Provided by: bug


       zshcompsys - zsh completion system


       This describes the shell code for the `new' completion system, referred
       to as compsys.  It is written in shell functions based on the  features
       described in zshcompwid(1).

       The features are contextual, sensitive to the point at which completion
       is started.  Many completions are already provided.  For this reason, a
       user  can perform a great many tasks without knowing any details beyond
       how  to  initialize  the  system,   which   is   described   below   in

       The context that decides what completion is to be performed may be
       o      an  argument  or option position: these describe the position on
              the command line at which completion is requested.  For  example
              `first  argument  to  rmdir,  the  word  being completed names a

       o      a special context, denoting an element in  the  shell's  syntax.
              For   example   `a  word  in  command  position'  or  `an  array

       A full context specification  contains  other  elements,  as  we  shall

       Besides  commands  names  and  contexts,  the  system  employs two more
       concepts, styles  and  tags.   These  provide  ways  for  the  user  to
       configure the system's behaviour.

       Tags  play  a dual role.  They serve as a classification system for the
       matches, typically indicating a class of object that the user may  need
       to  distinguish.   For  example,  when  completing  arguments of the ls
       command the user may prefer to try files before directories, so both of
       these are tags.  They also appear as the rightmost element in a context

       Styles modify various operations of  the  completion  system,  such  as
       output  formatting,  but also what kinds of completers are used (and in
       what order), or which tags are examined.  Styles may  accept  arguments
       and   are  manipulated  using  the  zstyle  command  described  in  see

       In summary, tags describe what the completion objects  are,  and  style
       how  they  are  to  be  completed.  At various points of execution, the
       completion system checks what styles and/or tags are  defined  for  the
       current  context,  and  uses  that  to  modify  its behavior.  The full
       description of context handling, which determines how  tags  and  other
       elements of the context influence the behaviour of styles, is described

       When a completion is requested, a dispatcher function  is  called;  see
       the  description  of  _main_complete  in  the list of control functions
       below. This dispatcher decides  which  function  should  be  called  to
       produce  the  completions, and calls it. The result is passed to one or
       more  completers,  functions  that  implement   individual   completion
       strategies:  simple completion, error correction, completion with error
       correction, menu selection, etc.

       More generally, the shell functions contained in the completion  system
       are of two types:
       o      those beginning `comp' are to be called directly; there are only
              a few of these;

       o      those beginning `_' are called  by  the  completion  code.   The
              shell   functions   of  this  set,  which  implement  completion
              behaviour and may be bound to keystrokes,  are  referred  to  as
              `widgets'.  These proliferate as new completions are required.


       If the system was installed completely, it should be enough to call the
       shell function compinit from your initialization  file;  see  the  next
       section.   However,  the  function  compinstall can be run by a user to
       configure various aspects of the completion system.

       Usually, compinstall will insert code into .zshrc, although if that  is
       not  writable  it will save it in another file and tell you that file's
       location.  Note that it is up to you to make sure that the lines  added
       to  .zshrc are actually run; you may, for example, need to move them to
       an earlier place in the file if .zshrc usually returns early.  So  long
       as you keep them all together (including the comment lines at the start
       and finish), you can rerun compinstall and it will correctly locate and
       modify  these  lines.   Note,  however,  that  any code you add to this
       section by hand is likely to be lost if you rerun compinstall, although
       lines using the command `zstyle' should be gracefully handled.

       The  new  code  will  take effect next time you start the shell, or run
       .zshrc by hand; there is also  an  option  to  make  them  take  effect
       immediately.  However, if compinstall has removed definitions, you will
       need to restart the shell to see the changes.

       To run compinstall you will need to make sure  it  is  in  a  directory
       mentioned  in your fpath parameter, which should already be the case if
       zsh was properly configured as long as your startup files do not remove
       the  appropriate  directories  from  fpath.  Then it must be autoloaded
       (`autoload  -U  compinstall'  is  recommended).   You  can  abort   the
       installation  any time you are being prompted for information, and your
       .zshrc will not be altered at all; changes only take place right at the
       end, where you are specifically asked for confirmation.

   Use of compinit
       This section describes the use of compinit to initialize completion for
       the current session when called directly; if you have  run  compinstall
       it will be called automatically from your .zshrc.

