


2 Answers 2


What you are looking for us customizing the prompt in the bash shell. Many articles on the web including this one.

This is basically done by setting the variable PS1 e.g.

PS1="\[\033[35m\]\t\[\033[m\]-\[\033[36m\]\u\[\033[m\]@\[\033[32m\]\h:\[\033[33;1m\]\w\[\033[m\]\$ "

gives for user mark on machine flat

enter image description here

This includes \t as time, \u as user \h as hostname and \w current working directory

The \[ then \octal number \] send commands to the terminal , in this case acting as an xterm and sets the colours.


Check out this page for instructions on how to do this http://www.macosxtips.co.uk/index_files/customising-the-terminal.php

  • Not an answer. Consider writing an answer rather than just posting a link.
    – bot47
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 9:46

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