I have been using a MacBook Pro as my primary work computer for about 6 months now. As a developer, photographer, and video editor I have have always been partial to them in my personal life. I have been spending more and more time in the Terminal app then ever before. I have never really thought much about customizing my Bash Profile before I was trying to do Docker and Git auto-completion. After seeing a few examples, I started working on my own. If you want to jump straight to download the profile you can do that on GitHub.

Getting Started

Before jumping right into customizing my Bash profile I started doing some research and found that the version of Bash that ships with OS X is not the latest version. The per-installed version is a at least a major release behind. I have been using Homebrew as a package manager for OS X for some time, so when I found out that my Bash shell was behind I went to Homebrew to update it with the command below.


  brew install bash

With bash installed as /usr/local/bin/bash, I just needed to change my default shell to use this. I edited /etc/shells with vim and added the shell at the bottom of the list. Finally, I ran the below command to change the default shell.


  chsh -s /usr/local/bin/bash

After closing and reopening Terminal, I could run echo $BASH_VERSION and see 4.4.12(1)-release as the running version of bash.

Editing the Bash Profile

I don’t want this post to turn into a philosophical debate about which editor is the best. I use VSCode but you can use whatever editor you want. The Bash Profile is located in the home directory as: ~/.bash_profile.

Auto Completion

I am lazy, so I love being able to type a few letters and tab through my options when I might not know exactly what I am looking for. For Bash auto-completion, I again have turned to Homebrew to install a package called bash-completion. The following command installs the back-completion package.


  brew install bash-completion

It then needs to be added to the ~/.bash_profile. I have added it along with Git, Docker, and Azure CLI completion. This makes the auto-completion second of my profile look like the code below.


  # Auto Completion Files

  source '/Users/jgardner/lib/azure-cli/az.completion'
  source '/usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d/git-completion.bash'
  if [ -f $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion ]; then
  . $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion
  fi

  # -----------------------

Color the Terminal

In doing research on ways to customize the Terminal window I had seen themes but I also found out that it was possible to use colors to decorate items in the Terminal windows to make quickly identifying information easier. As a fan of the Solarized color profile, I found it in a host of theme files in This GitHub repo.

With the Solarized theme installed I wanted to add color context to the terminal. The below code does just that and a bit more. It ads the Git branch into the command line if there is one in the working directory.


parse_git_branch() {
    git branch 2> /dev/null | sed -e '/^[^*]/d' -e 's/* \(.*\)/ (\1)/'
  }

# Color and display of terminal
  export PS1="\[\033[36m\]\u\[\033[m\]@\[\033[32m\]\h:\[\033[33;1m\]\W\[\033[m\]\[\033[32m\]\$(parse_git_branch)\[\033[00m\] $ "
  export CLICOLOR=1
  export LSCOLORS=GxFxCxDxBxegedabagaced
  alias ls='ls -GFh'

The rest of the code adds functionality to the terminal that makes things a little bit easier to use. This includes things like changing the default functionality of the cd command to execute my preferred ls command ls -FGlAhp or moving into a newly created directory with the new mcd command.


  #   -----------------------------
  #   2. MAKE TERMINAL BETTER
  #   -----------------------------
  alias gogit='cd ~/Git/'                     # Goto my Git folder
  alias mv='mv -iv'                           # Preferred 'mv' implementation
  alias mkdir='mkdir -pv'                     # Preferred 'mkdir' implementation
  alias ll='ls -FGlAhp'                       # Preferred 'ls' implementation
  alias less='less -FSRXc'                    # Preferred 'less' implementation
  cd() { builtin cd "$@"; ll; }               # Always list directory contents upon 'cd'
  alias cd..='cd ../'                         # Go back 1 directory level (for fast typers)
  alias ..='cd ../'                           # Go back 1 directory level
  alias ...='cd ../../'                       # Go back 2 directory levels
  alias .3='cd ../../../'                     # Go back 3 directory levels
  alias .4='cd ../../../../'                  # Go back 4 directory levels
  alias .5='cd ../../../../../'               # Go back 5 directory levels
  alias .6='cd ../../../../../../'            # Go back 6 directory levels
  alias f='open -a Finder ./'                 # f:            Opens current directory in MacOS Finder
  alias ~="cd ~"                              # ~:            Go Home
  alias c='clear'                             # c:            Clear terminal display
  mcd () { mkdir -p "$1" && cd "$1"; }        # mcd:          Makes new Dir and jumps inside

