2.5. Bash Prompt Escape Sequences

There are a lot of escape sequences offered by the Bash shell for insertion in the prompt. From the Bash 3.2 man page:

       When  executing  interactively,  bash displays the primary prompt PS1 
       when it is ready to read a command, and the secondary prompt PS2 when 
       it needs  more  input to  complete  a  command.   Bash allows these 
       prompt strings to be customized by inserting a number of 
       backslash-escaped special characters that are  decoded  as follows:
              \a     an ASCII bell character (07)
              \d     the date in "Weekday Month Date" format (e.g., "Tue May 
                     the  format  is  passed  to strftime(3) and the result 
                     is inserted into the prompt string; an empty format 
                     results in  a  locale-specific time representation.  
                     The braces are required
              \e     an ASCII escape character (033)
              \h     the hostname up to the first `.'
              \H     the hostname
              \j     the number of jobs currently managed by the shell
              \l     the basename of the shell's terminal device name
              \n     newline
              \r     carriage return
              \s     the  name  of the shell, the basename of $0 (the portion 
                     following the final slash)
              \t     the current time in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format
              \T     the current time in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format
              \@     the current time in 12-hour am/pm format
              \A     the current time in 24-hour HH:MM format
              \u     the username of the current user
              \v     the version of bash (e.g., 2.00)
              \V     the release of bash, version + patch level (e.g., 2.00.0)
              \w     the current working directory, with $HOME abbreviated 
                     with a tilde
              \W     the basename of the current working directory, with $HOME 
                     abbreviated with a tilde
              \!     the history number of this command
              \#     the command number of this command
              \$     if the effective UID is 0, a #, otherwise a $
              \nnn   the character corresponding to the octal number nnn
              \\     a backslash
              \[     begin a sequence of non-printing characters, which could  
                     be used to embed a terminal control sequence into the 
              \]     end a sequence of non-printing characters

For long-time users, note the new \D sequence: this is relatively recent.

Continuing where we left off:

[giles@nikola giles]$ PS1="\u@\h \W> "
giles@nikola giles> ls
bin   mail
giles@nikola giles>

This is similar to the default on most Linux distributions. I wanted a slightly different appearance, so I changed this to:

giles@nikola giles> PS1="[\t][\u@\h:\w]\$ "
[21:52:01][giles@nikola:~]$ ls
bin   mail