Add powerline support to your terminal

Add powerline support to your terminal
Photo by Lukas / Unsplash


Ever wanted to have an amazing looking terminal different than the usual. Well then this post is for you. I’ll be explaining one of the ways to customise your terminal and give it a different look and feel with Powerline

Powerline is a statusline plugin for vim, and provides statuslines and prompts for several other applications, including zsh, bash, tmux, IPython, Awesome, i3 and Qtile.

Using Powerline you can transform your simple terminal which looks like this.

simple terminal

Into a nice looking terminal with a fancy prompt like this

Fancy terminal

Instructions to install and configure powerline on your systems


Install Powerline

On Debian or Debian based distributions install the following packages.

[sudo] apt install powerline fonts-powerline

For Fedora and similar distributions install powerline by the following command.

[sudo] dnf install powerline powerline-fonts

on other linux distributions follow the procedures as per your package managers to install the above pacakges. The package names should be similar or they might be slightly modified.


Configure your .bashrc file

You need to configure your .bashrc file to start powerline whenever you start a new terminal to edit your .bashrc file.

nano ~/.bashrc

You can also use any other text editor of your choice. For shells other than bash, you need to edit there respective rc file’s.

Now you need to add the following text at the end of your .bashrc file

if [ -f `which powerline-daemon` ]; then
   powerline-daemon -q
   . /usr/share/powerline/bindings/bash/

Notice the path in the lines above of /usr/share/powerline. This path can vary between multiple operating systems. Confirm that the file exists at that path in your directory structure. If the path is a different change the path in the above lines accordingly.

now save and exit the file by pressing Ctrl + o and Ctrl + x


Make your changes to come to effect

Your edits to the .bashrc file are now done, now you need to bring the changes in your .bashrc file to effect.

to do that use the source command like this.

source ~/.bashrc

for shells other than bash, source there respective rc files.

Now you should see that you are getting a nice looking terminal for yourself to use.