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Awesome symbols and characters in a bash prompt

Solutons:


You can use any printable character, bash doesn’t mind. You’ll probably want to configure your terminal to support Unicode (in the form of UTF-8).

There are a lot of characters in Unicode, so here are a few tips to help you search through the Unicode charts:

  • You can try to draw the character on Shapecatcher. It tries to recognize a Unicode character in what you draw.
  • You can try to figure out which block the character is in. For example, that weird-looking symbol and that star would be in a block of miscellaneous symbols; characters like Ǫ and ı are latin letters with modifiers; is a mathematical symbol, and so on.
  • You can try to think of a word in the description of the character and look for it in a list of unicode symbol names and descriptions. Gucharmap or Kcharselect can help.

P.S. On Shapecatcher, I got U+2234 THEREFORE for , U+2192 RIGHTWARDS ARROW for , U+263F MERCURY for and U+2605 BLACK STAR for .

In a bash script, up to bash 4.1, you can write a byte by its code point, but not a character. If you want to avoid non-ASCII characters to make your .bashrc resilient to file encoding changes, you’ll need to enter the bytes corresponding to these characters in the UTF-8 encoding. You can see the hexidecimal values by running echo ∴ → ☿ ★ | hexdump -C in a UTF-8 terminal, e.g. is encoded by xe2x88xb4 in UTF-8.

if [[ $LC_CTYPE =~ '.[Uu][Tt][Ff]-?8' ]]; then
  PS1=$'\[e[31m\]xe2x88xb4\[e[0m\]nxe2x86x92 xe2x98xbf \~ \[e[31m\]xe2x98x85 $? \[e[0m\]'
fi

Since bash 4.2, you can use u followed by 4 hexadecimal digits in a $'…' string.

  PS1=$'\[e[31m\]u2234\[e[0m\]nu2192 u263f \~ \[e[31m\]u2605 $? \[e[0m\]'

You can find the unicode symbols on lots of sites, like this one:
http://panmental.de/symbols/info.htm

You just have to make sure that your term supports UTF-8.

i like using these tools — they have a nice experience, and it’s easy to search through:

  • unicode character table
  • amp-what, scoped to unicode characters

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