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Powerline is a statusline plugin for vim, and provides statuslines and prompts for several other applications, including zsh, bash, tmux, IPython, Awesome and Qtile.


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Powerline is a statusline plugin for vim, and provides statuslines and prompts for several other applications, including zsh, bash, fish, tmux, IPython, Awesome, i3 and Qtile.

Author Kim Silkebækken (
Version beta

Powerline does not support python2 anymore and powerline will stop working with python2 in the near future.


  • Extensible and feature rich, written in Python. Powerline was completely rewritten in Python to get rid of as much vimscript as possible. This has allowed much better extensibility, leaner and better config files, and a structured, object-oriented codebase with no mandatory third-party dependencies other than a Python interpreter.
  • Stable and testable code base. Using Python has allowed unit testing of all the project code. The code is tested to work in Python 3.6+.
  • Support for prompts and statuslines in many applications. Originally created exclusively for vim statuslines, the project has evolved to provide statuslines in tmux and several WMs, and prompts for shells like bash/zsh and other applications. It’s simple to write renderers for any other applications that Powerline doesn’t yet support.
  • Configuration and colorschemes written in JSON. JSON is a standardized, simple and easy to use file format that allows for easy user configuration across all of Powerline’s supported applications.
  • Fast and lightweight, with daemon support for even better performance. Although the code base spans a couple of thousand lines of code with no goal of “less than X lines of code”, the main focus is on good performance and as little code as possible while still providing a rich set of features. The new daemon also ensures that only one Python instance is launched for prompts and statuslines, which provides excellent performance.

But I hate Python / I don’t need shell prompts / this is just too much hassle for me / what happened to the original vim-powerline project / …

You should check out some of the Powerline derivatives. The most lightweight and feature-rich alternative is currently the vim-airline project.


Basic powerline configuration is done via JSON files located at .config/powerline/. It is a good idea to start by copying the default configuration located at powerline_root/powerline/config_files/ to .config/powerline/. If you installed the powerline from the AUR or via pip, powerline_root should be /usr/lib/python3.6/site-packages/ or something similar, depending on your python version.

If you installed powerline via apt-get 'powerline_root' should be '/usr/share/powerline/'.

This should yield you the following directory structure:

├── colorschemes
│   ├── ...
│   └── wm
|       └── default.json  // Your configuration goes here
├── colors.json
├── config.json
└── themes
    ├── ...
    └── wm
        └── default.json  // Your configuration goes here

The files in the subdirectories of themes are used to specify which segments shall be shown; the files in subdirectories of colorschemes are used to specify which colors (as defined in colors.json) shall be used to display a segment.

Note that your local configuration only overrides the global configuration, it does not replace it, i.e. if you don't configure something locally, the global default will be used instead.


Vim statusline

Mode-dependent highlighting

  • Normal mode
  • Insert mode
  • Visual mode
  • Replace mode

Automatic truncation of segments in small windows

  • Truncation illustration
  • Truncation illustration
  • Truncation illustration

The font in the screenshots is Pragmata Pro by Fabrizio Schiavi.