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Powerline is a statusline plugin for Vim, and provides statuslines and prompts for several other applications, including zsh, bash, tmux, IPython, Awesome, i3 and Qtile.


Install powerline and powerline-fonts from the official repositories

Note: Installing powerline-fonts does not provide any of the patched fonts from powerline-fonts-gitAUR



Add the following to your ~/.bashrc:

powerline-daemon -q
. /usr/share/powerline/bindings/bash/powerline.sh

Close and reopen your terminal and it should be working. If not, check the Powerline bash prompt usage instructions to ensure that it has not changed.

You can also enter:

source ~/.bashrc

if you don't want to close and re-open your terminal.


Add the following to your ~/.zshrc:

powerline-daemon -q
. /usr/lib/python3.7/site-packages/powerline/bindings/zsh/powerline.zsh


Note: Watch out for interfering styles in .tmux.conf (i.e. window-status-format)

Add the following to your ~/.tmux.conf:

source /usr/lib/python3.7/site-packages/powerline/bindings/tmux/powerline.conf
Note: It is sufficient to just add this to .tmux.conf (adding anything zshrc or bashrc isn't neccessary).


Install powerline-vim

Note: If you have more than one version of python installed, add let g:powerline_pycmd="py3" or let g:powerline_pycmd="py" to your .vimrc.
Tip: By default, the statusline (and therefore Powerline) only appears when there are multiple windows open. To show it all the time, use :set laststatus=2
Tip: This package installs Powerline to /usr/share/vim/vimfiles/plugin, which vim is configured to check by default, meaning this will install Powerline in vim for all users and may require additional configuration. If this is not intended, consider either using a vim plugin manager, or installing the powerline package and adding set rtp+=/usr/lib/python3.7/site-packages/powerline/bindings/vim to your .vimrc.

Detailed Usage

For detailed usage instructions, such as configuring your system to use Powerline with other shells, window manager widgets, etc., please refer to the Usage section of the Powerline documentation.


The official Powerline docs refer to "powerline_root", which for Arch Linux is the following:


To customize powerline, copy a default config to $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/powerline/... Then edit the file to your liking.

Example to customize powerline for tmux:

cp /usr/lib/python3.7/site-packages/powerline/config_files/themes/tmux/default.json ~/.config/powerline/themes/tmux/default.json


Alternative Installation

Using python-pip

Using a vim plugin manager

There are many vim plugin managers available which are able to install and update Powerline, assuming you are using a version of vim with Python support or you install python. For example, using vim-plugAUR from the AUR, add the following to your .vimrc file:

call plug#begin('path/to/vim/plugins/directory')

Plug 'powerline/powerline'

call plug#end()

Substitute path/to/vim/plugins/directory with the actual directory, such as ~/.vim/plugged, or ~/.local/share/nvim/plugged for Neovim, and run the vim-plug command :PlugInstall within vim. This will download Powerline from the Powerline GitHub page to the specified plugin directory and add it to vim.

Alternative Fonts

A reduced set of fonts for the text console are available in powerline-console-fontsAUR.

Alternative Package

There is currently one known alternative to Powerline - Vim-airline. It is a part of vim-plugins and can be installed separately as vim-airline. Optionally, install vim-airline-themes.

Note: In vim-airline, showing the current git branch relies on vim-fugitive. vim-fugitive v2.4 made a change that broke this feature. Upstream will not tag a new release with the single commit that fixes compatibility with vim-fugitive v2.4. Until then, if you want to see the current git branch, you have to: use vim-airline-gitAUR; downgrade vim-fugitive to v2.3; or make your own vim-airline v0.9.0, cherry-picking upstream's fixing commit. If you decide to cherry-pick, it doesn't apply cleanly, so you'll need to fix that too.