I have a custom PS1 colour where I have the actual shell commands in a distinct colour, just so I can quickly see what commands I typed and separate it from the command output itself.

Suppose the colour in PS1 is set to 'blue' for command prompt and the default colour in my shell is white.

  • I type a command e.g. ls, (ls -l is coloured blue)
  • The output it generates, first line is still blue
  • All remaining line comes as white

What I want is all the output after the command to be 'white'.

Another example:

  • I type a command 'cat ', colour is blue
  • The output comes, the whole output is blue

I would like the output to be 'white' while keeping the command prompt I typed 'blue'

On some commands, it is fine, other commands, the same colour overflows into the first line of the output and then the default colour kicks in and some other commands, the whole output (e.g. cat) has the same colour.

Is there a way to keep just the commands I typed in one colour and the rest to the default?

I'm on OSX.


Here's a screenshot that @derobert's linked to in the comments that shows what I'm looking for.


  • 2
    You need to show us your prompt so we can pinpoint the errors. Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


You're basically wanting to reset the terminal color right before bash executes the command. This can be done with a trap.

For example:

trap '[[ -t 1 ]] && tput sgr0' DEBUG

Bash executes the DEBUG trap immediately before the command, so this will result in tput sgr0 (which resets formatting attributes) being run before each command.

The [[ -t 1 ]] is a safety check to make sure that STDOUT is actually a terminal. There might be some cases where bash's STDOUT isn't connected to a terminal (piping, remote ssh, etc), and so you don't want tput to send terminal escape codes.

  • Where do you put this? Let's say PS1 doesn't set back the color. Now how do you add this line to execute this command right after the user put in his command and pressed enter?
    – polym
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:55
  • 1
    @polym in your .bashrc (or wherever $PS1 is set). I'd put it right next to the $PS1 definition so you know they're related.
    – phemmer
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:55
  • ok wow that works. Any possibility that this can go wrong?
    – polym
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 15:57
  • @polym not any more
    – phemmer
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 16:05
  • brilliant, that's exactly what i needed to reset the terminal colour.
    – iQ.
    Commented Jul 23, 2014 at 16:29

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