How to customize your ZSH Shell with oh-my-zsh

In this tutorial, you will discover how to amp up your terminal by using the ZSH and oh-my-zsh framework.
Captain Salem 2 min read
How to customize your ZSH Shell with oh-my-zsh

Z Shell or ZSH is one of the most powerful interactive login shell for Linux and Unix-based systems. It's built on bash and provides extended features over it. It also provides the ZSH scripting language which is closely similar to bash.

If you spend a lot of time on your terminal, you will know the need to quick and convenient features that makes your life easy. Luckily, zsh provides both of the above while providing a minimal learning curve.

Let's dive in.

Installing ZSH and git

Although zsh is default in latest versions of macOS, most Linux distributions still ship bash as the default shell.

Hence before using oh-my-zsh framework, its good to ensure you have ZSH installed.

On Debian and Debian-based distributions, we can run the command:

sudo apt-get upate && sudo apt-get install zsh git

On REHL/Fedora/CentOS

sudo yum install zsh git

On Arch/Manjaro

sudo pacman -S zsh git


sudo zypper install zsh git

Once installed, you can change the default shell to ZSH with the command:

Change default shell to ZSH

You can change the default shell to zsh with the command:

chsh -s /bin/zsh

Installing oh-my-zsh framework

oh-my-zsh is a free and open-source framework for zsh shell. It comes packed with features and customisations using the the native zsh fi configuration file.

oh-my-zsh also allows you to add plugins for support for various operations such as version control, node.js, python, and more.

Before you can use oh-my-zsh on your system, run the commands below to install it:


sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"


sh -c "$(wget -O -)"

The commands above will clone and install the oh-my-zsh framework on your system.

Setting Custom Theme

By default, oh-my-zsh will use a theme called robbyrussel after the creator of oh-my-zsh.

To set a different theme, navigate into the resource below:

Choose the theme you wish to apply and note down its name.

Next, edit the oh-my-zsh configuration file:

nano ~/.zshrc

Locate the ZSH_THEME entry and replace the value with the name of the theme you selected.

For example, if you selected the theme arrow:


Save and close the file.

To apply the changes, use the source command:

source ~/.zshrc

Installing oh-my-zsh plugins

You can also install a custom plugin which comes with its own set of features for that tool. To locate the plugin you wish to use, navigate into the resource below:

For example, to add the python plugin,

Edit the .zshrc file and add the plugin as shown:


The entry above enables the git and python plugins.

You can then use the source command to reload the changes.

Ensure to read the instructions and the supported commands for your plugin.


In this article, you learned how you can customize your terminal using ZSH and oh-my-zsh framework. Feel free to explore the docs for more.

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