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Tune-up your terminal

iax profile image Isaías Piña Updated on ・4 min read

You spend in your terminal fair amount of time (others live on it). How about customize it to make your terminal more fun, or at least better looking?
I'll show you how I do it. I will use Fedora Linux for this example, but you can use any distribution or MacOS.

Getting started

Install ZSH to replace Bash. In Fedora this can be achieved easily using dnf:

sudo dnf install -y zsh # Install
chsh -s $(which zsh)    # set as default
zsh                     # start zsh
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install oh-my-shell plugin framework:

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
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You should be in this state:
oh-my-zsh

Customizing

Powerlevel10k

git clone --depth=1 https://github.com/romkatv/powerlevel10k.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-$HOME/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k
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You then need to select this theme in your ~/.zshrc:

ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k"
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Install nerd fonts to have special glyphs in your shell:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/fonts
cd ~/.local/share/fonts
curl -fLo "Droid Sans Mono for Powerline Nerd Font Complete.otf" https://github.com/ryanoasis/nerd-fonts/raw/master/patched-fonts/DroidSansMono/complete/Droid%20Sans%20Mono%20Nerd%20Font%20Complete.otf
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Your shell should now look like this:
PowerLevel9k

I have additional settings in my Powerlevel9k configuration. I paste it here in case you like or you want to use it as a starting point.

# Prompt elements
POWERLEVEL9K_LEFT_PROMPT_ELEMENTS=(os_icon dir dir_writable vcs)
POWERLEVEL9K_RIGHT_PROMPT_ELEMENTS=(status command_execution_time background_jobs nvm rvm pyenv time)
## OS Icon
POWERLEVEL9K_OS_ICON_BACKGROUND="white"
POWERLEVEL9K_OS_ICON_FOREGROUND="blue"
## VCS
POWERLEVEL9K_VCS_CLEAN_FOREGROUND='black'
POWERLEVEL9K_VCS_CLEAN_BACKGROUND='119'
POWERLEVEL9K_VCS_UNTRACKED_FOREGROUND='black'
POWERLEVEL9K_VCS_UNTRACKED_BACKGROUND='202'
POWERLEVEL9K_VCS_MODIFIED_FOREGROUND='black'
POWERLEVEL9K_VCS_MODIFIED_BACKGROUND='214'

## Langs
POWERLEVEL9K_PYENV_FOREGROUND="blue"
POWERLEVEL9K_PYENV_BACKGROUND="black"
POWERLEVEL9K_RVM_FOREGROUND="red"
POWERLEVEL9K_RVM_BACKGROUND="black"
POWERLEVEL9K_NVM_FOREGROUND="green"
POWERLEVEL9K_NVM_BACKGROUND="black"
  # Use to visualize: get_icon_names
POWERLEVEL9K_PYTHON_ICON="\uf81f"
POWERLEVEL9K_RUBY_ICON="\uE791"
POWERLEVEL9K_NODE_ICON="\uE781"

# RIGHT
POWERLEVEL9K_STATUS_OK_BACKGROUND="clear"
POWERLEVEL9K_STATUS_OK_FOREGROUND="green"
POWERLEVEL9K_STATUS_ERROR_BACKGROUND="clear"
POWERLEVEL9K_STATUS_ERROR_FOREGROUND="red"

POWERLEVEL9K_COMMAND_EXECUTION_TIME_BACKGROUND="grey"
POWERLEVEL9K_COMMAND_EXECUTION_TIME_FOREGROUND="white"
POWERLEVEL9K_COMMAND_EXECUTION_TIME_THRESHOLD=0

POWERLEVEL9K_BACKGROUND_JOBS_VERBOSE=true
POWERLEVEL9K_BACKGROUND_JOBS_FOREGROUND='black'
POWERLEVEL9K_BACKGROUND_JOBS_BACKGROUND='178'

POWERLEVEL9K_TIME_FOREGROUND="250"
POWERLEVEL9K_TIME_BACKGROUND="grey"
POWERLEVEL9K_TIME_ICON="\uf073"
POWERLEVEL9K_TIME_FORMAT="%D{%L:%M:%S \uf017  %d.%m.%y}"

# Dir
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_PATH_HIGHLIGHT_BOLD=true
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_PATH_SEPARATOR_FOREGROUND="white"
POWERLEVEL9K_SHORTEN_STRATEGY="truncate_middle"
POWERLEVEL9K_SHORTEN_DIR_LENGTH=3
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_HOME_FOREGROUND="white"
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_HOME_SUBFOLDER_FOREGROUND="white"
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_DEFAULT_FOREGROUND="white"
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_ETC_BACKGROUND="52"
POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_ETC_FOREGROUND="white"

POWERLEVEL9K_DIR_WRITABLE_FORBIDDEN_FOREGROUND="11"
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Now it should look like this:
My customizations

We are almost done, we need to customize it further with plugins.

