Scott Hanselman

My Ultimate PowerShell prompt with Oh My Posh and the Windows Terminal

August 31, 2021 Comment on this post [17] Posted in Open Source | Win10 | Win11
Sponsored By

I've long blogged about my love of setting up a nice terminal, getting the prompt just right, setting my colors, fonts, glyphs, and more. Here's some of my posts.

I want to take a moment to update my pretty prompt post with a little more detail and a more complex PowerShell $PROFILE, due to some changes in Oh My Posh, PowerShell, and the Windows Terminal. I doubt that this post is perfect and I'm sure there's stuff here that is a little extra. But I like it, and this post will serve as my "setting up a new machine" post until I get around to writing a script to do all this for me in one line.

I love my prompt.

A pretty prompt in Terminal with Oh My Posh and a lot of Colors

Let's get you set up!

Get PowerShell

I don't mean Windows PowerShell (that's "classic" now) I mean the .NET Core-powered cross-platform PowerShell. There's a LOT of ways to get it but I'm a Store person usually so I can get PowerShell (and it'll auto update) from the Microsoft Store or just "winget install Microsoft.PowerShell" from the command line with winget.

Get Windows Terminal and set a default Shell

Get Windows Terminal if you don't already have it, you can get Windows Terminal free from the Store. If you don't have access to the Microsoft Store, the builds are published on the GitHub releases page. It comes with a lovely font called Cascadia Code...but...

Now that you have Windows Terminal, you'll notice that it knows that you have PowerShell installed and will add it to your Windows Terminal dropdown menu! You can set PowerShell as your default Profile - that's the one you'll get by default when you make a new Tab - in settings:

Set your Default Profile to PowerShell

Upgrade your Terminal/Console Fonts

I like fonts with lots of Glyphs so I also download and Install Caskaydia Cove Nerd Font Complete. This is the same Cascadia Code font but MODIFIED to include hundreds of special characters that you can use to make your prompt cooler.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The string literal name of this font for use in settings or VS Code is "CaskaydiaCove NF". If you're using Cascadia Code, there are different strings for each. The NUMBER ONE question I get is 'why don't my glyphs/fonts show up right in Windows Terminal/VS Code?' and the answer is almost always "you're using the wrong font string." It's usually either an extra space or a missing space, so don't be afraid to double check.
Cascadia Code

Remember that Windows Terminal has a lovely Settings UI but you can always click "open JSON file" to manage the settings.json as text if you prefer. Here's mine. Yours will be different and you should customize it! The Windows Terminal documentation is fantastic. Again, see how PowerShell is in BOLD? That's because it's my default.

Lots of Windows Terminal Profiles

Now, let's add a little...spice...

Add "Oh My Posh" to your Shell

Oh My Posh has amazing docs so check them out. Do note that some stuff has changed, especially from v2 to v3.

EXCITING NOTE: Oh My Posh is portable and works on any shell, so I use it on both my "Pwsh" (PowerShell) in Windows and my Bash shells on WSL running Ubuntu.

You can install Oh My Posh with with PowerShell's "Install-Module" or with the platform-specific install instructions. I used the latter, which is somewhat new, but it's tomato/tomato, so use what works for you.

Again, read the docs but the idea on Windows is basically this (or get it from GitHub):

winget install JanDeDobbeleer.OhMyPosh
# restart shell to reload PATH

Then edit $PROFILE and add the following line, remembering at this point that oh-my-posh is an executable on the PATH.

oh-my-posh --init --shell pwsh --config ~/jandedobbeleer.omp.json | Invoke-Expression

I have changed my Oh My Posh from Jan's default to include my own stuff, and I keep my latest up in a GitHub Gist and also in my DropBox/OneDrive so it's always syncing to all my machines. Mine is this, after I download from my gist.

oh-my-posh --init --shell pwsh --config D:/Dropbox/ohmyposhv3-2.json | Invoke-Expression

Yours will vary. Again, read the docs and experiment! Once added, reload your profile for the changes to take effect, or restart your shell.


That .json file is filled with "segments" that are documented on the Oh My Posh site in a lot of detail. Overwhelming detail. You can add your computer's battery, your Azure Subscription, the dotnet or node version of your current folder, really anything. Even your Spotify songs. I'm going to make one that show my Blood Sugar.

Go explore Oh My Posh Themes and then modify them with your own additional Segments.

Again, note that your fonts will need the right glyphs or it will look weird.

Here's a GOOD prompt:

This prompt has nice glyphs

Here's a BAD prompt with an issue!

This prompt has weird squares

Why is it wrong? Either the .json file that is your config has been saved wrong or corrupted the Unicode Glyphs, or you've got a font that doesn't have those glyphs.

Re-assert your Git segment in Oh My Posh

Some folks want full git info, status, added, modified, untracked, etc and others just want the current git branch. Check the Git segment and the Posh Git segment to make sure you are getting the performance AND information you need.

