Tutorial: Set up a custom prompt for PowerShell or WSL with Oh My Posh

This tutorial provides some resources and direction to help you customize your command prompt for PowerShell or Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) using Oh My Posh. Oh My Posh provides theme capabilities for a fully customized command prompt experience providing Git status color-coding and prompts.

In this tutorial, you learn how to:

Windows Terminal Custom Prompt

Install a Nerd Font

Customized command prompts often use glyphs (a graphic symbol) in order to style the prompt. If your font does not include the appropriate glyphs, you may see several Unicode replacement characters '▯' throughout your prompt. In order to see all of the glyphs in your terminal, we recommend installing a Nerd Font.

If you'd like a font that looks like Cascadia Code, the Caskaydia Cove Nerd Font was built from the Cascadia Code repository by a community member.)

After downloading, you will need to unzip and install the font on your system. (How to add a new font to Windows).

To set a Nerd Font for use with Oh My Posh and Terminal Icons, open the Windows Terminal settings UI by selecting Settings (Ctrl+,) from your Windows Terminal dropdown menu. Select the profile where you wish to apply the font, PowerShell for example, and then the Appearance tab. In the Font face drop-down menu, select CaskaydiaCove Nerd Font or whichever Nerd font you would like to use with your customized prompt.

Note

If you want to use a terminal font that does not support glyph icons, such as Cascadia Code PL, you may consider using an Oh My Posh theme that contains the minimal function, indicating that additional icons aren't required.

Customize your PowerShell prompt with Oh My Posh

Oh My Posh enables you to use a full color set to define and render your terminal prompt, including the ability to use built-in themes or create your own custom theme.

Install Oh My Posh for PowerShell

To customize your PowerShell prompt, you can install Oh My Posh using winget. Enter the command:

winget install oh-my-posh

This will install:

You will need to agree to the source terms and may run into the instance that more than one package is available. In this case, select package ID that you wish to use and re-enter the command: winget install <package ID>.

Screenshot of winget install oh my posh packages.

To ensure you have the latest updates, you can use the following command: winget upgrade oh-my-posh.

Note

If you are more familiar with the Scoop installer or a manual installation method that allows automation, these can also be used for installing on Windows, just follow the instructions in the Oh My Posh docs.

Choose and apply a PowerShell prompt theme

You may browse the full list of themes on the Oh My Posh themes page.

Choose a theme and update your PowerShell profile with this command. (You can replace notepad with the text editor of your choice.)

notepad $PROFILE

Add the following to the end of your PowerShell profile file to set the paradox theme. (Replace paradox with the theme of your choice.)

oh-my-posh init pwsh --config "$env:POSH_THEMES_PATH\paradox.omp.json" | Invoke-Expression

Now, each new PowerShell instance will start by importing Oh My Posh and setting your command line theme.

Note

This is not your Windows Terminal profile. Your PowerShell profile is a script that runs every time PowerShell starts. Learn more about PowerShell profiles.

Customize your WSL prompt with Oh My Posh

Oh My Posh now allows you to customize WSL prompts, just like you would a PowerShell prompt using built-in themes.

Install Oh My Posh for WSL

We recommend installing Oh My Posh for WSL, whether using Bash, Zsh, or something else, by following the Linux install guide in the Oh My Posh docs.

Currently the recommended path for customizing WSL prompts with Oh My Posh uses the Homebrew package manager for installation. (Homebrew works with WSL now!) When installing Homebrew for Linux, be sure to follow Next steps instructions to add Homebrew to your PATH and to your bash shell profile script.

Homebrew will install:

  • oh-my-posh - Executable, added to /usr/local/bin
  • themes - The latest Oh My Posh themes

Choose and apply a WSL prompt theme

The Oh My Posh themes will be found in the oh-my-posh directory as JSON files. You can find it by entering cd $(brew --prefix oh-my-posh), then just cd themes and ls for the list. For Ubuntu-20.04 running via WSL, the path is likely to be something like: \\wsl.localhost\Ubuntu-20.04\home\linuxbrew\.linuxbrew\Cellar\oh-my-posh\6.34.1\themes. You can also view what the themes look like in the Oh My Posh docs: Themes.

To use a theme, copy it from the themes folder to your $Home folder, then add this line to the bottom of the .profile file found in your $Home folder:

eval "$(oh-my-posh --init --shell bash --config ~/jandedobbeleer.omp.json)"

You can replace jandedobbeleer.omp.json with the name of whichever theme you prefer to use as long as it's copied to your $Home folder.

Alternatively, if you are using oh-my-posh in both Windows with PowerShell and with WSL, you can share your PowerShell theme with WSL by pointing to a theme in your Windows user's home folder. In your WSL distribution's .profile path, replace ~ with the path: /mnt/c/Users/<WINDOWSUSERNAME>. Replacing <WINDOWSUSERNAME> with your own Windows username.

You can customize the Oh My Posh themes if desired.

Use Terminal-Icons to add missing folder or file icons

Terminal-Icons is a PowerShell module that adds file and folder icons that may be missing when displaying files or folders in Windows Terminal, looking up their appropriate icon based on name or extension. It attempts to use icons for well-known files/folders, but falls back to a generic file or folder icon if one is not found.

To install Terminal-Icons with PowerShell, use the command:

Install-Module -Name Terminal-Icons -Repository PSGallery

For more information, including usage and commands, see the Terminal-Icons repo on GitHub.

Additional resources