A full-featured & carefully designed adaptive prompt for Bash & Zsh
Latest commit 9c80396 Apr 4, 2017 @dolmen dolmen Merge remote-tracking branch 'origin/pr/509'
This fixes #509 (broken since e21a4c2)


Liquid Prompt β€” a useful adaptive prompt for Bash & zsh

Liquid Prompt gives you a nicely displayed prompt with useful information when you need it. It shows you what you need when you need it. You will notice what changes when it changes, saving time and frustration. You can even use it with your favorite shell – Bash or zsh.



If there is nothing special about the current context, the appearance of Liquid Prompt is similar to that of a default prompt:

[user:~] $

If you are running a background command and are also in the "myb" branch of a Git repository on a server:

1r [user@server:~/liquidprompt] myb Β±

When Liquid Prompt is displaying everything (a rare event!), it may look like this:

code πŸ•€ ⌁24% βŒ‚42% 3d/2&/1z [user@server:~/ … /code/liquidprompt][pyenv]β†₯ master(+10/-5,3)*+ 125 Β±

Here is an overview of what Liquid Prompt is capable of displaying:

  • a tag associated to the current shell session (you can easily add any prefix tag to your prompt by invoking prompt_tag MYTAG)
  • the current time, displayed as either numeric values or as an analog clock
  • the current battery status:
    • a green ⏚ if charging, above the given threshold, but not charged
    • a yellow ⏚ if charging and under the given threshold
    • a yellow ⌁ if discharging but above the given threshold
    • a red ⌁ if discharging and under the given threshold
  • the remaining battery power if it is under the given threshold, displayed with an increasingly red color map as remaining power decreases
  • the average of the processors load if it is over a given limit, displayed with an intensity color map as load increases
  • the average temperature of the available system sensors (generally CPU and MB)
  • the number of detached sessions (screen or tmux)
  • the number of attached sleeping jobs (when you interrupt a command with Ctrl-Z and bring it back with fg)
  • the number of attached running jobs (commands started with a &)
  • a pair of square brackets, in blue if your current shell is running in a terminal multiplexer (screen or tmux)
  • the current user, in bold yellow if it is root and in light white if it is not the same as the login user
  • a green @ if the connection has X11 support; a yellow one if not
  • the current host – in bold red if you are connected via a telnet connection and blue (or other unique colors) if connected via SSH
  • a green colon if the user has write permissions in the current directory and a red one if not
  • the current directory in bold, shortened if it takes too much space while always preserving the first two directory names
  • the current Python virtual environment
  • an up arrow if an HTTP proxy is in use
  • the name of the current branch if you are in a version control repository (Git, Mercurial, Subversion, Bazaar, or Fossil):
    • in green if everything is up-to-date
    • in red if there are changes
    • in yellow if there are pending commits to push
  • the number of added/deleted lines if changes have been made and the number of pending commits
  • a yellow + if there are stashed modifications
  • a red * if there are untracked files in the repository
  • the runtime of the last command, if it has exceeded a certain threshold
  • the error code of the last command, if it has failed in some way
  • a smart mark at the end of the prompt:
    • Β± for Git,
    • ☿ for Mercurial,
    • ‑ for Subversion,
    • ‑± for Git-Subversion,
    • ⌘ for Fossil,
    • $ or % for a simple user, in red if you have sudo rights,
    • a red # for the root user.
  • if desired, the prompt will be replicated in your terminal window's title (without the colors)

You can temporarily deactivate Liquid Prompt and revert to your previous prompt by typing prompt_off. Use prompt_on to bring it back. You can disable all prompts and simply use a single mark sign ($ for user and # for root) by using the prompt_OFF command.

Test Drive and Installation

Installation is simple. The basic dependencies are standard Unix utilities/commands. If you experience some problems during the installation, please check that they are met; see the dependencies section for what you need specifically.

Follow these steps:

git clone https://github.com/nojhan/liquidprompt.git
source liquidprompt/liquidprompt

To use it every time you start a shell, add the following lines to your .bashrc (if you use Bash) or .zshrc (if you use zsh):

# Only load Liquid Prompt in interactive shells, not from a script or from scp
[[ $- = *i* ]] && source ~/liquidprompt/liquidprompt

Next up is the configuration; you can skip this step if you like the defaults:

cp ~/liquidprompt/liquidpromptrc-dist ~/.config/liquidpromptrc

You can also copy the file to ~/.liquidpromptrc. Use your favorite text editor to change the defaults. The liquidpromptrc file is richly commented and easy to set your own defaults. You can even theme Liquid Prompt and use a custom PS1 prompt. This is explained in the sections below.

Check in your .bashrc that the PROMPT_COMMAND variable is not set, or else the prompt will not be available.

Installation via Antigen

To install via antigen, simply add the following line in your .zshrc after activating antigen:

antigen bundle nojhan/liquidprompt


Apart from obvious ones, some features depend on specific commands. If you do not install them, the corresponding feature will not be available, but no error will be displayed.

