Currently it is:


Outside of renaming my machine and directory structure...

How could I make it be something more like:


To change it for the current terminal instance only

Just enter PS1='\u:\W\$ ' and press enter.

To change it "permanently"

In your ~/.bashrc, find the following section:

if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;34m\]\w\[\033[00m\]\$ '
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u@\h:\w\$ '

Remove the @\h, and replace the \w with an uppercase \W, so that it becomes:

if [ "$color_prompt" = yes ]; then
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\[\033[01;32m\]\u\[\033[00m\]:\[\033[01;34m\]\W\[\033[00m\]\$ '
    PS1='${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot)}\u:\W\$ '

Save, exit, close terminal and start another to see the result.

Tons more options!

  • See here for a more extensive howto, with many more options
  • See this answer for using up a tiny Python script to set the prompt so that the shortening only occurs when you are deep in a directory structure.
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    You can also have a lot of information... and then a carriage return at the end as in unix.stackexchange.com/q/88780/10043 – Michael Durrant May 23 '14 at 22:18
  • Is there a way to make this global? In other words, if I sudo to another user, have this setting carry over, but only for myself (i.e., not for the user when they normally use their account)? – ctote May 14 '15 at 16:20
  • In order to have a shared .bashrc that works on both Linux and OSX I've since switched to unix.stackexchange.com/a/127800/10043 – Michael Durrant May 19 '15 at 12:40
  • i.e. HOST='\033[02;36m\]\h' HOST=' '$HOST parse_git_branch () { git branch 2> /dev/null | sed -e '/^[^*]/d' -e 's/* \(.*\)/\1/'; } TIME='\033[01;31m\]\t \033[01;32m\]' LOCATION=' \033[01;34m\]pwd | sed "s#(/[^/]\{1,\}/[^/]\{1,\}/[^/]\{1,\}/).*(/[^/]\{1,\}/[^/]\{1,\})/\{0,1\}#\1_\2#g"' BRANCH=' \033[00;33m\]$(parse_git_branch)\[\033[00m\]\n\$ ' PS1=$TIME$USER$HOST$LOCATION$BRANCH PS2='\[\033[01;36m\]>' – Michael Durrant May 19 '15 at 12:44
  • but see the answer for actual code to use. – Michael Durrant May 19 '15 at 12:44

Run this code in the current terminal


Now the bash prompt will show only the last 3 directory names. You can choose 1 to show only current directory. More information is available in the GNU documentation.

The effect:

/var/lib/apt/lists# PROMPT_DIRTRIM=3

If you want to make it permanently, add the following line to ~/.bashrc in the beginning:


or another number greater than zero.

| improve this answer | |
  • 7
    Just a sidenote: This requires Bash 4. – Stefan Lasiewski Jun 18 '14 at 0:12
  • Nice... I added a bach_alias for this (with a function) promptdir() { PROMPT_DIRTRIM=$1; } just to make live easier... – dgoosens Aug 17 '18 at 0:10
  • Is there way to trim intermediate directory only i.e. keep the first directory and last directory ? e.g. /var/.../lists# – Prashant Adlinge Aug 23 at 17:26

This is my preferred prompt setting:

added in ~/.bashrc

PS1='[\u@\h \W]\$ '    

it looks like this:

[user@hostname dirname]$

(with a space after the $ sign)

| improve this answer | |
  • How would I add a space between each word? Also, can I color it? – Daniel Springer May 6 '17 at 21:36

Personally I prefer to see only current folder in the bash prompt. I can do this with the following command:

PS1='\W\$ '

If you want it to take effect after each start then add the above command into your ~/.bashrc.

| improve this answer | |

I realize this is super old but since nobody suggested creating an alias I figured I'd post. Using Bash Prompt Escape Sequences I made an alias shorten

In ~/.bash_aliases here you will notice the $Blue var to set the prompt colour which you can omit or change based on preference I also clear the terminal when calling shorten.

alias c='clear'

alias shorten='PS1="$Blue$USER:\W$ "&& c'

To achieve the OP's desired prompt string:

alias shorten='PS1="$USER:\W$ "'

I have colours defined in ~/.bashrccopy and pasted from https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Color_Bash_Prompt. On a side note what's with ansi code colours? I'm confused just looking at it.

Blue='\e[0;34m'         # Blue
| improve this answer | |
  • A step by step guide for this would be so useful as I have no idea how to get to .bash_aliases. Thanks – Kayote Feb 2 '16 at 10:26
  • 2
    "." prefix indicates a hidden directory or file. The tilde "~" is short form of $HOME variable. So, "~/.bash_aliases" is just short form of "/home/$USER/.bash_aliases". To open ".bash_aliases" you can either open a terminal and type "gedit /home/$USER/.bash_aliases" or "gedit ~/.bash_aliases" or in your home directory type ctrl-h to show hidden files and open file directly. Hope that helps. You may want to do a Google search for useful aliases as well. – Allie Carver Feb 3 '16 at 17:46

I wrote a function you can modify to suit your needs:

function termprompt() {
    PS1="${PS1//@\\h/}"     # Remove @host
    PS1="${PS1//\\w/\\W}"   # Change from full directory to last name

Place this function at or near the bottom of ~/.bashrc after the PS1 line has been fully computed.

You would type termprompt whenever you wanted to shorten your prompt or, have termprompt called from the bottom of your ~/.bashrc for permanency.

The advantage of this technique over many other answers is .bashrc can setup PS1 in four different ways (xterm+no-color, xterm+color, no-xterm+no-color, no-xterm+color). This answer supports all four current methods and probably future methods too.

Another advantage is this method has less complex control codes to traverse over in order to insert your changes.

| improve this answer | |

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