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Guilherme L. Leite Marques
Guilherme L. Leite Marques

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Increase productivity in terminal with Zsh, Oh-My-Zsh and Starship

The objective of this article is to share my shell setup with you.
I think that my job and day to day tasks became easier and more productive than using the "normal" bash. I hope that it helps you.

You will need the following tools:

Zsh - The Z shell.

Oh-My-Zsh - A framework for managing your Zsh configuration.

Starship - A fast and customizable prompt for any shell!

I assume that you already have git installed and have a little knowledge of using it to clone repositories.

Installing Zsh

First, you need to install Zsh. You can use your distribution package manager to install it easily.

For openSUSE:

sudo zypper install zsh

For Ubuntu:

sudo apt install zsh

For Fedora:

sudo dnf install zsh

After this you should set Zsh as your default shell:

chsh -s $(which zsh)

Now reboot your machine.

Installing Oh-My-Zsh

After rebooting, open your terminal and you should now be prompted by a Zsh configuration wizard. At this time you can just type q and ENTER because you will install and configure Oh-My-Zsh and it will install a .zshrc template for us:

  • curl or wget should be installed.
  • git should be installed.

sh -c "$(wget -O-"

If Oh-My-Zsh was successfully installed, you should see that your prompt changes to a green one. The template configuration file is ~/.zshrc and it gives you tons of possibilities to configure your shell behaviour, like prompt themes and plugins.

Loading some plugins

There is a lot of configurations that can be made in Zsh + Oh-My-Zsh, here I'll just talk about a list of cool plugins that I use, but you can dive deeper to discover more possibilities.
Plugins should be placed in plugins=(...) session of the configuration file. I use the following:

plugin name brief description
colored-man-pages adds colors to man pages
command-not-found uses the command-not-found package for Zsh to provide suggested packages
docker adds auto-completion for docker
git provides many aliases and a few useful functions
npm provides completion as well as adding many useful aliases
pep8 adds completion for pep8
pip adds completion for pip
pyenv loads pyenv and pyenv-virtualenv
python adds several aliases for useful python commands
sudo prefix your current or previous commands with sudo by pressing esc twice
systemd provides many useful aliases for systemd
ubuntu This plugin adds completions and aliases for Ubuntu
zsh_reload type src to reload Zsh session
zsh-autosuggestions suggests commands as you type based on history and completions
zsh-syntax-highlighting package provides syntax highlighting

You can always go to to see a complete list of plugins and their respective documentation.

The last two plugins of my list aren't part of the default Oh-My-Zsh installation and should be installed separately. Maybe you can install it with your distribution package manager, but I do prefer to install via Github to take advantage of possible new features.

As you are using Oh-My-Zsh as a plugin manager, and the plugins are already enabled in our .zshrc file, all you have to do is clone the project repository to our $ZSH_CUSTOM directory.
Just type the following commands.
For zsh-autosuggestions:

git clone ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions

And for zsh-syntax-highlighting:

git clone ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-syntax-highlighting

Installing a better font

For better support icons and symbols, you have to install a modern font like Nerd Fonts. I use the Meslo, but you can choose your own and test it.

Now you have to configure your terminal emulator to use Meslo Nerd Fonts.

Theming the prompt with Starship

To finish the task, the last step is to install Starship that will bring a lot of goodies to our Zsh shell.
The installation is very simple, just type:

  • curl should be installed.

curl -fsSL | zsh

Once installed, you have to enable it. Just place the following line at the end ~/.zshrc

eval "$(starship init zsh)"

It is a good idea to comment out the ZSH_THEME entry in ~/.zshrc

Configuring Starship

The configuration of Starship is easy to understand. First, you need to create de starship.toml file. It should be placed inside ~/.config:

mkdir -p ~/.config && touch ~/.config/starship.toml

After this, you have to fill the file with the options that you wish to change the default setup. By the way, the default setup is quite cool! As the configuration is a .toml file, all the options are of the type key : value, pretty intuitive.

The detailed information about every option is well described at the official documentation. However, I paste the one that I'm using to serve as a reference for you.

add_newline = true

prompt_order = [

full_symbol = "🔋"
charging_symbol = "⚡️"
discharging_symbol = "💀"

threshold = 10
style = "bold red"

threshold = 60
style = "bold yellow"

threshold = 100
style = "bold green"

# symbol = "➜"
error_symbol = "✗"
use_symbol_for_status = true

min_time = 500
prefix = "tooks "

truncation_length = 6
truncate_to_repo = true
prefix = "in "
style = "bold cyan"
disabled = false

# [env_var]
# variable = "SHELL"
# default = "Zsh"
# prefix = "<"
# suffix = ">"

# symbol = "🌱 "
truncation_length = 8
truncation_symbol = "..."
style = "bold purple"
disabled = false

cherry_pick = "CHERRY PICKING"
rebase = "REBASING"
merge = "MERGING"
revert = "REVERTING"
bisect = "BISECTING"
am = "AM"
am_or_rebase = "AM/REBASE"
progress_divider = " of "
style = "bold yellow"
disabled = false

# [git_status]
# conflicted = "🏳"
# ahead = "🏎💨"
# behind = "😰"
# diverged = "😵"
# untracked = "🤷‍"
# stashed = "📦"
# modified = "📝"
# staged.value = "++"
# = "green"
# staged_count.enabled = true
# = "green"
# renamed = "👅"
# deleted = "🗑"

# [[git_status.count]]
# enabled = true

ssh_only = false
prefix = "🤖"
# suffix = "⟫"
trim_at = "."
disabled = false

# [jobs]
# symbol = "+ "
# threshold = 1

disabled = false

# [memory_usage]
# disabled = false
# show_percentage = true
# show_swap = false
# threshold = -1
# symbol = " "
# separator = "/"
# style = "bold dimmed white"

symbol = "⬢ "
style = "bold green"
disabled = false

# [package]
# symbol = "📦 "
# style = "bold red"
# disabled = false

symbol = "🐍 "
pyenv_version_name = false
pyenv_prefix = "pyenv"
style = "bold yellow"
disabled = false

# [time]
# format = "🕙%T"
# style_root = "bold red"
# style_user = "bold yellow"
# show_always = true
# disabled = false

style_root = "bold red"
style_user = "bold yellow"
show_always = false
disabled = false

Close and reopen your terminal to see the results. Cool! Isn't it?!

That's it! I hope this article can be useful. Thanks for reading!

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