  # Make Git Better
  alias gittree='git log --graph --oneline --all' # Display a tree-like view of Git commits


  #   extract:  Extract most know archives with one command
  #   ---------------------------------------------------------
      extract () {
          if [ -f $1 ] ; then
            case $1 in
              *.tar.bz2)   tar xjf $1     ;;
              *.tar.gz)    tar xzf $1     ;;
              *.bz2)       bunzip2 $1     ;;
              *.rar)       unrar e $1     ;;
              *.gz)        gunzip $1      ;;
              *.tar)       tar xf $1      ;;
              *.tbz2)      tar xjf $1     ;;
              *.tgz)       tar xzf $1     ;;
              *.zip)       unzip $1       ;;
              *.Z)         uncompress $1  ;;
              *.7z)        7z x $1        ;;
              *)     echo "'$1' cannot be extracted via extract()" ;;
               esac
           else
               echo "'$1' is not a valid file"
           fi
      }

  #   ---------------------------
  #   4. SEARCHING
  #   ---------------------------

  alias qfind="find . -name "                 # qfind:    Quickly search for file
  ff () { /usr/bin/find . -name "$@" ; }      # ff:       Find file under the current directory
  ffs () { /usr/bin/find . -name "$@"'*' ; }  # ffs:      Find file whose name starts with a given string
  ffe () { /usr/bin/find . -name '*'"$@" ; }  # ffe:      Find file whose name ends with a given string

  #   spotlight: Search for a file using MacOS Spotlight's metadata
  #   -----------------------------------------------------------
      spotlight () { mdfind "kMDItemDisplayName == '$@'wc"; }


  #   ---------------------------
  #   5. PROCESS MANAGEMENT
  #   ---------------------------

  #   findPid: find out the pid of a specified process
  #   -----------------------------------------------------
  #       Note that the command name can be specified via a regex
  #       E.g. findPid '/d$/' finds pids of all processes with names ending in 'd'
  #       Without the 'sudo' it will only find processes of the current user
  #   -----------------------------------------------------
      findPid () { lsof -t -c "$@" ; }

      #   memHogsTop, memHogsPs:  Find memory hogs
  #   -----------------------------------------------------
      alias memHogsTop='top -l 1 -o rsize | head -20'
      alias memHogsPs='ps wwaxm -o pid,stat,vsize,rss,time,command | head -10'

  #   cpuHogs:  Find CPU hogs
  #   -----------------------------------------------------
      alias cpu_hogs='ps wwaxr -o pid,stat,%cpu,time,command | head -10'

  #   topForever:  Continual 'top' listing (every 10 seconds)
  #   -----------------------------------------------------
      alias topForever='top -l 9999999 -s 10 -o cpu'

  #   ttop:  Recommended 'top' invocation to minimize resources
  #   ------------------------------------------------------------
  #       Taken from this macosxhints article
  #       http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20060816123853639
  #   ------------------------------------------------------------
      alias ttop="top -R -F -s 10 -o rsize"

  #   my_ps: List processes owned by my user:
  #   ------------------------------------------------------------
      my_ps() { ps $@ -u $USER -o pid,%cpu,%mem,start,time,bsdtime,command ; }

  #   ---------------------------
  #   6. NETWORKING
  #   ---------------------------

  alias myip='dig +short myip.opendns.com @resolver1.opendns.com'     # myip:         Public facing IP Address
  alias netCons='lsof -i'                                             # netCons:      Show all open TCP/IP sockets
  alias flushDNS='dscacheutil -flushcache'                            # flushDNS:     Flush out the DNS Cache
  alias lsock='sudo /usr/sbin/lsof -i -P'                             # lsock:        Display open sockets
  alias lsockU='sudo /usr/sbin/lsof -nP | grep UDP'                   # lsockU:       Display only open UDP sockets
  alias lsockT='sudo /usr/sbin/lsof -nP | grep TCP'                   # lsockT:       Display only open TCP sockets
  alias ipInfo0='ipconfig getpacket en0'                              # ipInfo0:      Get info on connections for en0
  alias ipInfo1='ipconfig getpacket en1'                              # ipInfo1:      Get info on connections for en1
  alias openPorts='sudo lsof -i | grep LISTEN'                        # openPorts:    All listening connections
  alias showBlocked='sudo ipfw list'                                  # showBlocked:  All ipfw rules inc/ blocked IPs

  #   ii:  display useful host related informaton
  #   -------------------------------------------------------------------
      ii() {
          echo -e "\nYou are logged on ${RED}$HOST"
          echo -e "\nAdditionnal information:$NC " ; uname -a
          echo -e "\n${RED}Users logged on:$NC " ; w -h
          echo -e "\n${RED}Current date :$NC " ; date
          echo -e "\n${RED}Machine stats :$NC " ; uptime
          echo -e "\n${RED}Current network location :$NC " ; scselect
          echo -e "\n${RED}Public facing IP Address :$NC " ;myip
          #echo -e "\n${RED}DNS Configuration:$NC " ; scutil --dns
          echo
      }

Do you have a custom Bash profile? I would love to see some of the things that you find useful in the comments below. If you find this content useful, be sure to follow me on Twitter or follow my RSS feed.