Pretty, minimal and fast ZSH prompt

git, minimal, prompt, pure, shell, shell-prompt, shell-theme, terminal, theme, zsh
bower install pure-prompt



Pretty, minimal and fast ZSH prompt


Most prompts are cluttered, ugly and slow. We wanted something visually pleasing that stayed out of our way.


  • Comes with the perfect prompt character. Author went through the whole Unicode range to find it.
  • Shows git branch and whether it's dirty (with a *).
  • Indicates when you have unpushed/unpulled git commits with up/down arrows. (Check is done asynchronously!)
  • Prompt character turns red if the last command didn't exit with 0.
  • Command execution time will be displayed if it exceeds the set threshold.
  • Username and host only displayed when in an SSH session or a container.
  • Shows the current path in the title and the current folder & command when a process is running.
  • Support VI-mode indication by reverse prompt symbol (Zsh 5.3+).
  • Makes an excellent starting point for your own custom prompt.


Can be installed with npm (not yarn) or manually. Requires Git 2.15.2+ and ZSH 5.2+. Older versions of ZSH are known to work, but they are not recommended.


npm install --global pure-prompt

That's it. Skip to Getting started.

brew install pure

If you're not using ZSH from Homebrew (brew install zsh and $(brew --prefix)/bin/zsh), you must also add the site-functions to your fpath in $HOME/.zshrc:

fpath+=("$(brew --prefix)/share/zsh/site-functions")


  1. Clone this repo somewhere. Here we'll use $HOME/.zsh/pure.
mkdir -p "$HOME/.zsh"
git clone https://github.com/sindresorhus/pure.git "$HOME/.zsh/pure"
  1. Add the path of the cloned repo to $fpath in $HOME/.zshrc.
# .zshrc

Getting started

Initialize the prompt system (if not so already) and choose pure:

# .zshrc
autoload -U promptinit; promptinit
prompt pure


Option Description Default value
PURE_CMD_MAX_EXEC_TIME The max execution time of a process before its run time is shown when it exits. 5 seconds
PURE_GIT_PULL Prevents Pure from checking whether the current Git remote has been updated. 1
PURE_GIT_UNTRACKED_DIRTY Do not include untracked files in dirtiness check. Mostly useful on large repos (like WebKit). 1
PURE_GIT_DELAY_DIRTY_CHECK Time in seconds to delay git dirty checking when git status takes > 5 seconds. 1800 seconds
PURE_PROMPT_SYMBOL Defines the prompt symbol. โฏ
PURE_PROMPT_VICMD_SYMBOL Defines the prompt symbol used when the vicmd keymap is active (VI-mode). โฎ
PURE_GIT_DOWN_ARROW Defines the git down arrow symbol. โ‡ฃ
PURE_GIT_UP_ARROW Defines the git up arrow symbol. โ‡ก
PURE_GIT_STASH_SYMBOL Defines the git stash symbol. โ‰ก

Zstyle options

Showing git stash status as part of the prompt is not activated by default. To activate this you'll need to opt in via zstyle:

zstyle :prompt:pure:git:stash show yes

You can set Pure to only git fetch the upstream branch of the current local branch. In some cases, this can result in faster updates for Git arrows, but for most users, it's better to leave this setting disabled. You can enable it with:

zstyle :prompt:pure:git:fetch only_upstream yes

nix-shell integration adds the shell name to the prompt when used from within a nix shell. It is enabled by default, you can disable it with:

zstyle :prompt:pure:environment:nix-shell show no


As explained in ZSH's manual, color values can be:

  • A decimal integer corresponding to the color index of your terminal. If your $TERM is xterm-256color, see this chart.
  • The name of one of the following nine colors: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, white, and default (the terminalโ€™s default foreground)
  • # followed by an RGB triplet in hexadecimal format, for example #424242. Only if your terminal supports 24-bit colors (true color) or when the zsh/nearcolor module is loaded.

