I have an issue with my terminal prompt line. When the line is too long it wraps on the same line and then Up arrow makes it look even worse.

I have already checked Terminal prompt not wrapping correctly, but it looks like I am apparently closing all the squared brackets for non printable characters.

This is my PS1:

\[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot) }\[\033[01;36m\]\u@\h\[\033[00m\]\033[01;34m\]\w\033[00m\][$(type __git_ps1 >/dev/null 2>&1 && __git_ps1 "(%s)")]

Consider this as my standard prompt line


I was able to get

assdasdasdasdasdadasdsadadasdaddasdadadasdadsadasdsa((main))] asdsadsadsadsadasdasdassdasdasdassdasdassdasdasdasdasdasdasdsadsad

I have already checked my .bashrc

I have and shopt -s checkwinsize should autocheck the columns

2 Answers 2


You've completely banjanxed the Bourne Again shell's idea of what's been printed and what it has to erase/rewrite as it displays command history and lets you edit the command line.

Breaking your prompt down into sections:

  1. \[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\] — non-printing characters, properly enclosed
  2. ${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot) } — printing characters only, presumably
  3. \[\033[01;36m\] — non-printing characters, properly enclosed
  4. \u@\h — printing characters only
  5. \[\033[00m\] — non-printing characters, properly enclosed
  6. \033[01;34m\] — non-printing characters, improperly enclosed so the Bourne Again shell does not know that they are
  7. \w\033[00m\] — an erroneous mixture of printing and non-printing characters
  8. [$(type __git_ps1 >/dev/null 2>&1 && __git_ps1 "(%s)")] — printing characters only, presumably

I've given this advice before, but it is general advice that applies here as well:

  • Use either \e or \033 consistently, for your own sanity.
  • Make your \[ and \] strictly matching non-nesting pairs.
  • Make sure that all non-printing sequences are within \[ and \] (and that, conversely, that all printing sequences are not).

(This is why I personally prefer the Z Shell and its alternative prompt expansion mechanism for when I want wacky coloured prompts. It knows that things like %F{green} aren't printing sequences, without having to be told; and it also works out the correct escape sequences from terminfo, without having them hardwired.)

  • Thanks a lot I modified my PS1 in \[\e]0;\u@\h: \w\a\]${debian_chroot:+($debian_chroot) }\[\e[01;36m\]\u@\h\[\e[00m\]\[\e[01;34m\]\w\[\e[00m\][$(type __git_ps1 >/dev/null 2>&1 && __git_ps1 "(%s)")] and now it is perfectly working! I had never really understood how that thing worked until I read you explanation.
    – melisc
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 8:52
  • 2
    +1 for the use of banjanxed
    – user6717
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 15:25
  • This helped to me to solve a ~17y old mystery: twitter.com/sskras/status/1383364210088808458 ! Thanks a LOT, Jonathan!
    – saulius2
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 10:48

While JdeBP's answer is excellent, I thought I'd add the one that worked for me since my PS1 was already proper. I originally posted this on a related Issue (#2713) on the WSL repo on GitHub:

I'd like to add a not here for posterity, because this issue has been driving me nuts. I think I finally found the cause, at least for me, so hopefully this helps others. I have seen this issue on various systems (builds 18362 - 18975) with various distros. I ensured 100% the syntax of my PS1 in my .bashrc was correct and all non-printing characters were properly escaped etc.

The issue for me was with the Console Properties. I installed my WSL distros (Ubuntu, Debian, and Kali) through the Microsoft Store, and ran the apps from my Start Menu. This launches WSL in a Linux branded classic Windows Command Prompt console as I understand. (BTW, launching from a folder with Shift+Right-click / "Open linux shell here" opens the same Console window).

Whatever the case, the point is when you right-click the resulting console title bar, click Properties, then select the option to "Wrap text output on resize" this is what resolved the issue for me.

Console Properties

Wrap Text

Now I can properly enter commands that wrap around to the next line and can move my cursor around appropriately. This is definitely a bug somewhere, but I don't know where the fault lies.

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