Add Separator & Time Stamp Between Terminal Commands to Increase Readability

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If you want to tweak the look of the Terminals a little beyond the prompt and have a custom background, you can make the Terminal much more readable by using this nice trick to add a separator and timestamp between each executed command. This also makes the current command text bold and everything available from the completion of the tab.

For this to work, you just need to paste a script into your .bash_profile. Here is how to do this, including how to back upup of your existing bash profile in case you mess something up up:

(If you are having trouble viewing the embedded code, you can check the standard version here or choose the excellent Vulcan Spock Salute version here) The embedded code below is the standard version:

  • Now press Control + O to save the changes and then press Control + X to exit nano
  • Open a new Terminal window and start entering commands to see the separator

Remember if you want to roll this back you can remove the code from bash_profile or just go back and replace it with your backupup up copy, named .bash_profile-backup and located in your home directory.

This is what the revised Paul Prompt with Vulcan Emoji looks like, you can find this on Github:

Vulcan prompt and a dividing line between commands in OS X Terminal

And here’s the original version covered by AJ, with a simple dividing line but no color output and no Emoji prompt:

Custom Terminal separator and timestamp for Bash

Choose whatever you want.

This is a neat way to tweak the command line a bit and make it easier to read, but it’s nowhere near as dramatic as TermKit or some of the other crazier options out there.

As long as you’re using bash, you should be able to do the same with other variations of unix. This is a cool little one trick that Lifehacker has been changed from Emilis Dambauskas, you can get a different variant for Linux on each of those sites if for some reason it doesn’t work for you. Thanks to Marcus for sending this to us.

(Updated by Paul on 4/20/2020 with colorized ls, Spock LLAP emoji prompt and minor changes to the general user interface – LLAP prompt requires a modern version of OS X)

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