Garrett Zsh Theme for Prezto

A prompt with the information you need the moment you need it.

NEW: It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally added gifs so you can see what the fuss is all about!

I designed my prompt for readability and to present useful information when it is needed and to hide it otherwise.

The Garrett prompt supports line drawing, git information, ssh status, directory truncation, vi-editor info, the full range of prompt types (PS1-PS4, Autocorrection, and a backup SUDO_PS1), notification of background jobs, non-zero return codes, and job completion, the current shell level and ruby version, history line number, and the current time.

Prompt types

Standard Prompt (PS1)

Many (most?) prompts put the directory information in front of the cursor entry point. Changing directories changes the location of the cursor on the screen. This inconsistent location is undesirable. The Garrett prompt cursor is consistently at the same place on the screen.

By using line drawing and inserting a newline between each command, scrolling back through your history for the output of a previous command becomes drastically easier.

Terminal supports line drawing and the prompt will look it’s best there.

terminal prompt

The Garrett prompt does have a fallback if line drawing is unsupported by your terminal emulator. The following gif was taken in iTerm2, which doesn’t seem to support line drawing. If you know how to get this to work, please open an issue.

iterm prompt

The terminal theme shown here is Solarized Dark and the font is Pragmata Pro (affiliate link).

Right Prompt (RPROMPT)

The right prompt is contains useful information but will be removed when long commands are typed.

rprompt removal

Continuation prompt (PS2)

continuation prompt

Selection prompt (PS3)

Note that his view contains both the selection and continuation prompts. The selection prompt is shown when entering 1, 2, or 3.

selection prompt

Execution trace prompt (PS4)

execution trace prompt

Autocorrection prompt

autocorrection prompt

Backup root prompt

There is a backup root prompt that will highlight most of the terminal in red if you switch to the sudo user inside another shell which hasn’t set this prompt. It’s a simple safety measure.


This prompt has the following features. These features may be disabled and rearranged as desired by using the corresponding tokens. There are also minor changes that can (easily) be made in terms of formatting the output of the prompt by editing the prompt file itself but that’s up to you.

Change host color when on ssh

You can display either the full or truncated hostname on ssh by editing the prompt file. The default is to display the truncated hostname.

Note that all of the prompt goes from gray to orange—when making the gif, some of the color was lost.

color change when on ssh

Change prompt color when UID is root

As a safety feature, the prompt will change color when logged in as the root user. This looks the same as host color change on ssh but with a red color instead of orange.

ls the directory contents on cd

ls the directory contents on cd

Determine the number of background jobs

number of background jobs

Present working directory truncation, if needed

Directory truncation will slim down the $PWD to the first letter of each child directory; it can be turned off by editing the prompt file.


Report non-zero return codes

exit code status

Report local time

You can change to time format from within the prompt file. Available options:

  • 24 hour time format (default)
  • 24 hour time format, second precise
  • AM/PM time format

Report the terminal line number

Useful for bang history completion and hipster pride.

Report git status, git remote status, git prompt info and git SHA information

9769ee9commit hash

git status line

Report the currently used ruby version

If you use the default Prezto, the prompt will also show the system’s ruby. If you don’t want to see that information, have a look at my fork of Prezto.

ruby version

Indicate vi-mode

Normal mode:

vim normal mode

Overwrite mode:

vim overwrite mode

If you like, you can add notification of insert mode by editing the prompt.

Notifications for commands taking longer than n seconds

shell notifications

Shell-level notification

shell level

Like it?

If you’ve found this project useful, would you consider sending your support?