Tips and tricks


Useful settings

You may find the following vim settings useful when using the Powerline statusline:

set laststatus=2 " Always display the statusline in all windows
set showtabline=2 " Always display the tabline, even if there is only one tab
set noshowmode " Hide the default mode text (e.g. -- INSERT -- below the statusline)


Terminus font and urxvt

The Terminus fonts does not have the powerline glyphs and unless someone submits a patch to the font author, it is unlikely to happen. However, Andre Klärner came up with this work around: In your ~/.Xdefault file add the following:

urxvt*font: xft:Terminus:pixelsize=12,xft:Inconsolata\ for\ Powerline:pixelsize=12

This will allow urxvt to fallback onto the Inconsolata fonts in case it does not find the right glyphs within the terminus font.

Source Code Pro font and urxvt

Much like the terminus font that was mentioned above, a similar fix can be applied to the Source Code Pro fonts.

In the ~/.Xdefaults add the following:

URxvt*font: xft:Source\ Code\ Pro\ Medium:pixelsize=13:antialias=true:hinting=true,xft:Source\ Code\ Pro\ Medium:pixelsize=13:antialias=true:hinting=true

I noticed that Source Code Pro has the glyphs there already, but the pixel size of the fonts play a role in whether or not the > or the < separators showing up or not. Using font size 12, glyphs on the right hand side of the powerline are present, but the ones on the left don’t. Pixel size 14, brings the reverse problem. Font size 13 seems to work just fine.

Reloading powerline after update

Once you have updated powerline you generally have the following options:

  1. Restart the application you are using it in. This is the safest one. Will not work if the application uses powerline-daemon.

  2. For shell and tmux bindings (except for zsh with libzpython): do not do anything if you do not use powerline-daemon, run powerline-daemon --replace if you do.

  3. Use powerline reloading feature.


    This feature is an unsafe one. It is not guaranteed to work always, it may render your Python constantly error out in place of displaying powerline and sometimes may render your application useless, forcing you to restart.

    Do not report any bugs occurred when using this feature unless you know both what caused it and how this can be fixed.

    • When using zsh with libzpython use



      This shell function is only defined when using libzpython.

    • When using IPython use

      %powerline reload
    • When using Vim use

      py powerline.reload()
      " or (depending on Python version you are using)
      py3 powerline.reload()