Append a newline to your shell prompt

The default shell prompt (for Ubuntu 20) looks like this:

username@hostname:/path/to/cwd$ █

The format of the prompt is defined in .bashrc, as the PS1 variable:


If you add a newline around the end of the PS1 defintion, your shell will start looking like this (after re-running bash):

$ █

Why do this?

  1. More screen width for a one-liner. You can write longer commands before you get disrupted by line-wrapping. Especially useful if you’re using Termux.
  2. Easier to read the prompt. Your eyes naturally capture text above&below the line you’re working on, so you get to see more without shifting attention.
  3. It’s an extremely simple thing to do. It’s cumbersome and potentially disruptive to install $your_favourite_shell_theme every time you touch a remote machine, whereas adding \n to .bashrc takes about ten seconds in a text editor.