       To  initialize  the  system,  the  function  compinit  should  be  in a
       directory mentioned in the fpath parameter, and  should  be  autoloaded
       (`autoload  -U  compinit'  is  recommended),  and  then  run  simply as
       `compinit'.  This will define a few utility functions, arrange for  all
       the necessary shell functions to be autoloaded, and will then re-define
       all widgets that do completion to use the new system.  If you  use  the
       menu-select  widget,  which  is  part  of  the zsh/complist module, you
       should make sure that that module is loaded before the call to compinit
       so  that  that  widget  is  also re-defined.  If completion styles (see
       below) are set up  to  perform  expansion  as  well  as  completion  by
       default,  and the TAB key is bound to expand-or-complete, compinit will
       rebind it to complete-word; this is necessary to use the  correct  form
       of expansion.

       Should  you need to use the original completion commands, you can still
       bind keys to the old widgets by putting a `.' in front  of  the  widget
       name, e.g. `.expand-or-complete'.

       To speed up the running of compinit, it can be made to produce a dumped
       configuration that will be read in on future invocations; this  is  the
       default,  but can be turned off by calling compinit with the option -D.
       The dumped file is .zcompdump in the  same  directory  as  the  startup
       files  (i.e.  $ZDOTDIR  or $HOME); alternatively, an explicit file name
       can be given  by  `compinit  -d  dumpfile'.   The  next  invocation  of
       compinit  will  read  the  dumped  file  instead  of  performing a full

       If the number of completion files changes, compinit will recognise this
       and produce a new dump file.  However, if the name of a function or the
       arguments in the first line of a #compdef function (as described below)
       change,  it is easiest to delete the dump file by hand so that compinit
       will re-create it the next time it is run.  The check performed to  see
       if  there are new functions can be omitted by giving the option -C.  In
       this case the dump file  will  only  be  created  if  there  isn't  one

       The  dumping  is  actually  done by another function, compdump, but you
       will only need to run this yourself if  you  change  the  configuration
       (e.g.  using  compdef)  and then want to dump the new one.  The name of
       the old dumped file will be remembered for this purpose.

       If the parameter _compdir is set, compinit uses it as a directory where
       completion  functions  can be found; this is only necessary if they are
       not already in the function search path.

       For security reasons compinit also  checks  if  the  completion  system
       would  use  files not owned by root or by the current user, or files in
       directories that are world- or group-writable or that are not owned  by
       root  or  by the current user.  If such files or directories are found,
       compinit will ask if the completion system should really be  used.   To
       avoid  these tests and make all files found be used without asking, use
       the option -u, and to make compinit silently ignore all insecure  files
       and  directories  use  the  option  -i.  This security check is skipped
       entirely when the -C option is given.

       The security check can be retried at any time by running  the  function
       compaudit.   This  is  the  same check used by compinit, but when it is
       executed directly any changes to fpath are made local to  the  function
       so they do not persist.  The directories to be checked may be passed as
       arguments; if none are given, compaudit uses fpath and _compdir to find
       completion   system  directories,  adding  missing  ones  to  fpath  as
       necessary.  To force a check of exactly the directories currently named
       in  fpath,  set _compdir to an empty string before calling compaudit or

       The  function   bashcompinit   provides   compatibility   with   bash's
       programmable completion system.  When run it will define the functions,
       compgen and complete which correspond to the  bash  builtins  with  the
       same  names.  It will then be possible to use completion specifications
       and functions written for bash.

   Autoloaded files
       The convention for autoloaded functions used in completion is that they
       start  with  an  underscore;  as  already  mentioned,  the  fpath/FPATH
       parameter must contain the directory in which they are stored.  If  zsh
       was  properly  installed on your system, then fpath/FPATH automatically
       contains the required directories for the standard functions.

       For incomplete installations, if compinit does not  find  enough  files
       beginning with an underscore (fewer than twenty) in the search path, it
       will try to find more by adding the directory _compdir  to  the  search
       path.    If   that   directory  has  a  subdirectory  named  Base,  all
       subdirectories  will  be  added  to  the  path.   Furthermore,  if  the
       subdirectory  Base has a subdirectory named Core, compinit will add all
       subdirectories of the subdirectories is to the path:  this  allows  the
       functions to be in the same format as in the zsh source distribution.

       When  compinit  is  run,  it  searches  all  such  files accessible via
       fpath/FPATH and reads the first line of each of them.  This line should
       contain  one  of the tags described below.  Files whose first line does
       not start with one of these tags are not considered to be part  of  the
       completion system and will not be treated specially.