Plugins

You need to add the plugin name to the variable plugins in your ~/.zshrc file. Then restart the shell. Also, you can reload it with source ~/.zshrc.

Colored Man Pages

Install

Just add colored-man-pages to your plugins variable list.

colored-man-pages

zsh-syntax-highlighting

zsh-syntax-highlighting

Install

git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/plugins/zsh-syntax-highlighting
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and add zsh-syntax-highlighting to your plugins variable list

Configure

ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_HIGHLIGHTERS=(main brackets pattern)
# override main colors:
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[default]='none'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[unknown-token]='fg=red,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[reserved-word]='fg=blue,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[assign]='fg=yellow,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[alias]='fg=26'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[function]='fg=magenta,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[builtin]='fg=26'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[command]='fg=26'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[hashed-command]='fg=red,bold,standout'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[commandseparator]='fg=190'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[path]='fg=white,underline'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[path_prefix]='fg=white,underline'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[path_approx]='fg=green,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[globbing]='fg=yellow,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[history-expansion]='fg=yellow'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[single-hyphen-option]='fg=39'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[double-hyphen-option]='fg=39'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[dollar-double-quoted-argument]='fg=cyan'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[back-double-quoted-argument]='fg=blue'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[single-quoted-argument]='fg=172'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[double-quoted-argument]='fg=178'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[rc-quote]='fg=177'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[redirection]='fg=190'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[arg0]='fg=45'

# override bracket colors:
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-error]='fg=red,bold'
# uniform / less distracting:
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-level-1]='fg=magenta,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-level-2]='fg=magenta'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-level-3]='fg=magenta,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-level-4]='fg=magenta'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-level-5]='fg=magenta,bold'
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_STYLES[bracket-level-6]='fg=magenta'

# override pattern colors:
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_PATTERNS+=('rm -[f,r] *' 'fg=red,bold,standout')
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_PATTERNS+=('rm -[f,r][f,r] *' 'fg=red,bold,standout')
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_PATTERNS+=('sudo dd *' 'fg=magenta,bold,standout')
ZSH_HIGHLIGHT_PATTERNS+=('sudo shred *' 'fg=magenta,bold,standout')
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Zsh AutoSuggestions

zsh-autosuggestions

Install

git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions ~/.oh-my-zsh/custom/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions
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add zsh-autosuggestions to your plugins variable list

history-substring-search

history-substring-search

When you type a command (curl in this example) and press up arrow you get a search in your history and get the complete command. The search string is highlighted in green.

Install

Just add history-substring-search to your plugins variable list.

Configure

# history-substring-search
HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_HIGHLIGHT_FOUND='bg=green,fg=white,bold'
HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_HIGHLIGHT_NOT_FOUND='bg=red,fg=white,bold'
HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_GLOBBING_FLAGS='i'
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Conclusion

We have completely tuned our shell. These modifications can improve your productivity and make your terminal more pleasant to work with. From here you can customize it to make it your own and suit it to your specific needs.

Discussion (6)

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kildegaard profile image
Gustavo Kildegaard

Hi, thanks a lot for this terminal tunning. I'm having a bit of a problem right after the lines:
Your shell should now look like this:
You get a nice angled color shape but what I get is messed up symbols and no cool blue shape like you get. Any ideas? Thanks a lot in advance!

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kildegaard profile image
Gustavo Kildegaard

SELF-ANSWER
I got it to work by entering my terminal settings and using the installed font in this tutorial :)
Thanks a lot, I leave this here for the next newbie!

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waylonwalker profile image
Waylon Walker

Great start. I really like auto suggestions and history substring search. You should also check out z and fzf for general productivity gains at the terminal.

rupa/z

junegunn/fzf

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nicolaerario profile image
Nicola Erario

Can I suggest powerlevel10k?

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elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks

Just turn it up to 11 already ;)

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