FAQ: Environment - PS1 Environment Variable

This community-built FAQ covers the “PS1 Environment Variable” exercise from the lesson “Environment”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Web Development

Learn the Command Line

FAQs on the exercise PS1 Environment Variable

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Still not sure what I did wrong in this lesson What was supposed to happen was the change of $ to >>. I keep getting The “X” instead of check off in the instructions. I have a screenshot if I’m allow to send it to a staff member I would be more than happy to. I’m not sure if its a bug or I did something wrong.

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You can post the screenshot here or paste the code you ran.


#open ~/.bash_profile or ~/.bash_rc or ~/.zshrc (if you're using catalina)
#in your text editor:
PS1="whatever you want it to be";
export PS1;
#save and exit
#in your terminal:
source ~/.bash_profile #or whatever was the name of the file you modified, it has to be the right one with your system for it to work

Good day. i am not sure what is wrong i have tried the code several times and it is not working. i think it is a bug or something.

nano ~/.bash_profile

when in nano;
export ps1=">> "
ctrl + 0
ctrl + x
when back in command line;

i have tried several times and it isnt working. i have tried ps1, psl because it isnt clear if it is 1 or l and i have tried both several times. even thr code solution isnt working and i am tired


@discourse-admin please help. I haven’t been able to move forward for three days. this is frustrating please.

Good day. Please i haven’t been able to move forward for 3 days. i am sure my code is correct but i keep getting the “X” i.e. it keeps saying my code is wrong. please this is getting really frustrating and tiring. i have made bug reports, but no one is responding. and i haven’t been able to move forward for 3 days.`

export ps1=">> "

This is the code I used in nano, afterwhich I used ctrl + O and then enter to save and then Ctrl + X to exit nano. after i press enter it keeps giving me the error message “did you set the ps1 environment profile in nano?” please help me.

Hi, for the changes to take effect you probable have to source the file (after you save your changes in nano like you did).

So in the command prompt type something like: source ./filename.
I forget whether it’s ./bashrc or ./bashprofile for the codecademy platform.

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Hi. Thanks for the reply. I have done that already. It didn’t work as well. its quite unfair that the moderators and no one from codecademy is replying the bug report.

Finally figured it out after 5 days lol. Apparently the ‘P’ and the ‘S’ had to be upper case. lol. Thank you so much for replying me @toastedpitabread.

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Ugh SO FRUSTRATED! I’ve been doing this for two hours and I’m stuck, please please please help before I throw my computer out the window.

So I’m on step 2, I typed export PS1=">> "
Then I typed ctrl + O.
Now it’s asking me “File Name To Write”

Is that supposed to be there??? I’ve tried everything, there’s no reference to this in the instructions and no matter how many times I close, refresh, clear, restart the stupid page it keeps asking me this and I’m stuck and it’s such a waste of time and BAAAAAAAAH I’M SO FRUSTRATED PLEASE HELP!


Ok so some things. If you got that prompt, I assume you’re using the nano text editor.

$ nano example.txt
#opens a file in nano text editor name example.txt

On the top, your file name will show:

Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 8.04.03 PM

If you press control-o after making changes it will ask you to confirm to what file to save the changes to:

Pressing enter will confirm this:

Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 8.04.13 PM

Now, in your example, you’re probably dealing with some profile rc file like .bash_profile. (it’s probably indicated in the instructions).

Once you save the file with the correct name, then you type
source ./.bash_profile (or whatever the file name is) to make your changes update in the shell.

Hi, I was stuck too but solved at the end, please try the following:
1- reset the exercise from Get unstuck.
2- do the first exercise and go to the bash_profile.
3- in the bash exercise copy this text (export PS1=">> ") from the lesson and past it in the bash_profle
4- Ctrl+O → enter → Ctrl + X → enter
it worked with me, just make sure to restart the whole exercise, hope it works

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"Hello, codestudents,

what is the difference between (in NANO):

PS1=">> "


export PS1=">> "


both options gave me the same result. (of course for a newbie like me)

PS1 what does it mean? What is is used for?
I’m not sure if I’m fully understanding it. I might once I continue to the next page. But this says to use PS! to change the $ variable to >>. Is that the only thing PS1 does or can change? What IS it actually for, what does it mean, what all can it be used for?
Not sure I’m asking the question correctly.

PS1 is PS the number one not lowercase L

I’m surprised this page is still buggy.

Yes, thank you, Abdallah. Yesterday it was stuck, but hat worked well for me this morning.

I’m a newbie too, but I think the space after the chevrons makes the text in the editor look less cramped.