I'd like to know how to set in .bashrc file to print the last login time of users when logging into another user in terminal. I do know that with who or last, but I'd like something a little more customizable that can be formatted and only runs once per login, preferably to show in a format like so;

last login time [ 2015-02-13 @ 3:50:00 AM ]
user@host /path/dir/here $

that gets printed to the terminal screen before the bash prompt, and if possible to set and format color on the time and date stamp. How can I achieve this to customizing the bash prompt output?

2 Answers 2


(Just as a guideline, the format is not exactly the same):

ll=$(last -1 -R  $USER | head -1 | cut -c 20-)
export PS1="last login time [$ll]"'\n\h:\W\$ '

Edit: if you want last information to be printed only once (wise idea)

ll=$(last -1 -R  $USER | head -1 | cut -c 20-)
echo "last login time [$ll]"    # adjust to your login messages, fortunes, etc
export PS1='\n\h:\W\$ '         # replace by your favorite prompt
  • This works okay… but this doesn't just print that one time after logging in via terminal, it appears after each command is finished. Perhaps there is a way to improve on this answer so it only runs once after logging in.
    – user91679
    Feb 13, 2015 at 8:44
  • There is always space for improvement, that is the goal of SO! (edited)
    – JJoao
    Feb 13, 2015 at 9:16

Try putting the following line into your /etc/profile file ...

echo "your last login:  `last -1 -R $USER` "

This will limit the results to 1 line and report the user's last login, during the login process. Afterwards it will not re-occur until the next login.

  • I'd recommend the user's personal ~/.bashrc file over the system-wide one, in case other users are not interested in such output. Otherwise, this seems to use the code from JJoao's answer and so should be credited there.
    – Jeff Schaller
    Nov 29, 2018 at 19:29
  • I'm not so interested in who gets the credit but in helping out. Thanks for pointing that out though. Dec 5, 2018 at 17:37

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