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zshcompctl(1)                                                    zshcompctl(1)


       zshcompctl - zsh programmable completion


       This  version  of zsh has two ways of performing completion of words on
       the command line.  New users of the shell may prefer to use  the  newer
       and more powerful system based on shell functions; this is described in
       zshcompsys(1), and the basic shell  mechanisms  which  support  it  are
       described in zshcompwid(1).  This manual entry describes the older com-
       pctl command.
       compctl [ -CDT ] options [ command ... ]
       compctl [ -CDT ] options [ -x pattern options - ... -- ] [ + options  [
       -x ... -- ] ... [+] ] [ command ... ]
       compctl -M match-specs ...
       compctl -L [ -CDTM ] [ command ... ]
       compctl + command ...

       Control the editor's completion behavior according to the supplied  set
       of options.  Various editing commands, notably expand-or-complete-word,
       usually bound to tab, will attempt to complete  a  word  typed  by  the
       user, while others, notably delete-char-or-list, usually bound to ^D in
       EMACS editing mode, list the possibilities; compctl controls what those
       possibilities  are.  They may for example be filenames (the most common
       case, and  hence  the  default),  shell  variables,  or  words  from  a
       user-specified list.


       Completion of the arguments of a command may be different for each com-
       mand or may use the default.  The behavior when completing the  command
       word  itself may also be separately specified.  These correspond to the
       following flags and arguments, all of which (except for -L) may be com-
       bined with any combination of the options described subsequently in the
       section `Option Flags':

       command ...
              controls completion for the named commands, which must be listed
              last on the command line.  If completion is attempted for a com-
              mand with a pathname containing slashes and no completion  defi-
              nition  is  found,  the search is retried with the last pathname
              component. If the command starts with a =, completion  is  tried
              with the pathname of the command.

              Any  of the command strings may be patterns of the form normally
              used for filename generation.  These should be quoted to protect
              them  from  immediate  expansion; for example the command string
              'foo*' arranges for completion  of  the  words  of  any  command
              beginning  with  foo.  When completion is attempted, all pattern
              completions are tried in the reverse order of  their  definition
              until one matches.  By default, completion then proceeds as nor-
              mal, i.e. the shell will try to generate more  matches  for  the
              specific  command on the command line; this can be overridden by
              including -tn in the flags for the pattern completion.

              Note that aliases are expanded before the command name is deter-
              mined  unless  the COMPLETE_ALIASES option is set.  Commands may
              not be combined with the -C, -D or -T flags.

       -C     controls completion when the command word itself is  being  com-
              pleted.  If no compctl -C command has been issued,  the names of
              any executable command (whether in the path or specific  to  the
              shell, such as aliases or functions) are completed.

       -D     controls  default  completion behavior for the arguments of com-
              mands not assigned any special behavior.  If no compctl -D  com-
              mand has been issued, filenames are completed.

       -T     supplies completion flags to be used before any other processing
              is done, even before processing for compctls  defined  for  spe-
              cific  commands.   This  is especially useful when combined with
              extended completion (the -x flag, see the section `Extended Com-
              pletion'  below).  Using this flag you can define default behav-
              ior which will apply to all commands without exception,  or  you
              can  alter the standard behavior for all commands.  For example,
              if your access to the user database is too slow and/or  it  con-
              tains  too  many users (so that completion after `~' is too slow
              to be usable), you can use

                     compctl -T -x 's[~] C[0,[^/]#]' -k friends -S/ -tn

              to complete the strings in the array friends after a  `~'.   The
              C[...]  argument  is necessary so that this form of ~-completion
              is not tried after the directory name is finished.

       -L     lists the existing completion behavior in a manner suitable  for
              putting  into  a  start-up  script; the existing behavior is not
              changed.  Any combination of the above forms,  or  the  -M  flag
              (which must follow the -L flag), may be specified, otherwise all
              defined completions are listed.  Any other  flags  supplied  are

       no argument
              If  no  argument is given, compctl lists all defined completions
              in an abbreviated form;  with a list of options, all completions
              with  those  flags  set  (not  counting extended completion) are

       If the + flag is alone and followed immediately by  the  command  list,
       the  completion  behavior  for all the commands in the list is reset to
       the default.  In other words,  completion  will  subsequently  use  the
       options specified by the -D flag.

