So, in all command lines I've ever seen, there's a little info-thingy at the start of the line before the cursor.

CMD just shows your current working directory:


PowerShell does the same and also reminds you that you're using PowerShell:


Bash on Ubuntu also displays your hostname and username so you don't get confused with SSH:

Bash on Ubuntu

And ZSH can go even further with info about source control, return code, time and whatever you want really.

enter image description here

But what is it called?

In the sentence, "I have to print a newline at the end of this script so the info-thingy is displayed properly.", what would be the correct term for info-thingy?

  • It is just different presentations for different operating systems and tools. They are not supposed to be the same. Make sure in Windows that you need Powershell. Useful as it is, I changed the Windows 10 Default to the more basic Command Processor which is better for small tasks. – John Mar 19 at 13:43
  • I guess it's called a form of 'notation' – spikey_richie Mar 19 at 13:48
  • @John I understand that they're supposed to be different, my question is what they are called. What is the correct term to refer to this thing? – iFreilicht Mar 19 at 14:01
  • It is normally just called "Greater than" symbol and has been used by convention by Microsoft since day 1 (DOS) – John Mar 19 at 14:07
  • @John dear god. – iFreilicht Mar 19 at 15:41

It's called "prompt". Yeah, that's all.

For example, many people like to customize them:

How to change the prompt in Linux?

PowerShell: How to customize prompt?

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