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Andrew Prokhorenkov edited this page Nov 8, 2018 · 12 revisions

oh-my-zsh is fully configurable to your needs with the help of the $ZSH_CUSTOM variable, whether you want to change its internals, plugins or the rich theme set – and all that without forking!

Initially $ZSH_CUSTOM points to oh-my-zsh's custom directory. Whatever you place inside of it will take precedence over the built-in configuration.

Overriding and adding plugins

Adding a new plugin

Let's say you created your own plugin foobar and want to add it to your configuration.

plugins=(git bundler foobar)

Then, create a foobar directory inside the plugins folder and an initialization script to launch your plugin. This script has to follow a naming convention, as all plugin files must have an ending of .plugin.zsh. Your file tree should look like this:

└── plugins
    └── foobar
        └── foobar.plugin.zsh

Overriding an existing plugin

Also follow these steps if you want to override plugins that ship with your oh-my-zsh installation. To override a plugin with a custom version, put your custom version at $ZSH_CUSTOM/plugins/<plugin_name>/. For example, if it's the rvm plugin you want to override, create the directory custom/plugins/rvm and place a file called rvm.plugin.zsh inside of it.

This method will override the entire plugin: your custom plugin files will be loaded instead of any of the files from the original plugin.

Partially overriding an existing plugin

To partially customize a plugin by redefining individual functions or variables from it, use a "patch" plugin. Create a custom "patch" plugin with a different name that has definitions for just the items you wish to override, and load that after the base plugin by putting your patch plugin in $plugins after the base plugin it customizes. (This is necessary because user custom files are loaded before any plugins are loaded.) Make sure it doesn't have the same name as any other base plugin, either.

This may or may not work, depending on how the plugin is written: your redefinitions only take effect after the plugin has been loaded by source-ing its definition file. If any of the things you redefine are called or referenced during the plugin's initialization, they will not see your redefinitions.

You can combine customizations to multiple plugins in a single custom patch plugin that is loaded after all of the plugins you're customizing, as long as none of the plugins have load-time dependencies on definitions that you're modifying from earlier-loaded plugins.

Overriding and adding themes

Adding and customizing your own themes pretty much works the same as with plugins.

Themes are located in a themes folder and must end with .zsh-theme. The basename of the file is the name of the theme.

└── themes
    └── my_awesome_theme.zsh-theme

Then edit your .zshrc to use that theme.


Remember that customizations always take precedence over built-ins. If you happen to enjoy a particular theme that comes packaged with oh-my-zsh, but would like to change just a little detail inside of it – let's say you love the agnoster theme, it will be the easiest to copy the agnoster.zsh-theme file to your custom/themes directory and customize it.

If you don't change its filename, your .zshrc file can stay the same: ZSH_THEME="agnoster" will be perfect and still take your changes into account. You might also want to consider this before filing a new issue or pull request that just changes a trivial detail inside of a built-in theme.

Note: Using a random theme with $ZSH_THEME="random" will not look into your custom themes directory. Only built-in themes will be used. (Until PR #3743 is merged, which makes random include custom themes.)

Overriding internals

oh-my-zsh's internals are defined in its lib directory. To change them, just create a file inside the custom directory (its name doesn't matter, as long as it has a .zsh ending) and start customizing whatever you want. Unsatisfied with the way git_prompt_info() works? Write your own implementation!

function git_prompt_info() {
  # prove that you can do better

Such customization files will be loaded the last, after the built-in lib/*.zsh internals and plugins.

You can also fully override an existing lib/*.zsh file by providing a $ZSH_CUSTOM/lib/<name>.zsh file of the same name. It will be loaded instead of the corresponding base lib file. Note that files in this directory that do not have a corresponding base lib file of the same name will be ignored.

Using another customization directory

If you don't want to use the built-in custom directory itself, just change the path of $ZSH_CUSTOM inside your .zshrc to a directory of your own liking. Everything will be fine as long as you adhere to the conventional file hierarchy.


File tree inside of your home directory:

└── my_customizations
    ├── my_lib_patches.zsh
    ├── plugins
    │   └── my_plugin
    │       └── my_plugin.plugin.zsh
    └── themes
        └── my_awesome_theme.zsh-theme

Version control of customizations

By default git is set to ignore the custom directory, so that oh-my-zsh's update process does not interfere with your customizations. If you want to use a version control system like git for your personal changes, just initialize your own repository inside the custom directory (git init), or point $ZSH_CUSTOM to another directory you have under version control.

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