       The tags are:

       #compdef names... [ -[pP] patterns... [ -N names... ] ]
              The  file  will be made autoloadable and the function defined in
              it will be called when completing names, each of which is either
              the name of a command whose arguments are to be completed or one
              of a number of special contexts in the form -context-  described

              Each   name  may  also  be  of  the  form  `cmd=service'.   When
              completing the command cmd, the function typically behaves as if
              the  command  (or  special  context) service was being completed
              instead.  This provides a  way  of  altering  the  behaviour  of
              functions  that  can  perform many different completions.  It is
              implemented by setting the parameter $service when  calling  the
              function;  the  function  may  choose  to  interpret this how it
              wishes, and simpler functions will probably ignore it.

              If the #compdef line contains one of the options -p or  -P,  the
              words  following are taken to be patterns.  The function will be
              called when completion is attempted for  a  command  or  context
              that  matches  one  of  the patterns.  The options -p and -P are
              used to specify patterns to  be  tried  before  or  after  other
              completions  respectively.   Hence  -P  may  be  used to specify
              default actions.

              The option -N is used after  a  list  following  -p  or  -P;  it
              specifies that remaining words no longer define patterns.  It is
              possible to toggle between the three options as  many  times  as

       #compdef -k style key-sequences...
              This  option  creates  a widget behaving like the builtin widget
              style and binds it to the  given  key-sequences,  if  any.   The
              style   must   be  one  of  the  builtin  widgets  that  perform
              completion,    namely    complete-word,     delete-char-or-list,
              expand-or-complete,   expand-or-complete-prefix,   list-choices,
              menu-complete,            menu-expand-or-complete,            or
              reverse-menu-complete.   If  the  zsh/complist  module is loaded
              (see zshmodules(1)) the widget menu-select is also available.

              When one of the key-sequences is typed, the function in the file
              will  be  invoked to generate the matches.  Note that a key will
              not be re-bound if  it  already  was  (that  is,  was  bound  to
              something other than undefined-key).  The widget created has the
              same name as the file and can be bound to any other  keys  using
              bindkey as usual.

       #compdef -K widget-name style key-sequences ...
              This  is  similar  to  -k  except  that  only  one key-sequences
              argument may be given for each widget-name style pair.  However,
              the  entire  set  of  three  arguments  may  be  repeated with a
              different  set  of  arguments.   Note  in  particular  that  the
              widget-name  must be distinct in each set.  If it does not begin
              with `_' this will be added.  The widget-name should  not  clash
              with the name of any existing widget: names based on the name of
              the function are most useful.  For example,

                     #compdef -K _foo_complete complete-word "^X^C" \
                       _foo_list list-choices "^X^D"

              (all on one line) defines a widget _foo_complete for completion,
              bound  to  `^X^C',  and a widget _foo_list for listing, bound to

       #autoload [ options ]
              Functions with the #autoload tag are marked for autoloading  but
              are  not  otherwise treated specially.  Typically they are to be
              called from within one of the completion functions.  Any options
              supplied  will  be passed to the autoload builtin; a typical use
              is +X to force the function to be loaded immediately.  Note that
              the -U and -z flags are always added implicitly.

       The  #  is part of the tag name and no white space is allowed after it.
       The #compdef tags use the compdef function described  below;  the  main
       difference is that the name of the function is supplied implicitly.

       The special contexts for which completion functions can be defined are:

              The right hand side of an array-assignment (`foo=(...)')

              The name of a parameter expansion within braces (`${...}')

              The  name of a parameter in an assignment, i.e. on the left hand
              side of an `='

              A word in command position

              A word inside a condition (`[[...]]')

              Any word for which no other completion is defined

              A word beginning with an equals sign

              This  is  tried  before  any  other  completion  function.   The
              function  called  may  set  the  _compskip  parameter  to one of
              various values: all:  no  further  completion  is  attempted;  a
              string  containing the substring patterns: no pattern completion
              functions will be  called;  a  string  containing  default:  the
              function  for  the  `-default-'  context will not be called, but
              functions defined for commands will

       -math- Inside mathematical contexts, such as `((...))'

              The name of a parameter expansion (`$...')

              The word after a redirection operator.

              The contents of a parameter subscript.

              After an initial tilde (`~'), but before the first slash in  the

              On the right hand side of an assignment.

