Browsing the last command's results in Bash is a bit hard because the command prompt and results are the same color. This makes it hard to separate the results of consecutive commands.

How do I change the color to pink for example?

  • 1
    You'll want to add color to the PS1 variable.
    – Rob
    May 8 '12 at 17:34
  • Yes, my current PS1 is PS1='\u:\w\$ ' which I do not know what does mean. How should I change it to colorize command prompt to pink with out loosing current settings? May 8 '12 at 17:40

@Rob is right; specifically, to change to light red (pink is not an available color):

PS1 = "\[\033[1;31m\]\u:\w\$\[\033[0m\] "
#      ^^^^^^^     ^^                    Begin/end ANSI escape
#             ^^^^^                      "light red foreground"
#                    ^^^^^^^             Your original prompt
#                           ^^^^^^^^^^^  Reset color back to default foreground

You need to use ANSI escape sequences (in this case 1;31m, the code for "light red foreground") which are enclosed by \[\033[ and \].

Edit: Light purple may be closer to your desired color; the PS1 change is left as an exercise for the reader.

reference @ the linux documentation project

  • 1
    I'm not great with ansi codes, so I left the answer to someone else.
    – Rob
    May 8 '12 at 21:53
  • ANSI escape sequences begin with \033 and go up to (including) m. The surrounding \[ and \] are bash-specific and are required so that bash can keep track of where the cursor is (it expects anything inside these markers not to advance the cursor).
    – egmont
    Apr 25 '15 at 22:45

If you would like an alternate solution you can create a small script for setting the terminal session PS1 colors without making them permanent (unless you wish for permanent colors follow Alex's solution).

If we create yellow.sh and save to /usr/bin directory, and then make the file executable with chmod +x yellow.sh we can then edit the yellow.sh and add the following code:


# Yellow color variable

echo -e "${ylw}"

Running this script will then change your terminal color to yellow. You can reset your PS1 color in the same way using this code:


# Reset color to default

echo -e "${rst}"

Here is a quick list of some color-code variables you can use.

black=$'\x1b[90m' # Dark gray. Not used much.
default=$'\x1b[0m' # Reset to default color.

Usage for common commands inside simple scripts:

echo -e "${red} $(ls $1) ${default}" # Argument would be the directory you want to list.

This can be done rather quickly depending on how you setup your colors to be used. The color codes I have provided are not all. Depending on what colors your terminal supports, you could use a range of 256 colors.

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