Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

Support this Site

Become a Six Colors member and get access to an exclusive weekly podcast, community, newsletter and more.

By Dan Moren

Quick Tip: Customize your Terminal login with a message of the day

My adventure resurrecting my Power Mac G3 not only brought to light old files, but also some old computing habits, prompting a question from one Twitter user:

That custom logon message—aka the Message of the Day or MOTD—was once a staple of the command line, and yes, it is still a thing, even in the most recent version of macOS. Customizing it is simple.

Just pop open a Terminal window, and open the /etc/motd file in your favorite text editor. I prefer nano1 so, I would just run this command:

sudo nano /etc/motd

Editing the MOTD

Once you enter your administrator password, you’ll get a blank text edit window into which you can enter a message. Save that file (in nano, type ctrl-x and then ‘y’ when prompted to save) and the next time you open a new Terminal window, you’ll be greeted with your message of the day. Make sure to make it something upbeat—we all need it these days.


  1. Nano: the only way to stay out of the vi vs. emacs turf war. 

[Dan Moren is the official Dan of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.