  • Battery status requires acpi on GNU/Linux.
  • Temperature status requires acpi or lm-sensors on GNU/Linux.
  • Detached session status looks for screen and/or tmux.
  • VCS support features require git, hg, svn, bzr or fossil, but you probably already knew that.

For other features, the script uses commands that should be available on a large variety of Unix systems: tput, grep, awk, sed, ps, who, and expr.

Feature Configuration

You can configure some variables in the ~/.config/liquidpromptrc file:

  • LP_BATTERY_THRESHOLD, the maximal value under which the battery level is displayed
  • LP_LOAD_THRESHOLD, the minimal value after which the load average is displayed
  • LP_TEMP_THRESHOLD, the minimal value after which the average temperature is displayed
  • LP_RUNTIME_THRESHOLD, the minimal value after which the runtime is displayed
  • LP_PATH_LENGTH, the maximum percentage of the screen width used to display the path
  • LP_PATH_KEEP, how many directories to keep at the beginning of a shortened path
  • LP_HOSTNAME_ALWAYS, a choice between always displaying the hostname or showing it only when connected via a remote shell
  • LP_USER_ALWAYS, a choice between always displaying the user or showing it only when he is different from the one that logged in

You can also force some features to be disabled, to save some time in the prompt-building process:

  • LP_ENABLE_PERM, if you want to detect if the directory is writeable
  • LP_ENABLE_SHORTEN_PATH, if you want to shorten the path display
  • LP_ENABLE_PROXY, if you want to detect if a proxy is used
  • LP_ENABLE_JOBS, if you want to have jobs information
  • LP_ENABLE_LOAD, if you want to have load information
  • LP_ENABLE_BATT, if you want to have battery information
  • LP_ENABLE_GIT, if you want to have Git information
  • LP_ENABLE_SVN, if you want to have Subversion information
  • LP_ENABLE_HG, if you want to have Mercurial information
  • LP_ENABLE_BZR, if you want to have Bazaar information
  • LP_ENABLE_FOSSIL, if you want to have Fossil information
  • LP_ENABLE_VCS_ROOT, if you want to show VCS informations with root account
  • LP_ENABLE_TITLE, if you want to use the prompt as your terminal window's title
  • LP_ENABLE_SCREEN_TITLE, if you want to use the prompt as your screen window's title
  • LP_ENABLE_SSH_COLORS, if you want different colors for hosts you SSH into
  • LP_ENABLE_RUNTIME, if you want to display the runtime of the last command
  • LP_ENABLE_SUDO, if you want the prompt mark to change color while you have password-less root access
  • LP_ENABLE_FQDN, if you want the display of the fully qualified domain name
  • LP_ENABLE_TIME, if you want to display the time at which the prompt was shown
  • LP_TIME_ANALOG, if you want to show the time using an analog clock instead of numeric values

Note that if required commands are not installed, enabling the corresponding feature will have no effect. Also, all the LP_ENABLE_… variables override the templates; i.e. if you use $LP_BATT in your template and you set LP_ENABLE_BATT=0 in your configuration file, your prompt will not have any battery information.

If you are using Bash and want to use the PROMPT_DIRTRIM built-in functionality to shorten but still want to have Liquid Prompt calculating the number of directories to keep in the path, precise a value for PROMPT_DIRTRIM before sourcing Liquid Prompt and it will override this value with one fitting the width of your terminal.

You may face performances decrease when using VCS located in remote directories. To avoid this, you can set the LP_DISABLED_VCS_PATH variable to a list of absolute colon-separated paths where VCS-related features should be disabled.

Customizing the Prompt

Adding a Prefix/Postfix

You can prefix the LP_PS1 variable with anything you want using LP_PS1_PREFIX. The following example activate a custom window's title:

LP_PS1_PREFIX="\[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]"

To postfix the prompt, use the LP_PS1_POSTFIX variable. For example, to add a newline and a single character:


Note: the prompt_tag function is a convenient way to add a prefix. You can use it to add a keyword to each of your different terminals:

[:~/code/liquidprompt] develop Β± prompt_tag mycode
mycode [:~/code/liquidprompt] develop Β±

Rearranging the Prompt

You can sort what you want to see by sourcing your favorite template file (*.ps1) in the configuration file.

You can start from the liquid.ps1 file, which show the default settings. To use your own configuration, just set LP_PS1_FILE to your own file path in your ~/.liquidpromptrc and you're done.

Those scripts basically export the LP_PS1 variable, by appending features and theme colors.

Available features:

  • LP_BATT battery
  • LP_LOAD load
  • LP_TEMP temperature
  • LP_JOBS detached screen or tmux sessions/running jobs/suspended jobs
  • LP_USER user
  • LP_HOST hostname
  • LP_PERM a colon (:)
  • LP_PWD current working directory
  • LP_PROXY HTTP proxy
  • LP_VCS informations concerning the current working repository
  • LP_ERR last error code
  • LP_MARK prompt mark
  • LP_TITLE the prompt as a window's title escaped sequences
  • LP_TTYN the terminal basename
  • LP_BRACKET_OPEN and LP_BRACKET_CLOSE, brackets enclosing the user+path part

For example, if you just want to have a prompt displaying the user and the host, with a normal full path in blue and Git support only:

export LP_PS1=`echo -ne "[\${LP_USER}\${LP_HOST}:\${BLUE}\$(pwd)\${NO_COL}] \${LP_GIT} \\\$ "`

Note that you need to properly escape dollar signs in a string that will be interpreted by Bash at each prompt.

