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When I say essentials, I mean 2 visual tweaks, and 2 terminal add-ons that I implement on every computer I own. The examples below will only work for ZSH shells; however, the core concepts are similar to BASH and I’ve linked some articles to get you started.

How to check which shell you’re using
How to switch between ZSH and BASH

Most of the tips below require you to define values in your ZSH configuration file. Therefore start by creating your .zshrc config file:

touch ~/.zshrc

After making changes to your .zshrc file, make sure to reload the configuration for it to take effect:

source ~/.zshrc

1. Customizing the command prompt

Customizing the command prompt is as simple as overriding the PROMPT variable in your .zshrc configuration file. My default configuration looks like this:

PROMPT='%n in %~ %# '

%n username, %~ directory path, %# privledge level

More ZSH prompt escapes and prompt sequences

2. Adding color to the prompt

To add color surround the parts of your prompt you’d like to color with %F{color} %f. Make these changes in your .zshrc file as below:

PROMPT='%F{green}%n%f in %F{cyan}%~%f %# '

Default available colors are: black, red, green, yellow, blue, magenta, cyan, light gray, dark gray, light red, light green, light yellow, light blue, light magenta, light cyan, white

How to use/display more colors

3. Adding Git information to the prompt

See my full article on this topic

4.TMUX (terminal multiplexer)

See my article on basic TMUX commands and installation instructions. Also check out my TMUX cheatsheet.