Provided by: bug


       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
       compctl 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
       command  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 combined 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
              command  with  a  pathname  containing slashes and no completion
              definition 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 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  normal,  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

              Note that aliases  are  expanded  before  the  command  name  is
              determined  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
              completed.  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
              commands not assigned any special behavior.  If  no  compctl  -D
              command 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
              specific commands.  This is especially useful when combined with
              extended completion (the -x  flag,  see  the  section  `Extended
              Completion'  below).   Using  this  flag  you can define default
              behavior 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  contains 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

       -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
       completions 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
              backslash; in this case the  argument  should  be  quoted.   For

                     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
              fignore 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
       manipulate 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
              appropriate  for  filenames  and ordinary strings.  However, for
              special effects, such as inserting a backquoted expression  from
              a  completion  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
              prefix 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
              completed  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
              parenthesis.  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
              character; this the same rule  used  for  the  AUTO_REMOVE_SLASH
              option.   The  option is most useful for list separators (comma,
              colon, etc.).

       -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
              arguments to the cmd supplied with the option. If the cmd string
              is  empty  the  first  word in the range is instead taken as the
              command 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
              completion code work on the parts of the current word  that  are
              separated  by  spaces. These parts are completed as if they were
              arguments 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
              completions  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
              explanation 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
              specify  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

       -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
              completions 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-',
              compctl 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
              completion 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
              different 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
       completion  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
       corresponding  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
              negative: -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
              corresponding 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
              considered 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
              hostnames,  though  you  must  make  the array yourself) will be
              completed.  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
              completion 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.