To erase your new formatting, just bind LP_PS1 to a null string:

export LP_PS1=""


You can change the colors and special characters of some parts of Liquid Prompt by sourcing your favorite theme file (*.theme) in the configuration file. See liquid.theme for an example of the default Liquid Prompt theme.


The available colours available for use are:


Set the variable to a null string ("") if you do not want color.

  • Current working directory
    • LP_COLOR_PATH as normal user
    • LP_COLOR_PATH_ROOT as root
  • Color of the proxy mark
  • Jobs count
    • LP_COLOR_JOB_D Detached (screen / tmux sessions without attached clients)
    • LP_COLOR_JOB_R Running (xterm &)
    • LP_COLOR_JOB_Z Sleeping (Ctrl-Z)
    • LP_COLOR_IN_MULTIPLEXER currently running in a terminal multiplexer
  • Last error code
  • Prompt mark
    • LP_COLOR_MARK as user
    • LP_COLOR_MARK_ROOT as root
    • LP_COLOR_MARK_SUDO when you did sudo and your credentials are still cached (use sudo -K to revoke them)
    • LP_MARK_PREFIX="\n" put the prompt on the second line
  • Current user
    • LP_COLOR_USER_LOGGED user who logged in
    • LP_COLOR_USER_ALT user but not the one who logged in
  • Hostname
    • LP_COLOR_HOST local host
    • LP_COLOR_SSH connected via SSH
    • LP_COLOR_TELNET connected via telnet
    • LP_COLOR_X11_ON connected with X11 support
    • LP_COLOR_X11_OFF connected without X11 support
  • Separation mark (by default, the colon before the path)
    • LP_COLOR_WRITE have write permission
    • LP_COLOR_NOWRITE do not have write permission
  • VCS
    • LP_COLOR_UP repository is up-to-date / a push has been made
    • LP_COLOR_COMMITS some commits have not been pushed
    • LP_COLOR_CHANGES there are some changes to commit
    • LP_COLOR_DIFF number of lines or files impacted by current changes
  • Battery
    • LP_COLOR_CHARGING_ABOVE charging and above threshold
    • LP_COLOR_CHARGING_UNDER charging but under threshold
    • LP_COLOR_DISCHARGING_ABOVE discharging but above threshold
    • LP_COLOR_DISCHARGING_UNDER discharging and under threshold

Special Characters

  • LP_MARK_DEFAULT (default: "") the mark you want at the end of your prompt (leave empty to use your shell's default mark)
  • LP_MARK_BATTERY (default: "⌁") in front of the battery charge
  • LP_MARK_ADAPTER (default: "⏚") displayed when plugged-in
  • LP_MARK_LOAD (default: "βŒ‚") in front of the load
  • LP_MARK_PROXY (default: "β†₯") indicate a proxy in use
  • LP_MARK_HG (default: "☿") prompt mark in Mercurial repositories
  • LP_MARK_SVN (default: "‑") prompt mark in Subversion repositories
  • LP_MARK_GIT (default: "Β±") prompt mark in Git repositories
  • LP_MARK_FOSSIL (default: "⌘") prompt mark in Fossil repositories
  • LP_MARK_BZR (default: "⚯") prompt mark in Bazaar repositories
  • LP_MARK_DISABLED (default: "βŒ€") prompt mark in disabled repositories (see LP_DISABLED_VCS_PATH)
  • LP_MARK_UNTRACKED (default: "*") if Git has untracked files
  • LP_MARK_STASH (default: "+") if Git has stashed modifications
  • LP_MARK_BRACKET_OPEN (default: "[") marks around the main part of the prompt
  • LP_MARK_BRACKET_CLOSE (default: "]") marks around the main part of the prompt
  • LP_MARK_PERM (default: ":") colored green red or green to indicate write permissions of the current directory
  • LP_TITLE_OPEN (default: "\e]0;") escape character opening a window's title
  • LP_TITLE_CLOSE (default: "\a") escape character closing a window's title

Known Limitations and Bugs

Liquid Prompt is distributed under the GNU Affero General Public License version 3.

  • Does not display the number of commits to be pushed in Mercurial repositories.
  • Browsing very large Subversion repositories may dramatically slow down the display of Liquid Prompt (use LP_DISABLED_VCS_PATH to avoid that).
  • Subversion repositories cannot display commits to be pushed because that's not how Subversion works
  • The proxy detection only uses the $http_proxy environment variable.
  • The window's title escape sequence may not work properly on some terminals (like xterm-256).
  • The analog clock requires a Unicode-aware terminal and at least a sufficiently complete font on your system. The Symbola font, designed by Georges Douros, is known to work well. On Debian or Ubuntu install try the fonts-symbola or ttf-ancient-fonts package.


Current Maintainer: endorse

Original Author: endorse

And many contributors!