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Is there a way to present the GNU Screen session name and window title in the prompt of the shell (let us say, the Bash prompt defined by PS1)?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Screen supplies some environment variables (from screen(1) manpage):

STY              Alternate socket name.
WINDOW           Window number of a window (at creation time).

The "at creation time" means that if you renumber a window (using screen's number command), the shell will not be told about the change and $WINDOW will still be the same as the first window number.

You could use something like:

PS1='\u@\h(${STY}:${WINDOW}):\w$ '
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Perfect! This is what I was looking for. BTW, there is a way to get the window title, instead of the window number? – brandizzi Sep 19 '11 at 1:13
Not that I know of, there is no api for screen, and when you issue commands there is no output - it goes to the current window in the screen. For example screen -xr 2466 -X windows. – Arcege Sep 19 '11 at 1:26
Although it probably falls under the renumbering case, is there a way to access the window's name if it's set with Ctrl-a A ? – Thalis K. Jul 5 '15 at 12:44
If GNU screen has been compiled with the -Q (query) option, then you can run some commands, such as title and windows and have the data display to stdout, however, without a trailing newline. – Arcege Jul 6 '15 at 17:38

I use this:

(`echo ${STY} | sed -e 's/[0-9]*\.//g'`:${WINDOW}:`screen -Q title`)

removes the process number from ${STY}
includes the window number (as mentioned "at creation time")
includes the window title (as returned from screen -Q title)


  • first time it runs, screen -Q waits for a return keystroke
  • i set the window title with C-a C-A and then source my .profile to update the prompt
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