How Set Up Different Colours In Bash

Shell Programming

Setting up different colors in Bash can enhance the visual experience and make working in the terminal more enjoyable. Personally, I find it helpful to assign specific colors to different types of files or to highlight important information. In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of customizing colors in your Bash terminal, and provide some personal insights along the way.

Basic Configuration

To get started, open your .bashrc or .bash_profile file in your favorite text editor. These files contain the configuration settings for your Bash environment. I like to use Visual Studio Code for this, as the syntax highlighting makes it easier to identify the changes I make.

Now, let’s define some color variables. You can use the following format:

      export COLOR_NAME='\e[XXm'

Replace COLOR_NAME with a descriptive name for the color you’re setting, and XX with the ANSI color code. For example, to set the text color to red, you would use export RED='\e[31m'.

Personalization: My Color Scheme

I like to personalize my color scheme to make it easier to distinguish between different file types. For instance, I assign different colors to text files, executable files, and directories. This helps me quickly identify the type of file I’m working with, and it adds a touch of personality to my terminal environment.

Here’s a snippet of how I define my color variables in my .bashrc file:

      export TEXT_FILE='\e[34m'  # Blue
      export EXECUTABLE_FILE='\e[32m'  # Green
      export DIRECTORY='\e[36m'  # Cyan

Feel free to experiment with different colors and find a scheme that resonates with you. It’s all about making your terminal environment feel like your own.

Applying the Colors

Once you’ve defined your color variables, you can start using them in your Bash prompts, scripts, and aliases. For example, to display a directory in cyan, you can use the following syntax:

      echo -e "${DIRECTORY}MyDirectory"

This will display “MyDirectory” in cyan color in your terminal.


Customizing colors in Bash is a simple yet effective way to add personal flair to your terminal environment. Whether it’s for practical purposes like differentiating file types or purely for aesthetic reasons, don’t hesitate to make your Bash environment your own. Experiment with different color combinations, find what works best for you, and enjoy a more visually appealing terminal experience.