Colors can be changed by using zstyle with a pattern of the form :prompt:pure:$color_name and style color. The color names, their default, and what part they affect are:

  • execution_time (yellow) - The execution time of the last command when exceeding PURE_CMD_MAX_EXEC_TIME.
  • git:arrow (cyan) - For PURE_GIT_UP_ARROW and PURE_GIT_DOWN_ARROW.
  • git:stash (cyan) - For PURE_GIT_STASH_SYMBOL.
  • git:branch (242) - The name of the current branch when in a Git repository.
  • git:branch:cached (red) - The name of the current branch when the data isn't fresh.
  • git:action (242) - The current action in progress (cherry-pick, rebase, etc.) when in a Git repository.
  • git:dirty (218) - The asterisk showing the branch is dirty.
  • host (242) - The hostname when on a remote machine.
  • path (blue) - The current path, for example, PWD.
  • prompt:error (red) - The PURE_PROMPT_SYMBOL when the previous command has failed.
  • prompt:success (magenta) - The PURE_PROMPT_SYMBOL when the previous command has succeeded.
  • prompt:continuation (242) - The color for showing the state of the parser in the continuation prompt (PS2). It's the pink part in this screenshot, it appears in the same spot as virtualenv. You could for example matching both colors so that Pure has a uniform look.
  • suspended_jobs (red) - The โœฆ symbol indicates that jobs are running in the background.
  • user (242) - The username when on remote machine.
  • user:root (default) - The username when the user is root.
  • virtualenv (242) - The name of the Python virtualenv when in use.

The following diagram shows where each color is applied on the prompt:

โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ user
โ”‚      โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ host
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ path
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ git:branch
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”‚     โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ git:dirty
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”‚     โ”‚ โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ git:action
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”‚     โ”‚ โ”‚        โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ git:arrow
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”‚     โ”‚ โ”‚        โ”‚ โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ git:stash
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”‚     โ”‚ โ”‚        โ”‚ โ”‚ โ”Œโ”€โ”€โ”€ execution_time
โ”‚      โ”‚           โ”‚          โ”‚     โ”‚ โ”‚        โ”‚ โ”‚ โ”‚
zaphod@heartofgold ~/dev/pure master* rebase-i โ‡ก โ‰ก 42s
venv โฏ
โ”‚    โ”‚
โ”‚    โ””โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ prompt
โ””โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€ virtualenv (or prompt:continuation)

RGB colors

There are two ways to use RGB colors with the hexadecimal format. The correct way is to use a terminal that support 24-bit colors and enable this feature as explained in the terminal's documentation.

If you can't use such terminal, the module zsh/nearcolor can be useful. It will map any hexadecimal color to the nearest color in the 88 or 256 color palettes of your terminal, but without using the first 16 colors, since their values can be modified by the user. Keep in mind that when using this module you won't be able to display true RGB colors. It only allows you to specify colors in a more convenient way. The following is an example on how to use this module:

# .zshrc
zmodload zsh/nearcolor
zstyle :prompt:pure:path color '#FF0000'


# .zshrc

autoload -U promptinit; promptinit

# optionally define some options

# change the path color
zstyle :prompt:pure:path color white

# change the color for both `prompt:success` and `prompt:error`
zstyle ':prompt:pure:prompt:*' color cyan

# turn on git stash status
zstyle :prompt:pure:git:stash show yes

prompt pure


In the screenshot you see Pure running in Hyper with the hyper-snazzy theme and Menlo font.

The Tomorrow Night Eighties theme with the Droid Sans Mono font (15pt) is also a nice combination.
Just make sure you have anti-aliasing enabled in your terminal.

To have commands colorized as seen in the screenshot, install zsh-syntax-highlighting.


  1. Set ZSH_THEME="" in your .zshrc to disable oh-my-zsh themes.
  2. Follow the Pure Install instructions.
  3. Do not enable the following (incompatible) plugins: vi-mode, virtualenv.

NOTE: oh-my-zsh overrides the prompt so Pure must be activated after source $ZSH/oh-my-zsh.sh.

Pure is bundled with Prezto. No need to install it.

Add prompt pure to your ~/.zpreztorc.


Add zmodule sindresorhus/pure --source async.zsh --source pure.zsh to your .zimrc and run zimfw install.

Update your .zshrc file with the following two lines:

zplug mafredri/zsh-async, from:github
zplug sindresorhus/pure, use:pure.zsh, from:github, as:theme

Update your .zshrc file with the following two lines (order matters):

zinit ice compile'(pure|async).zsh' pick'async.zsh' src'pure.zsh'
zinit light sindresorhus/pure


Update your .zshrc file with the following line:

zi light-mode for @sindresorhus/pure

See the ZI wiki for more.


There are currently no FAQs.

See FAQ Archive for previous FAQs.



Sindre Sorhus Mathias Fredriksson
Sindre Sorhus Mathias Fredriksson