Mac Terminal Customization: Personalize Your Command Line


The command line interface, also known as the Terminal on macOS, is a powerful tool that allows users to interact with their computer using text commands. While the default Terminal configuration is functional, there are several ways to enhance your command line experience and make it more personal. In this article, we will explore various customization options to help you personalize your Mac Terminal and make it truly your own.

1. Customizing the Terminal Theme

Changing the appearance of the Terminal can greatly improve your command line experience. macOS provides a few built-in themes, such as Basic, Grass, and Homebrew. To change the Terminal theme, follow these steps:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Go to Preferences (or use the shortcut Cmd + ,).
  3. Click on the Profiles tab.
  4. Select a profile from the left sidebar, or create a new one by clicking the + button.
  5. Navigate to the Settings tab and choose the desired theme from the Profiles section.

You can experiment with different themes to find the one that suits your style and preferences the best.

2. Installing a Custom Shell

By default, macOS uses the Bash shell as the command line interpreter. However, there are many alternative shells available that offer additional features and customization options. One popular alternative is Zsh, which comes with macOS Catalina and newer versions.

To switch to Zsh:

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Go to Preferences.
  3. Click on the General tab.
  4. Select Zsh from the "Shells open with" dropdown menu.

After switching to Zsh, you can further customize it by installing plugins and themes. Oh My Zsh ( is a popular framework that makes it easy to customize Zsh. It provides a collection of plugins, themes, and other tools to enhance your command line experience.

3. Creating Alias and Functions

Aliases allow you to create shortcuts for commonly used commands, making your workflow more efficient. For example, instead of typing cd ~/Documents, you can create an alias like docs and use it to navigate to your Documents folder.

To create an alias, open your shell configuration file (.bashrc for Bash or .zshrc for Zsh) using a text editor and add a line like this:

alias docs="cd ~/Documents"

You can also define custom functions to perform more complex tasks. For instance, you can create a function to compress a folder and move it to a specific location with a single command.

To create a function, add the following lines to your shell configuration file:

myfunc() {
    # Function logic goes here

Remember to source your configuration file or restart the Terminal for the changes to take effect.

4. Customizing the Prompt

The prompt is the text displayed before each command in the Terminal. You can customize it to include additional information or change its appearance. For example, you can display the current Git branch, the current directory, or even add emojis.

To customize the prompt, modify the PS1 variable in your shell configuration file. For example, to display the current directory and Git branch, you can use the following line:

PS1='\u@\h \W$(git branch 2>/dev/null | sed -n "/^\*/s/^\* //p") \$ '

This will display the username, hostname, current directory, and Git branch (if available) in the prompt. Feel free to experiment and create a prompt that suits your needs.


Customizing your Mac Terminal allows you to personalize your command line experience and make it more efficient. From changing the theme to installing a custom shell and creating aliases, the possibilities are endless. Explore different customization options, experiment with plugins and themes, and find the setup that works best for you. Personalizing your command line can significantly improve your productivity and make working with the Terminal more enjoyable.

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