       The  form  with -M as the first and only option defines global matching
       specifications (see zshcompwid). The match specifications given will be
       used  for  every  completion attempt (only when using compctl, not with
       the new completion system) and are tried in the order in which they are
       defined until one generates at least one match. E.g.:

              compctl -M '' 'm:{a-zA-Z}={A-Za-z}'

       This  will first try completion without any global match specifications
       (the empty string) and, if that generates no  matches,  will  try  case
       insensitive completion.


       [ -fcFBdeaRGovNAIOPZEnbjrzu/12 ]
       [ -k array ] [ -g globstring ] [ -s subststring ]
       [ -K function ]
       [ -Q ] [ -P prefix ] [ -S suffix ]
       [ -W file-prefix ] [ -H num pattern ]
       [ -q ] [ -X explanation ] [ -Y explanation ]
       [ -y func-or-var ] [ -l cmd ] [ -h cmd ] [ -U ]
       [ -t continue ] [ -J name ] [ -V name ]
       [ -M match-spec ]

       The remaining options specify the type of command arguments to look for
       during completion.  Any combination of these flags  may  be  specified;
       the  result is a sorted list of all the possibilities.  The options are
       as follows.

   Simple Flags
       These produce completion lists made up by the shell itself:

       -f     Filenames and file system paths.

       -/     Just file system paths.

       -c     Command names, including aliases, shell functions, builtins  and
              reserved words.

       -F     Function names.

       -B     Names of builtin commands.

       -m     Names of external commands.

       -w     Reserved words.

       -a     Alias names.

       -R     Names of regular (non-global) aliases.

       -G     Names of global aliases.

       -d     This can be combined with -F, -B, -w, -a, -R and -G to get names
              of disabled functions, builtins, reserved words or aliases.

       -e     This option (to show enabled commands) is in effect by  default,
              but may be combined with -d; -de in combination with -F, -B, -w,
              -a, -R and  -G  will  complete  names  of  functions,  builtins,
              reserved words or aliases whether or not they are disabled.

       -o     Names of shell options (see zshoptions(1)).

       -v     Names of any variable defined in the shell.

       -N     Names of scalar (non-array) parameters.

       -A     Array names.

       -I     Names of integer variables.

       -O     Names of read-only variables.

       -p     Names of parameters used by the shell (including special parame-

       -Z     Names of shell special parameters.

       -E     Names of environment variables.

       -n     Named directories.

       -b     Key binding names.

       -j     Job names:  the first word of the  job  leader's  command  line.
              This is useful with the kill builtin.

       -r     Names of running jobs.

       -z     Names of suspended jobs.

       -u     User names.

   Flags with Arguments
       These have user supplied arguments to determine how the list of comple-
       tions is to be made up:

       -k array
              Names taken from the elements of $array (note that the `$'  does
              not  appear  on  the command line).  Alternatively, the argument
              array itself may be a set of space- or comma-separated values in
              parentheses,  in which any delimiter may be escaped with a back-
              slash; in this case the argument should be quoted.  For example,

                     compctl -k "(cputime filesize datasize stacksize
                                 coredumpsize resident descriptors)" limit

       -g globstring
              The globstring is expanded using filename globbing; it should be
              quoted to protect it from  immediate  expansion.  The  resulting
              filenames  are  taken  as  the possible completions.  Use `*(/)'
              instead of `*/' for directories.  The fignore special  parameter
              is  not  applied  to the resulting files.  More than one pattern
              may be given separated by blanks. (Note that brace expansion  is
              not  part  of  globbing.   Use the syntax `(either|or)' to match

       -s subststring
              The subststring is split into words and  these  words  are  than
              expanded  using all shell expansion mechanisms (see zshexpn(1)).
              The resulting words are taken as possible completions.  The fig-
              nore  special  parameter  is not applied to the resulting files.
              Note that -g is faster for filenames.

       -K function
              Call the given function to get the completions.  Unless the name
              starts with an underscore, the function is passed two arguments:
              the prefix and the suffix of the word on which completion is  to
              be  attempted, in other words those characters before the cursor
              position, and those from the cursor position onwards.  The whole
              command  line  can  be  accessed with the -c and -l flags of the
              read builtin. The function should set the variable reply  to  an
              array  containing  the completions (one completion per element);
              note that reply should not be made local to the function.   From
              such a function the command line can be accessed with the -c and
              -l flags to the read builtin.  For example,

                     function whoson { reply=(`users`); }
                     compctl -K whoson talk

              completes only logged-on users after `talk'.  Note that `whoson'
              must return an array, so `reply=`users`' would be incorrect.