       Default  implementations  are  supplied for each of these contexts.  In
       most cases the context -context-  is  implemented  by  a  corresponding
       function  _context,  for example the context `-tilde-' and the function

       The  contexts  -redirect-  and  -value-  allow  extra  context-specific
       information.   (Internally,  this  is handled by the functions for each
       context calling the function  _dispatch.)   The  extra  information  is
       added separated by commas.

       For  the  -redirect-  context,  the  extra  information  is in the form
       `-redirect-,op,command', where  op  is  the  redirection  operator  and
       command is the name of the command on the line.  If there is no command
       on the line yet, the command field will be empty.

       For the -value- context, the form is `-value-,name,command', where name
       is  the  name  of  the  parameter.   In  the  case  of  elements  of an
       associative array, for example `assoc=(key <TAB>', name is expanded  to
       `name-key'.   In  certain  special  contexts,  such as completing after
       `make CFLAGS=', the command part gives the name of  the  command,  here
       make; otherwise it is empty.

       It  is  not  necessary  to  define  fully  specific  completions as the
       functions provided will try to generate  completions  by  progressively
       replacing  the elements with `-default-'.  For example, when completing
       after `foo=<TAB>', _value will try the names `-value-,foo,'  (note  the
       empty          command          part),          `-value-,foo,-default-'
       and`-value-,-default-,-default-', in  that  order,  until  it  finds  a
       function to handle the context.

       As an example:

              compdef '_files -g "*.log"' '-redirect-,2>,-default-'

       completes  files matching `*.log' after `2> <TAB>' for any command with
       no more specific handler defined.


              compdef _foo -value-,-default-,-default-
       specifies that _foo provides completions for the values  of  parameters
       for  which  no  special  function  has  been  defined.  This is usually
       handled by the function _value itself.

       The same lookup rules are used when looking  up  styles  (as  described
       below); for example

              zstyle ':completion:*:*:-redirect-,2>,*:*' file-patterns '*.log'

       is  another  way  to  make  completion  after `2> <TAB>' complete files
       matching `*.log'.

       The following function  is  defined  by  compinit  and  may  be  called

       compdef [ -an ] function names... [ -[pP] patterns... [ -N names... ] ]
       compdef -d names...
       compdef -k [ -an ] function style key-sequences...
       compdef -K [ -an ] function name style key-sequences ...
              The  first  form  defines the function to call for completion in
              the given contexts as described for the #compdef tag above.

              Alternatively,   all   the   arguments   may   have   the   form
              `cmd=service'.  Here service should already have been defined by
              `cmd1=service' lines in #compdef files, as described above.  The
              argument for cmd will be completed in the same way as service.

              The  function  argument may alternatively be a string containing
              any shell code.  The string will  be  executed  using  the  eval
              builtin command to generate completions.  This provides a way of
              avoiding having  to  define  a  new  completion  function.   For
              example,  to  complete  files ending in `.h' as arguments to the
              command foo:

                     compdef '_files -g "*.h"' foo

              The option -n prevents any completions already defined  for  the
              command or context from being overwritten.

              The  option -d deletes any completion defined for the command or
              contexts listed.

              The names may also contain -p, -P and -N  options  as  described
              for  the  #compdef  tag.   The  effect  on  the argument list is
              identical,  switching  between  definitions  of  patterns  tried
              initially,  patterns  tried  finally,  and  normal  commands and

              The parameter $_compskip may be set by any function defined  for
              a  pattern  context.   If  it  is  set to a value containing the
              substring `patterns'  none  of  the  pattern-functions  will  be
              called;  if it is set to a value containing the substring `all',
              no other function will be called.

              The form with -k defines a widget with  the  same  name  as  the
              function that will be called for each of the key-sequences; this
              is like the #compdef -k tag.  The function should  generate  the
              completions  needed  and  will otherwise behave like the builtin
              widget whose name is given as the style argument.   The  widgets
              usable   for   this   are:  complete-word,  delete-char-or-list,
              expand-or-complete,   expand-or-complete-prefix,   list-choices,
              menu-complete,            menu-expand-or-complete,           and
              reverse-menu-complete,   as   well   as   menu-select   if   the
              zsh/complist  module  is loaded.  The option -n prevents the key
              being bound if it is already to bound to  something  other  than

              The  form  with -K is similar and defines multiple widgets based
              on the same function, each of which requires the  set  of  three
              arguments  name,  style  and key-sequences, where the latter two
              are as for -k and  the  first  must  be  a  unique  widget  name
              beginning with an underscore.

