I use GNU screen a lot with zsh as my shell. It would be a nice feature (I think) to be able to display the current directory name (not the full path) as the tab title. I can do that with CTRL+A SHIFT+A but that is manual. I would like it to change whenever I change directory.

Does anyone know of a way to do this?

Edit: The answer also feature the solution for bash.

2 Answers 2


Put this in your ~/.screenrc

caption always "%m/%d/%y %0c%{=b kg}  %l  %{=r gk}%-w%{=b wb}%50>%n%f* %t%{-}%+Lw%<%{- Wk}"

caption always "%m/%d/%y %0c%{=b kg}  %l  %{=r gk}%-w%{=b wb}%50>%n%f* %t%{-}%+Lw%<%{- Wk}"

# caption description:
# caption always "%?%F%{-b bc}%:%{-b bb}%?%C|%D|%M %d|%H%?%F%{+u wb}%? %L=%-Lw%45>%{+b by}%n%f* %t%{-}%+Lw%-0<"
# Anything I don't describe is treated literally.
# %?          - Start of a conditional statement.
#  %F         - Use this part of the statement if the window has focus (i.e. it
#               is the only window or the currently active one).
#  %{-b bc}   - Turn off bold, blue foreground, cyan background.
# %:          - else
#  %{-b bb}   - Turn off bold, blue foreground, blue background (this obscures
#               the text on non-focused windows and just gives a blue line).
# %?          - End conditional statement.
#  %C         - time (hh:mm, leading space) in 12 hour format
#  %D         - Three-letter day-of-week appreviation
#  %M         - Three-letter month appreviation
#  %d         - Day of the month
#  %H         - hostname
#  %?         - Start of conditional statement.
#   %F        - Use this part of the statement if the window has focus.
#   %{+u wb}  - underlined, white foreground, blue background
#  %?         - End conditional (if not focused, text remaind blue on blue).
#    %L=      - truncation/padding point.  With the 'L' qualifier, basically
#               just acts as a reference point.  Further truncation/padding is
#               done relative to here, not the beginning of the string
#    %-Lw     - window list up to but not including the current window (-),
#               show window flags (L)
#    %45>     - truncation/padding marker; place this point about 45% of the

#               way into the display area (45)
#    %{+b by} - add bold (still underlined from before), blue foreground,
#               yellow background
#      %n     - number of the current window
#      %f     - flags for current window
#      %t     - title of current window
#    %{-}     - undo last color change (so now we're back to underlined white
#               on blue)  (technically, this is a pop; a second invocation
#               would drop things back to unadorned blue on cyan)
#    %+Lw     - window list from the next window on (-), show window flags (L)
#    %-0<     - truncation/padding point.  Place this point zero spaces (0)
#               from the right margin (-).

Or you can simply put this as your shell title, if you just need the title of the window to be displayed as current working directory.

This goes into your ~/.bashrc:

PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033k\033\0134\033k${HOSTNAME}[`basename ${PWD}`]\033\0134"'`

This goes into your ~/.screenrc: shelltitle '] | bash'

  • ... And with zsh? ^_~ Commented Jan 6, 2012 at 10:56
  • 2
    0 in front of 134 works for me in bash; PROMPT_COMMAND='echo -ne "\033k\033\0134\033k${HOSTNAME}[`basename ${PWD}`]\$\033\0134"'
    – mpapec
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 10:25

For zsh:

Put this in your ~/.zsh

[centos@centos ~]$ cat .zsh
if [[ ${TERM} == "screen-bce" || ${TERM} == "screen" ]]; then
  precmd () { print -Pn "\033k\033\134\033k%m[%1d]\033\134" }
  preexec () { print -Pn "\033k\033\134\033k%m[$1]\033\134" }
  precmd () { print -Pn "\e]0;%n@%m: %~\a" }
  preexec () { print -Pn "\e]0;%n@%m: $1\a" }
PS1=$'%{\e[0;32m%}%m%{\e[0m%}:%~> '
export PS1
[centos@centos ~]$ 

In your ~/.screenrc

hardstatus string "%h"
caption always "%{= kw} %-w%{= wk}%n*%t%{-}%+w%{= kw} %=%d %M %0c %{g}%H%{-}"

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