       -H num pattern
              The  possible  completions  are  taken from the last num history
              lines.  Only words matching pattern are taken.  If num  is  zero
              or  negative the whole history is searched and if pattern is the
              empty string all words are taken (as with `*').  A  typical  use

                     compctl -D -f + -H 0 ''

              which  forces  completion to look back in the history list for a
              word if no filename matches.

   Control Flags
       These do not directly specify types of name to be completed, but manip-
       ulate the options that do:

       -Q     This  instructs the shell not to quote any metacharacters in the
              possible completions.  Normally the results of a completion  are
              inserted into the command line with any metacharacters quoted so
              that they are interpreted as normal characters.  This is  appro-
              priate for filenames and ordinary strings.  However, for special
              effects, such as inserting a backquoted expression from  a  com-
              pletion  array (-k) so that the expression will not be evaluated
              until the complete line is executed, this option must be used.

       -P prefix
              The prefix is inserted just before  the  completed  string;  any
              initial  part already typed will be completed and the whole pre-
              fix ignored for completion purposes.  For example,

                     compctl -j -P "%" kill

              inserts a `%' after the kill  command  and  then  completes  job

       -S suffix
              When a completion is found the suffix is inserted after the com-
              pleted string.  In the case of menu  completion  the  suffix  is
              inserted  immediately, but it is still possible to cycle through
              the list of completions by repeatedly hitting the same key.

       -W file-prefix
              With directory file-prefix:  for command,  file,  directory  and
              globbing completion (options -c, -f, -/, -g), the file prefix is
              implicitly added in front of the completion.  For example,

                     compctl -/ -W ~/Mail maildirs

              completes any subdirectories to any depth beneath the  directory
              ~/Mail,  although  that  prefix  does  not appear on the command
              line.  The file-prefix may also be of the form accepted  by  the
              -k  flag,  i.e. the name of an array or a literal list in paren-
              thesis. In this case all the directories in  the  list  will  be
              searched for possible completions.

       -q     If used with a suffix as specified by the -S option, this causes
              the suffix to be removed if the next character typed is a  blank
              or  does  not  insert anything or if the suffix consists of only
              one character and the next character typed is the  same  charac-
              ter;  this  the same rule used for the AUTO_REMOVE_SLASH option.
              The option is most useful for  list  separators  (comma,  colon,

       -l cmd This  option  restricts the range of command line words that are
              considered to  be  arguments.   If  combined  with  one  of  the
              extended  completion  patterns  `p[...]',  `r[...]', or `R[...]'
              (see the section  `Extended  Completion'  below)  the  range  is
              restricted  to the range of arguments specified in the brackets.
              Completion is then performed as if these had been given as argu-
              ments  to the cmd supplied with the option. If the cmd string is
              empty the first word in the range is instead taken as  the  com-
              mand  name,  and  command name completion performed on the first
              word in the range.  For example,

                     compctl -x 'r[-exec,;]' -l '' -- find

              completes arguments between `-exec' and the  following  `;'  (or
              the  end  of  the command line if there is no such string) as if
              they were a separate command line.

       -h cmd Normally zsh completes quoted strings  as  a  whole.  With  this
              option,  completion can be done separately on different parts of
              such strings. It works like the -l option but makes the  comple-
              tion  code  work on the parts of the current word that are sepa-
              rated by spaces. These parts are completed as if they were argu-
              ments  to  the  given cmd. If cmd is the empty string, the first
              part is completed as a command name, as with -l.

       -U     Use the whole list of possible completions, whether or not  they
              actually  match the word on the command line.  The word typed so
              far will be deleted.  This is most useful with a function (given
              by  the  -K option) which can examine the word components passed
              to it (or via the read builtin's -c and -l flags)  and  use  its
              own criteria to decide what matches.  If there is no completion,
              the original word is retained.  Since the produced possible com-
              pletions  seldom  have interesting common prefixes and suffixes,
              menu completion is started immediately if AUTO_MENU is  set  and
              this flag is used.

