I'd like the title of my terminal windows to show the last command that ran. It'd be handy for finding the terminal that's running Mongrel in Dev/Test/Prod etc (for testing rails apps).

I tried this code:

if [ "$SHELL" = '/bin/bash' ]
    case $TERM in
            set -o functrace
            trap 'echo -ne "\e]0;$BASH_COMMAND\007"' DEBUG
            #  export PS1="\e]0;$TERM\007$PS1"

At least, I think that's the code that I tried. It did work, but it caused some strange behavior, like window titles that would get stuck in a loop until I hit Ctrl C when changing directory to a symlink.

What's a reliable way to set my window title to the last command that was run?


You can also use the xtitle tool:

sudo apt-get install xtitle
lastcmd() { xtitle $(history 1 | cut -c8-); }

Using only standard commands

lastcmd() { LASTCMD=$(history 1 | cut -c8-); echo -ne "\e]2;$LASTCMD\a\e]1;$LASTCMD\a"; }

Test it

echo 'This echo command should be displayed on my window title'


To also display the time of the last command, set the environment variable HISTTIMEFORMAT:


See man date for a complete list of date/time formats.

To disable the timestamp prefix on window title:



A good place to put these two lines is in your ~/.bashrc

  • So I'd put this in my .bashrc, correct? – jcollum Jan 17 '12 at 17:14
  • Nope, I added that to my bashrc and started a new terminal and I got this at my prompt: ]0;echo -ne ""]2;reload]1;reload~> and my window title is cut -c8-. That's what it looks like when I start the terminal. Sorry, that didn't work. – jcollum Jan 17 '12 at 17:18
  • Correct: ~/.bashrc is a good place to put that. Hummm... this works fine for me on Lubuntu10.10/bash at home and on my PuTTY/bash at work. Please can you provide a portion of your ~/.bashrc and $PS1, $PS2, $PS3 and $PS4? (you can edit your question). Then, I can test on my computer. Cheers. – olibre Jan 17 '12 at 21:43
  • @jcollum I can test on my computer, but I need to be as close as possible to your environement. Therefore, please provide some info as your .bashrc and PSx variables. Cheers. – olibre Jan 18 '12 at 21:11
  • @olibre I have this working for local terminals, is there a way to use this with remote ssh connections too? While i am working on a remote dev server I often tail the error logs but there are several log files, I want to be able to see which file im tailing in the title bar. – Chris Nov 11 '17 at 15:34

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