I suspect there’s some terminology for this question that I’m not aware of. It’s hard to check if a question has already been answered if one doesn’t know the proper vocabulary. So, sorry if this is a repeat question…

I’ve slowly become comfy with bash over the past 2 years or so. (I use the Homebrew package manager for OS X to install the latest version whenever the package is updated. At the time of this writing, that’s version 4.2.37.)

The thing is, I’m one of those people who likes to have certain pieces of information on the screen at all times. For many hackers, this simply means customizing PS1. And I’ve done that.

But it’s not enough. I’d like to have some more information displayed at all times, but I don’t want my prompt to grow into an unruly monster.

less provides an option to always display the status of a currently displayed manpage. One such option is the position of the current document. So, if (for example) you’re currently viewing the document 73% of the way through, it will display 73% at the bottom of the screen.

Is there a way to “glue” some information like CWD, IP address, etc., into a “status bar” in bash?

  • 1
    There's probably no way to achieve this without an external program, e.g. a terminal multiplexer like tmux or screen (probably easier in tmux). You could try to go without an external program and just use fancy terminal control sequences in PS1 but that would mess up your output / get overwritten / scrolled off the screen as soon as you run any command that outputs to the terminal.
    – jw013
    Sep 10, 2012 at 15:58
  • Would a window title suffice? How to set window title in bash
    – Jodie C
    Sep 10, 2012 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


I always use bash within tmux (was screen till recently). tmux/screen allows you to set these. Read up the tmux/screen manual on how to setup these. I find it tyring to use bash without tmux/screen.

  • Cool! Thanks. Looks like this is what I was looking for. (Seems complicated at first glance. I hope I’m wrong about that, though. :P)
    – Zearin
    Sep 10, 2012 at 18:18
  • @Zearin, though configuring to set the status bar to your liing may a bit high on the learning curve, you will love it once it the way you want it. Unlike bash, tmux is designed to be customized status bar. I stole my customization from irssi & from gentoo wiki. Default setting itself is pretty cool. Google should help you get, good config files.
    – bagavadhar
    Sep 10, 2012 at 18:27
  • 3
    Adding a minimal example how to add a statusbar in your favorite console manager would make the answer much more complete. Sep 10, 2012 at 18:47

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