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6.9 Controlling the Prompt

The value of the variable PROMPT_COMMAND is examined just before Bash prints each primary prompt. If PROMPT_COMMAND is set and has a non-null value, then the value is executed just as if it had been typed on the command line.

In addition, the following table describes the special characters which can appear in the prompt variables:

A bell character.
The date, in "Weekday Month Date" format (e.g., "Tue May 26").
An escape character.
The hostname, up to the first `.'.
The hostname.
The number of jobs currently managed by the shell.
The basename of the shell's terminal device name.
A newline.
A carriage return.
The name of the shell, the basename of $0 (the portion following the final slash).
The time, in 24-hour HH:MM:SS format.
The time, in 12-hour HH:MM:SS format.
The time, in 12-hour am/pm format.
The time, in 24-hour HH:MM format.
The username of the current user.
The version of Bash (e.g., 2.00)
The release of Bash, version + patchlevel (e.g., 2.00.0)
The current working directory.
The basename of $PWD.
The history number of this command.
The command number of this command.
If the effective uid is 0, #, otherwise $.
The character whose ASCII code is the octal value nnn.
A backslash.
Begin a sequence of non-printing characters. This could be used to embed a terminal control sequence into the prompt.
End a sequence of non-printing characters.

The command number and the history number are usually different: the history number of a command is its position in the history list, which may include commands restored from the history file (see section 9.1 Bash History Facilities), while the command number is the position in the sequence of commands executed during the current shell session.

After the string is decoded, it is expanded via parameter expansion, command substitution, arithmetic expansion, and quote removal, subject to the value of the promptvars shell option (see section 4.2 Bash Builtin Commands).

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