Terminal on steroids

I really like beautiful things, especially connected to my IDE or, generally speaking, to my work environment. I believe that all neat colors and clean design really facilitate our work. This is the reason, why I would like to focus today on making the terminal beautiful.

This is what I achieved so far:

My Terminal

I would like to keep this post as simple as possible, so please find all steps you need to take below.


  1. Install the latest version of iTerm2 terminal.
  2. Check if you have zsh already installed on your machine: zsh --version.
    • If no, install zsh using e.g. homebrew,
      if yes, you need to check your version and update to the newest one.
      How to do that? This tutorial covers it in a great manner. However, for the purposes of this article, I would like to list the main steps 1:
    • Check the location of zsh: which zsh
    • Confirm the shell that’s set for your user: dscl . -read /Users/$USER UserShell
    • Upgrade zsh with homebrew: brew install zsh
    • Confirm brew’s zsh location: ls -la /usr/local/bin/zs* or brew list or brew info zsh
    • Replace zsh to brew’s one: sudo dscl . -create /Users/$USER UserShell /usr/local/bin/zsh
    • Restart your terminal.
    • Check again the version of zsh: which zsh
    • Confirm you use brew’s zsh: dscl . -read /Users/$USER UserShell
    • You should be done :)
  3. Install Oh My ZSH! using curl: sh -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
    or wget: sh -c "$(wget https://raw.github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh -O -)"
  4. Change a default theme from robbyrussell to agnoster. To do that you need to set ZSH_THEME to the name of the theme in your ~/.zshrc. Here you can find a list of preinstalled themes.
  5. To set up the same font I have, first of all, you need to install Meslo and Roboto font from powerline fonts. Just clone them and use .install.sh script. Then change the fonts in iTerm2 preferences (cmd + ,) like it is shown in the picture below: My text settings
  6. In a colors tab (iTerm2 preferences) set up color presets to Dark Solarized. You can find a lot of themes here.
  7. To activate plugins (e.g. git plugin) you need to update this line in .zshrc file: plugins=(git bundler osx rake ruby).
  8. That’s it, you’re done! :)


You may ask, why I need to install zsh and use it instead of bash? In fact, you don’t need to. But zsh gives you a lot of improvements out of the box:

  • Great prompt,
  • amazingly quick and smart auto completion,
  • spelling correction,
  • support of many great plugins (especially for git),
  • a really quick configuration with oh-my-zsh,
  • many many more.

If you want to go deeper into discussion or gather more information about oh-my-zsh, you can visit Quora. What is more, here you can find a comparison between bash and zsh.

I hope the article is helpful. Please let me know about your thoughts.

Update Nov 22, 2016: On the top of my article you can use great tips from Mastering the Terminal side of Android development.

  1. http://ohmyz.sh/
  2. https://github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/
  3. https://www.iterm2.com/
  4. http://brew.sh/

  1. These steps come from Rick Cogley’s blog