How to Create a Custom Message on your Terminal

How to Create a Custom Message on your Terminal.

Do you use your terminal a lot? I bet you would want to add some text to look at each time you launch your terminal. In this article, I'll show you how to create a custom message on your terminal using Figlet.

Figlet is a command-line utility that generates text banners, in a variety of typefaces, composed of letters made up of conglomerations of smaller ASCII characters.

NB: Before reading this, you may want to read my article on How to configure your terminal with ZSH.

If you are running on a macOS and don't have Homebrew installed, you need Homebrew installed. If you're not, skip the next step.

Step 1: Install Homebrew

Run the command below on your terminal.

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

But before installing Homebrew, you need to install the CLI tools for Xcode. Open your terminal and run the command:

xcode-select —-install

Step 2: Install Figlet

brew install figlet    # macOS
apt install figlet    # Debian/Ubuntu
yum install figlet    # CentOS/RHEL
dnf install figlet    # Fedora 22+

Once you have installed figlet, you can view all the fonts in the terminal by running the command:


To view how your message would be displayed using different fonts, type showfigfonts, followed by your message. In this scenario, I'll be using { } is poetry

showfigfonts "{ } is poetry"

The basic way of using figlet is by providing the text that you want to transform as an argument. To check the manual, run man figlet.

You can specify your desired font, using the -f flag.

figlet -f weird '{ } is poetry'

For a clearer output, you can use the -k flag to add a little space between the printed characters. This is evident when you use a compact font. Try running the two commands below and notice the difference.

figlet -f small '{ } is poetry'

figlet -k -f small '{ } is poetry'

Use the -c flag to centralize your text and the -r to display the text at the right.

Step 3: Add Colors

To go a bit further with the customization, add colors to the text.

echo -e "\e[32mDon’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown your own inner voice\e[0m"

The -e option of the echo command is used for parsing of the escape sequences.

To use the colors alongside figlet, run

echo "\e[32m"                    # Invoke a color
figlet -f slant "{ } is poetry"   # Use a slant font
echo "\e[0m"                     # Reset the color

The “\e[32m” sequence adds a green color to the terminal. The colors are derived from the ANSI escape code.

The “\e[0m” sequence resets the terminal. It removes all attributes (formatting and colors). Always add it at the end of each colored text.

You can combine attributes but ensure that the attributes are separated by a semicolon. To create a bold and underlined text, use \e[1;4;33m

echo -e "Learn, \e[1;4;33mUnlearn\e[0m, Relearn. \e[1mJust keep moving...\e[0m"

You're done with the bits. Now, add everything together to create an awesome terminal.

The customizations you've done so far disappears when you quit the terminal. To make it persist, copy the code and paste in your .zshrc or .bash_profile. I'll use the zshrc file. Run the command code ~/.zshrc on your terminal to open the file with your Visual Studio Code editor or nano ~/.zshrc to launch it with nano.

Then, paste the code below or your custom message in the .zshrc or .bash_profile file.

figlet -k '{ } is poetry'
echo -e "\e[32m Learn, \e[1;4;33mUnlearn,\e[0m \e[32mRelearn. \e[1mJust keep moving...\e[0m"

Finally, save your changes by running the command source ~/.zshrc.

Voila! you now have an awesome terminal and have gotten a sneak peek of how my terminal currently looks. Feel free to share this article with your friends.

Article Tag  Workflow Tooling

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Chiamaka Ikeanyi.

Chiamaka Ikeanyi

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