              Wherever   applicable,   the   -a   option  makes  the  function
              autoloadable, equivalent to autoload -U function.

       The function compdef can  be  used  to  associate  existing  completion
       functions with new commands.  For example,

              compdef _pids foo

       uses the function _pids to complete process IDs for the command foo.

       Note  also the _gnu_generic function described below, which can be used
       to complete options for commands that understand the `--help' option.


       This section gives a short overview of how the completion system works,
       and  then  more  detail on how users can configure how and when matches
       are generated.

       When  completion  is  attempted  somewhere  on  the  command  line  the
       completion system first works out the context.  This takes account of a
       number of things including the command word (such as `grep'  or  `zsh')
       and  options  to which the current word may be an argument (such as the
       `-o' option to zsh which takes a shell option as an argument).

       This context information is  condensed  into  a  string  consisting  of
       multiple  fields  separated  by  colons,  referred  to  simply  as `the
       context' in the remainder of the documentation.  This is used  to  look
       up  styles, context-sensitive options that can be used to configure the
       completion system.  The context used for lookup  may  vary  during  the
       same call to the completion system.

       The  context string always consists of a fixed set of fields, separated
       by colons and with a leading  colon  before  the  first,  in  the  form
       :completion:function:completer:command:argument:tag.   These  have  the
       following meaning:

       o      The literal string completion, saying that this style is used by
              the  completion  system.   This  distinguishes  the context from
              those used by, for example, zle widgets and ZFTP functions.

       o      The function, if completion is called from a named widget rather
              than  through  the  normal completion system.  Typically this is
              blank, but it is set by special widgets such as  predict-on  and
              the   various   functions   in   the  Widget  directory  of  the
              distribution  to  the  name  of  that  function,  often  in   an
              abbreviated form.

       o      The completer currently active, the name of the function without
              the leading underscore and with other underscores  converted  to
              hyphens.   A `completer' is in overall control of how completion
              is to be  performed;  `complete'  is  the  simplest,  but  other
              completers exist to perform related tasks such as correction, or
              to modify the behaviour of a later completer.  See  the  section
              `Control Functions' below for more information.

       o      The command or a special -context-, just at it appears following
              the #compdef tag or the compdef function.  Completion  functions
              for commands that have sub-commands usually modify this field to
              contain the name of the command followed by a minus sign and the
              sub-command.   For  example, the completion function for the cvs
              command sets this field to cvs-add when completing arguments  to
              the add subcommand.

       o      The  argument;  this  indicates  which  command  line  or option
              argument  we  are  completing.   For  command   arguments   this
              generally  takes  the  form argument-n, where n is the number of
              the argument, and for arguments to options the form option-opt-n
              where  n  is the number of the argument to option opt.  However,
              this is only the  case  if  the  command  line  is  parsed  with
              standard  UNIX-style  options and arguments, so many completions
              do not set this.

       o      The tag.  As described previously, tags are used to discriminate
              between  the types of matches a completion function can generate
              in a certain context.  Any completion function may use  any  tag
              name  it  likes,  but  a  list  of the more common ones is given

       The context is gradually put together as the  functions  are  executed,
       starting  with  the  main  entry point, which adds :completion: and the
       function element if necessary.  The completer then adds  the  completer
       element.   The  contextual  completion  adds  the  command and argument
       options.  Finally, the tag is added when the types  of  completion  are
       known.  For example, the context name


       says  that normal completion was attempted as the first argument to the
       option -o of the command dvips:

              dvips -o ...

       and the completion function will generate filenames.

       Usually completion will be tried for all  possible  tags  in  an  order
       given  by  the  completion  function.   However, this can be altered by
       using the tag-order style.  Completion is then restricted to  the  list
       of given tags in the given order.

       The  _complete_help  bindable  command  shows all the contexts and tags
       available for completion at a particular point.  This provides an  easy
       way  of  finding  information  for  tag-order  and other styles.  It is
       described in the section `Bindable Commands' below.

       Styles  determine  such  things  as  how  the  matches  are  generated,
       similarly  to  shell options but with much more control.  They can have
       any number of strings as their value.  They are defined with the zstyle
       builtin command (see zshmodules(1)).

       When  looking  up styles the completion system uses full context names,
       including the tag.  Looking up the value of a style therefore  consists
       of two things:  the context, which may be matched as a pattern, and the
       name of the style itself, which must be given exactly.

