How To Get Prompt In Linux

For users new to Linux, the command-line interface can seem daunting. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll find it is a powerful tool that offers speed, flexibility, and control. One key feature of the command-line interface is the prompt. The prompt is a character or sequence of characters at the beginning of the command line that indicates that the shell is ready to accept commands.

The Basics of the Linux Prompt

When you first log into a Linux system, the prompt you’ll see will often look something like this:

[username@hostname directory]$

It shows the username, hostname, and current directory, followed by a dollar sign. The dollar sign indicates that the prompt is waiting for commands from a regular user. If the last character is a pound sign (#), it means the prompt is waiting for commands from the root (administrator) user.

Customizing the Linux Prompt

The good news is that the Linux prompt is highly customizable. You can change its color, add timestamps, display the full directory path, and more. Here’s how to do it:

To change the prompt, you need to modify the value of the PS1 environment variable. For example, to change the prompt to simply display the current directory, you can use the PWD (Present Working Directory) variable like this:

PS1=”\w $ ”

To make the change permanent, you have to add this line to a startup file like .bashrc in your home directory:

echo ‘PS1=”\w $ “‘ >> ~/.bashrc


Mastering the Linux prompt is the first step towards becoming a Linux power user. It gives you an understanding of how the system works and how you can manipulate it to suit your needs. Remember, the only limit to what you can do with the Linux prompt (and the command-line interface in general) is your imagination!