How to make my bash prompt display something at the end of the line (with the cursor positioned as usual at the beginning of the same line)? Specifically I want to display an abbreviated single character prompt such as $ or > after which I can type my command. But I want to be able to see the current working directory at the end of the line, where it is not "in my face".

I don't care what happens when I type a really long command. It can overwrite the current working directory or whatever else my prompt displays there.

Alternately I don't mind if the prompt causes the current working directory to show at the top right or top left, or bottom right/left of the screen. I just don't want it in my face at all times but I want it to be visible.


I was able to set PS1 to something that prints the current path at the end of the prompt line:

PS1='\[$(for ((i=1; i < COLUMNS - ${#PWD} - 3; ++i)) ; do printf " " ; done ; printf "$PWD")\]'

But it has several problems I wasn't able to solve:

  1. The path disappears when you press Backspace
  2. Despite the fact the whole expression is enclosed in zero-width marker \[...\], once you print also the $ or >, the cursor moves to the far right.

I've seen people using PROMPT_COMMAND=pwd instead to show the path, but it reduces the number of lines containing your commands in the terminal.

Another option is to configure your terminal or screen/tmux to display the path somewhere. For example, the following works in xterm:

PS1='\[\e[m\e]0;\W\a\]$ '

The sequence \e[m\e]0;...\a sets the title of the window. In screen, it's "\033k\033\0134\033kTITLE\033\0134".

| improve this answer | |
  • genius! that's almost perfect for my usage (too bad about not being able to add a $ or >); i don't mind it disappearing with a backspace since it's optional information anyway. I will accept after a while just to let all answers come in. Thank you :-) – user2297550 Jul 1 '19 at 11:50

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