       -y func-or-var
              The  list  provided  by  func-or-var is displayed instead of the
              list of completions whenever a listing is required;  the  actual
              completions to be inserted are not affected.  It can be provided
              in two ways. Firstly, if func-or-var begins with a $ it  defines
              a  variable,  or  if it begins with a left parenthesis a literal
              array, which contains the list.  A variable may have been set by
              a call to a function using the -K option.  Otherwise it contains
              the name of a function which will  be  executed  to  create  the
              list.   The  function  will  be  passed  as an argument list all
              matching completions, including prefixes and  suffixes  expanded
              in  full, and should set the array reply to the result.  In both
              cases, the display list will only be retrieved after a  complete
              list of matches has been created.

              Note that the returned list does not have to correspond, even in
              length, to the original set of matches, and may be passed  as  a
              scalar instead of an array.  No special formatting of characters
              is performed on the output in this case; in particular, newlines
              are  printed  literally  and if they appear output in columns is

       -X explanation
              Print explanation when trying completion on the current  set  of
              options.  A  `%n'  in  this  string is replaced by the number of
              matches that were added for this explanation string.  The expla-
              nation  only  appears  if  completion was tried and there was no
              unique match, or when listing completions.  Explanation  strings
              will  be listed together with the matches of the group specified
              together with the -X option (using the -J or -V option). If  the
              same  explanation  string  is  given to multiple -X options, the
              string appears only once (for each  group)  and  the  number  of
              matches  shown  for  the `%n' is the total number of all matches
              for each of these uses. In any case, the explanation string will
              only  be  shown  if  there  was at least one match added for the
              explanation string.

              The sequences  %B,  %b,  %S,  %s,  %U,  and  %u  specify  output
              attributes (bold, standout, and underline), %F, %f, %K, %k spec-
              ify foreground and background colours, and %{...%} can  be  used
              to include literal escape sequences as in prompts.

       -Y explanation
              Identical  to  -X,  except  that the explanation first undergoes
              expansion following  the  usual  rules  for  strings  in  double
              quotes.   The  expansion will be carried out after any functions
              are called for the -K or -y options, allowing them to set  vari-

       -t continue
              The  continue-string  contains  a character that specifies which
              set of completion flags should be used next.  It is useful:

              (i) With -T, or when trying a list of pattern completions,  when
              compctl  would  usually  continue with ordinary processing after
              finding matches; this can be suppressed with `-tn'.

              (ii) With a list of alternatives separated by  +,  when  compctl
              would  normally  stop  when  one  of  the alternatives generates
              matches.  It can be forced to consider the next set  of  comple-
              tions by adding `-t+' to the flags of the alternative before the

              (iii) In an extended completion list (see below),  when  compctl
              would  normally  continue  until  a set of conditions succeeded,
              then use only the immediately following flags.  With `-t-', com-
              pctl  will  continue  trying extended completions after the next
              `-'; with `-tx' it will  attempt  completion  with  the  default
              flags, in other words those before the `-x'.

       -J name
              This  gives  the  name of the group the matches should be placed
              in. Groups are listed and sorted separately; likewise, menu com-
              pletion  will  offer  the  matches in the groups in the order in
              which the groups were defined. If no group  name  is  explicitly
              given,  the  matches  are  stored  in a group named default. The
              first time a group name is encountered, a group with  that  name
              is  created. After that all matches with the same group name are
              stored in that group.

              This can be useful with non-exclusive  alternative  completions.
              For example, in

                     compctl -f -J files -t+ + -v -J variables foo

              both  files  and  variables are possible completions, as the -t+
              forces both sets of alternatives before and after the  +  to  be
              considered  at  once.   Because  of the -J options, however, all
              files are listed before all variables.

       -V name
              Like -J, but matches within the group  will  not  be  sorted  in
              listings  nor in menu completion. These unsorted groups are in a
              different name space from the sorted ones, so groups defined  as
              -J files and -V files are distinct.

       -1     If  given  together  with  the -V option, makes only consecutive
              duplicates in the group be removed. Note that  groups  with  and
              without this flag are in different name spaces.

       -2     If given together with the -J or -V option, makes all duplicates
              be kept. Again, groups with and without this flag are in differ-
              ent name spaces.

       -M match-spec
              This  defines  additional  matching  control specifications that
              should be used only when testing words for  the  list  of  flags
              this  flag  appears  in.  The format of the match-spec string is
              described in zshcompwid.


       compctl [ -CDT ] options + options [ + ... ] [ + ] command ...