I needed to turn on "display_stash_count" and "display_upstream_icon" in my config json, like this:

"type": "git",
"style": "powerline",
"powerline_symbol": "",
"invert_powerline": false,
"foreground": "#193549",
"background": "#fffb38",
"leading_diamond": "",
"trailing_diamond": "",
"properties": {
"display_status": true,
"display_stash_count": true,
"display_upstream_icon": true

Again, this is all optional and affect performance slightly, but be aware of these properties. I believe I have these set the right way I want them in my public gist. Here is me moving around my source code with "z" in stead of cd, but note the prompt changes.

My prompt shows my Git branch

Turn your PowerShell directories up to 11 with Terminal-Icons

Is your prompt not extra enough? That's because your directory listing needs color AND cool icons!

Install-Module -Name Terminal-Icons -Repository PSGallery

And then add one line to my $profile (edit with "code $profile"):

Import-Module -Name Terminal-Icons


Cool Icons and color in DIR

How far is too far?

At this point you're basically done, but I also LOVE PSReadLine. It's great generally but also nice for bash and Emacs types who are moving to PowerShell or use PowerShell for work.

I've added features like "ctrl shift b" at the command line will run "dotnet build." Why? Because I can and because it's muscle memory so I'm making my prompt work for me.

You can also add Predictive Autocomplete to your prompt if you like but I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader! My PowerShell profile is on a public gist, and while it's not perfect and likely has issues, it works for me!

Enjoy! Thanks to the Windows Terminal Team and the always lovely Jan De Dobbeleer from Oh My Posh, as well as Brandon Olin from Terminal Icons.

Check out our Sponsor! YugabyteDB is a distributed SQL database designed for resilience and scale. It is 100% open source, PostgreSQL-compatible, enterprise-grade, and runs across all clouds. Sign up and get a free t-shirt!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Hosting By
Hosted in an Azure App Service
September 01, 2021 6:55
Inspired by your series of articles, I've written a quick Windows PowerShell script that mostly sets up the tooling shown here.
It might help you write yours and help others.
September 01, 2021 8:48
How do you run a prompt as administrator? There doesn't appear to be any way to do it per tab and there is no option to do it for Windows terminal as a whole and the Ctrl+Shift+click doesn't work either.

This kind of ruins it for me, I regularly run iisreset and that requires admin rights.
September 01, 2021 13:34
Shift + Right-Click on Windows Terminal icon and the context menu give you "Run as Administrator" , provided your account has administrator permission.
Selecting that option gives you the access you need to run commands with elevated privilege. Use at your own risk!
September 01, 2021 18:24
@Peter You can set programs to always run as admin under the Compatibility tab in Properties
September 01, 2021 18:46
For some reason oh-my-posh is getting flagged by bitdefender. So it won't run on my device.
September 01, 2021 22:30
PowerShell 7.1.4 doesn't appear to include winget and it's not in the Windows Store. Where's the bes/safestt place to get winget from?
September 01, 2021 23:44
Protip - If you need admin rights in your Windows Terminal session...

choco install -y gsudo

Then "sudo [command here]" (or just simply "sudo") to elevate - you'll get a UAC prompt, after which you'll have all the power.

You're welcome.
September 02, 2021 9:00
What is $PROFILE? Where can I find it, and how to add oh-my-posh for it?

"Then edit $PROFILE and add the following line" - could you give me more details about this step?

Add this to where? "oh-my-posh --init --shell pwsh --config ~/jandedobbeleer.omp.json | Invoke-Expression"
September 02, 2021 9:51
I think you will never stop tinkering your Powershell prompt. As always excellent post. Here is my two cents you can also include ZLocation. I started liking this a lot and now my cd command is like magic.
September 02, 2021 23:38
@Marton: $PROFILE is an environment variable that points to your personal powershell profile, which starts out not existing. To access it, edit $PROFILE using text editor. For example:

notepad $PROFILE

Which tells me the file doesn't exist, which is to be expected, because I haven't used it yet.

After you insert the line, save the file and restart your shell.
September 03, 2021 0:09

If anyone is looking for a Bash, ZSH, Fish, and tcsh shell that looks similar, this one is great.
September 03, 2021 0:13
It looks like powerline is in use with this solution?
September 03, 2021 0:23
i've got a bad prompt -- and it's ugly af :( HELP!

Why is it wrong? Either the .json file that is your config has been saved wrong or corrupted the Unicode Glyphs, or you've got a font that doesn't have those glyphs.

huh? what does that mean? how do I begin to figure out what's wrong?
September 04, 2021 11:18
Thanks. It's amazing.
September 06, 2021 13:19
Hi Scott. Excellent post (as always). I've been customizing my prompt with your series since first post on this. Thanks!

My two cents to dotnet developers to add to oh my posh. I almost always mistype aspnetcore_environment, so this shows which environment you have set (and if you type it right)

"type": "envvar",
"style": "powerline",
"powerline_symbol": "\uE0B0",
"foreground": "#ffffff",
"background": "#0077c2",
"properties": {

Thanks again!
September 07, 2021 18:34
These articles (and not just the Powershell ones, either) have piqued my interest in Terminal, Powershell and Linux to such a degree that I converted an old laptop to run Elementary, and I've decked out Terminal in work and home environments. The tips in the comments are great, too. Thanks, everybody!
September 09, 2021 7:18

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.