The Z Shell, commonly known as ZSH, serves as an expanded iteration of the Bourne Shell (sh). It incorporates numerous new features, offers accessibility to themes, and provides support for plugins. If you’ve been accustomed to using Bash on your MacOS, transitioning to ZSH should be seamless as it shares the same shell foundation as Bash.
Positioned as an advancement over Bash, ZSH boasts notable features such as:
- Plugin and Theme Support: ZSH now accommodates various plugin frameworks, enhancing its functionality.
- Spelling Correction: ZSH can rectify minor typing errors, and it also features approximate completion.
- Automatic cd: Simply typing the directory name enables automatic navigation to that directory.
- Recursive Path Expansion: An illustrative example of ZSH’s recursive path expansion is that ” /u/lo/b” expands to ” /usr/local/bin”.
What is a .zshrc file?
The .zshrc file, found on any MacOS where a user has created it (as these files aren’t generated by the shell by default), serves as a Z-Shell or ZSH resource file. It essentially functions as a script that executes each time you initiate the ZSH shell. The primary purpose of this file is to establish the environment for interactive shells. This encompasses the configuration of paths in ZSH, any initializations desired during shell startup, and related settings, all consolidated within the ~/.zshrc file. The tilde (~) denotes the file’s location in the current user’s home directory, while .zshrc specifically refers to the file itself.
How to create a .zshrc file?
Given that macOS doesn’t automatically include the ~/.zshrc file, which is the ZSH configuration file, you’ll need to create it manually. The
/.zshrc file resides in your user’s home directory, denoted by the ‘‘.
To initiate the creation of the .zshrc file, open a Terminal or iTerm window and follow the steps outlined below. You can choose any text editor you’re comfortable with; for this process, we’ll use nano.
Open a Terminal window and execute the command:
- nano ~/.zshrc
In the opened nano editor, set the ZSH_THEME value to your preference. For example:
To save your changes, press CTRL + X, prompting the question:
- Save modified buffer (ANSWERING “No” WILL DESTROY CHANGES)?
- Type ‘Y’ to confirm, and you’ll see a new prompt. Take note of the file path corresponding to your local user’s path.
- Press the return key to save the file and return to the command line prompt in the Terminal. You can now exit the Terminal since the changes should be loaded.
- Close the terminal and open a new window. You should observe the ~/.zshrc settings reflected in the new window.
This process ensures the creation and customization of your .zshrc file, enabling the desired configuration for your ZSH shell.
Where is the .zshrc file located on Mac?
If you’ve already generated a .zshrc file in your ZSH shell, finding it is a straightforward process. Here’s a guide on locating your .zshrc file on MacOS:
- Open Spotlight Search.
- Type “Terminal” or an equivalent and launch it.
- Enter the command
cd ~to navigate to your user folder.
- Then, input
ls -ato display all files, including hidden ones.
- Scan the listed files for the .zshrc file, which should be among them.
- To view the file’s content, use the command
% cat ~/.zshrc.
If you encounter the error “cat: /Users/code2care/.zshrc: No such file or directory,” it means the file hasn’t been created. In such a scenario, refer to the previous instructions to create the .zshrc file.