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After having used prompt pure for about a year, I felt that a two-line prompt was not for me. Also not utilizing the right side of the terminal seemed a missed opportunity. Still there is much to like: the elapsed time of a process, the coloring of the prompt if the exit code of the process isn't 0, git integration. So I took "pure", mixed in my ideas of what a prompt should look like and came up with "lean" - a 1 line prompt that stays out of your face.

When lean starts, only 2 characters show on the screen '%' on the left and '~' on the right.

lean example gif

So lean is an evolution of pure, with the following changes:

  • Defaults to a very sparse setup, only showing information you need at the moment.
  • Comes with the perfect prompt character. Author went through the entire ASCII range to find it (and found it pretty quickly!)
  • Never displays your username (assuming you know who you are).
  • When tmux is active it shows a yellow 't' (I disabled the tmux bar, so this is some visual indication that tmux is active). If you don't want this indicator, you can always set PROMPT_LEAN_TMUX="" prior to loading this plugin (or prior to sourcing zgen, etc.).
  • Show remote host if logged in through SSH.
  • All in one line, most stuff in the right prompt, leaving the left prompt nice and clean
  • Shows background jobs (in the left prompt)
  • Show (dirty) git repos (can be disabled by setting PROMPT_LEAN_VCS to 0). The branch name is truncated to 20 characters.
  • Shortens path if needed (longer then 70% of your screen). Two methods are provided: 'truncate' and 'shrink' (fish-style working directory). Set PROMPT_LEAN_ABBR_METHOD to choose the one you like the most (default is 'truncate'). Set PROMPT_LEAN_PWD to 0 to disable showing the path altogether.
  • Uses PROMPT_LEAN_LEFT and PROMPT_LEAN_RIGHT to allow customization of the left and/or right side of the prompt.
  • For a configurable insert-mode indicator, set the PROMPT_LEAN_VIMODE and PROMPT_LEAN_VIMODE_FORMAT variables. PROMPT_LEAN_VIMODE_FORMAT defaults to "%F{red}[NORMAL]%f"
  • Configurable colors to match your preferred scheme, by setting PROMPT_LEAN_COLOR1 and PROMPT_LEAN_COLOR2
  • Use PROMPT_LEAN_NOTITLE to customize when the title should not be displayed. Useful for terminals that can not show title properly.
  • Use PROMPT_LEAN_VCS and PROMPT_LEAN_PWD to disable showing VCS info or the current working directory.



If you use zgen you can add the following to your ~/.zshrc:

zgen load miekg/lean

and force reload with zgen reset && source ~/.zshrc.

Note you must have the option PROMPT_SUBST set, see zshoptions(1).


If you use prezto you should do the following:

cd $ZPREZTODIR && git clone --recurse-submodules contrib

Then in ~/.zpreztorc add contrib-prompt to module load list and select lean as a theme:

zstyle ':prezto:load' pmodule \
  ... \
  'contrib-prompt' \
  'prompt' \

zstyle ':prezto:module:prompt' theme 'lean'

PROMPT_LEAN_LEFT and PROMPT_LEAN_RIGHT should be customized in ~/.zshrc. The rest variables should be customized in ~/.zshenv.


If you make any changes please run make test to ensure the (little) test suite is succesfull.


Pretty, minimal, one-line, fast ZSH prompt








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