Modifying your PoshGit Prompt

If your using Github for Windows, there is a good chance you might be using the Powershell Git Shell. If your like me you may want to customize how that prompt looks. Turns out this is not nearly as trivial as it would initially seem.

If your not familiar with PoshGit, you can read a little more about it on their github page. In a nutshell, this integration enhances your current Powershell prompt to provide you with git related information right in your prompt. For anyone that uses oh-my-zsh, it provides similar functionality to that.

Powershell allows you to override the prompt by configuring a prompt function inside your profile. So let’s pause here.. this sounds simple enough, but the reality you’re profile is actually loaded from one of a possible 4 files. Knowing exactly which one to edit is an adventure on all on its own. That whole debacle is covered in detail at so I’ll skip going into details there. We’ll leave it at knowing there is fairly well documented (albeit cumbersome) methods of changing your Powershell prompt.

Enter PoshGit. Since its nothing more than a wrapper around your existing Powershell, it would seem logical that any shell customizations you may have already applied would be used and PoshGit would extend upon that. Sad to say that is not the case… Now to be fair, the README for PoshGit does cover this, but it takes a fair amount of connecting the dots to know that PoshGit is even a thing. For me there was a series of research and trial and error that lead me to learning what PoshGit was, the fact that it was part of Github for Windows, and ultimately how to hack it to do what I wanted.

I’ll skip over the pain and agony I went through getting from A to B. I’ll keep it brief and say no amount of profile.ps1 hackery will work here.

Instead the key to success lies in C:\Users\<you>\AppData\Local\GitHub\PoshGit_3874a02de8ce2b7d4908a8c0cb302294358b972c\profile.example.ps1 (I don’t know if that GUID looking number changes between installations). Despite its name, this file is actually not a sample, but is the actual profile that is loaded by GitHub for Windows when using Powershell as your shell.

Start by creating a function named global:prompt (I think just prompt might also work). Inside that function make all your customizations, and then be sure to include a call to Write-VcsStatus. The Write-VcsStatus is the key to ensuring you continue to get all the git integration that PoshGit supplies.

Here is what my function looks like. In my case I was looking to not have super long directory structures included in the prompt, and instead just display the name of the directory I’m currently in. Credit for this goes to which I used to figure out how to change the prompt, I adapted for my own tastes.

function global:prompt {
  $cdelim = [ConsoleColor]::DarkCyan
  $chost = [ConsoleColor]::Green
  $cloc = [ConsoleColor]::Cyan

  write-host "$([char]0x0A7) " -n -f $cloc
  write-host ' {' -n -f $cdelim
  write-host (split-path (pwd) -Leaf) -n -f $cloc
  write-host '}' -n -f $cdelim


  return "> "

If your curious, this makes my shell look something like this (but with colors):

Windows PowerShell
Copyright (C) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

ยง  {} [master +1 ~0 -0 !]>

At the end of the day, the act of actually making the change wasn’t complicated at all, however figuring out the «what and where» of what to change was a time consuming process.

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