       The form with `+' specifies alternative options.  Completion  is  tried
       with the options before the first `+'. If this produces no matches com-
       pletion is tried with the flags after the `+' and so on. If  there  are
       no  flags  after the last `+' and a match has not been found up to that
       point, default completion is tried.  If the list of flags contains a -t
       with  a + character, the next list of flags is used even if the current
       list produced matches.

       Additional options are available that restrict completion to some  part
       of the command line; this is referred to as `extended completion'.


       compctl [ -CDT ] options -x pattern options - ... --
                [ command ... ]
       compctl [ -CDT ] options [ -x pattern options - ... -- ]
                [ + options [ -x ... -- ] ... [+] ] [ command ... ]

       The  form  with  `-x'  specifies  extended  completion for the commands
       given; as shown, it may be combined with alternative  completion  using
       `+'.  Each pattern is examined in turn; when a match is found, the cor-
       responding options, as described in the section `Option  Flags'  above,
       are  used to generate possible completions.  If no pattern matches, the
       options given before the -x are used.

       Note that each pattern should be supplied  as  a  single  argument  and
       should be quoted to prevent expansion of metacharacters by the shell.

       A  pattern  is built of sub-patterns separated by commas; it matches if
       at least one of these sub-patterns matches  (they  are  `or'ed).  These
       sub-patterns  are  in  turn composed of other sub-patterns separated by
       white spaces which match if all of the  sub-patterns  match  (they  are
       `and'ed).  An element of the sub-patterns is of the form `c[...][...]',
       where the pairs of brackets may be repeated as often as necessary,  and
       matches  if  any  of the sets of brackets match (an `or').  The example
       below makes this clearer.

       The elements may be any of the following:

              Matches if the current word on the command line starts with  one
              of the strings given in brackets.  The string is not removed and
              is not part of the completion.

              Like s[string] except that the string is part of the completion.

              Matches  if the number of the current word is between one of the
              from and to pairs inclusive. The comma and to are  optional;  to
              defaults  to  the  same value as from.  The numbers may be nega-
              tive: -n refers to the n'th last word on the line.

              Matches if the string matches the word offset by offset from the
              current word position.  Usually offset will be negative.

              Like c but using pattern matching instead.

              Matches  if  the  word  in position index is equal to the corre-
              sponding string.  Note that the word count  is  made  after  any
              alias expansion.

              Like w but using pattern matching instead.

              Matches if the current word contains string.  Anything up to and
              including the indexth occurrence of this string will not be con-
              sidered part of the completion, but the rest will.  index may be
              negative to count from the end: in most cases, index will  be  1
              or -1.  For example,

                     compctl -s '`users`' -x 'n[1,@]' -k hosts -- talk

              will  usually  complete  usernames, but if you insert an @ after
              the name, names from the array hosts (assumed to  contain  host-
              names,  though  you  must  make the array yourself) will be com-
              pleted.  Other commands such as rcp can be handled similarly.

              Like n except that the string  will  be  taken  as  a  character
              class.   Anything  up to and including the indexth occurrence of
              any of the characters in string will not be considered  part  of
              the completion.

              Matches  if  the  total number of words lies between min and max

              Matches if the cursor is after a  word  with  prefix  str1.   If
              there  is also a word with prefix str2 on the command line after
              the one matched by str1 it matches only if the cursor is  before
              this  word. If the comma and str2 are omitted, it matches if the
              cursor is after a word with prefix str1.

              Like r but using pattern matching instead.

              Matches the word currently being completed is in  single  quotes
              and the str begins with the letter `s', or if completion is done
              in double quotes and str starts with the letter `d', or if  com-
              pletion is done in backticks and str starts with a `b'.


              compctl -u -x 's[+] c[-1,-f],s[-f+]' \
                -g '~/Mail/*(:t)' - 's[-f],c[-1,-f]' -f -- mail

       This is to be interpreted as follows:

       If the current command is mail, then

              if ((the current word begins with + and the previous word is -f)
              or (the current word begins with -f+)), then complete the
              non-directory part (the `:t' glob modifier) of files in the directory
              ~/Mail; else

              if the current word begins with -f or the previous word was -f, then
              complete any file; else

              complete user names.

zsh 5.0.2                      December 21, 2012                 zshcompctl(1)

Mac OS X 10.9 - Generated Sun Oct 13 19:24:21 CDT 2013
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