       For example, many completion functions can generate matches in a simple
       and  a  verbose  form  and  use  the verbose style to decide which form
       should be used.  To make all such functions use the verbose form, put

              zstyle ':completion:*' verbose yes

       in a startup file (probably .zshrc).  This gives the verbose style  the
       value  yes  in  every context inside the completion system, unless that
       context has a more specific definition.  It is best to avoid giving the
       context  as  `*'  in  case  the  style  has  some  meaning  outside the
       completion system.

       Many such general purpose styles can be configured simply by using  the
       compinstall function.

       A  more  specific  example  of  the  use of the verbose style is by the
       completion for the kill builtin.  If the  style  is  set,  the  builtin
       lists  full job texts and process command lines; otherwise it shows the
       bare job numbers and PIDs.  To turn the style off for this use only:

              zstyle ':completion:*:*:kill:*' verbose no

       For even more control, the style can use one  of  the  tags  `jobs'  or
       `processes'.  To turn off verbose display only for jobs:

              zstyle ':completion:*:*:kill:*:jobs' verbose no

       The  -e option to zstyle even allows completion function code to appear
       as the argument to a style; this requires  some  understanding  of  the
       internals  of  completion  functions  (see  see  zshcompwid(1))).   For

              zstyle -e ':completion:*' hosts 'reply=($myhosts)'

       This forces the value of the hosts style to be read from  the  variable
       myhosts each time a host name is needed; this is useful if the value of
       myhosts can change dynamically.  For another useful  example,  see  the
       example in the description of the file-list style below.  This form can
       be slow and should be avoided for commonly examined styles such as menu
       and list-rows-first.

       Note  that  the  order in which styles are defined does not matter; the
       style mechanism uses the most specific possible match for a  particular
       style  to  determine  the  set  of values.  More precisely, strings are
       preferred over patterns (for  example,  `:completion::complete:foo'  is
       more  specific than `:completion::complete:*'), and longer patterns are
       preferred over shorter patterns.

       Style names like  those  of  tags  are  arbitrary  and  depend  on  the
       completion  function.  However, the following two sections list some of
       the most common tags and styles.

   Standard Tags
       Some of the following are only used when looking up  particular  styles
       and do not refer to a type of match.

              used to look up the users-hosts style

              used  by  the  _expand  completer  when adding the single string
              containing all possible expansions

              for the names of  all  files  (as  distinct  from  a  particular
              subset, see the globbed-files tag).

              for arguments to a command

       arrays for names of array parameters

              for  keys  of  associative arrays; used when completing inside a
              subscript to a parameter of this type

              when completing bookmarks (e.g. for URLs and the  zftp  function

              for names of builtin commands

              for  single  characters  in  arguments of commands such as stty.
              Also used when completing character  classes  after  an  opening

              for X colormap ids

       colors for color names

              for  names  of external commands.  Also used by complex commands
              such as cvs when completing names subcommands.

              for contexts in arguments to the zstyle builtin command

              used by the _approximate and _correct  completers  for  possible

              for cursor names used by X programs

              used  in  some  contexts to provide a way of supplying a default
              when more specific tags are also valid.  Note that this  tag  is
              used when only the function field of the context name is set

              used  when  looking up the value of the format style to generate
              descriptions for types of matches

              for names of device special files

              for names of directories

              for entries in the directory stack

              for X display names

              for network domains

              used by the _expand completer for individual words  (as  opposed
              to  the complete set of expansions) resulting from the expansion
              of a word on the command line

              for X server extensions

              for numbers of open file descriptors

       files  the generic  file-matching  tag  used  by  functions  completing

       fonts  for X font names

              for file system types (e.g. for the mount command)

              names of functions -- normally shell functions, although certain
              commands may understand other kinds of function

              for filenames when  the  name  has  been  generated  by  pattern

       groups for names of user groups

              for words from the history

       hosts  for hostnames

              for array indexes

       jobs   for jobs (as listed by the `jobs' builtin)

              for network interfaces

              for names of zsh keymaps

              for names of X keysyms

              for names of system libraries

       limits for system limits

              for  names of directories that are subdirectories of the current
              working directory when completing arguments of  cd  and  related
              builtin commands (compare path-directories)

              for names of manual pages

              for e-mail folders

       maps   for map names (e.g. NIS maps)

              used to look up the format style for messages

              for names of X modifiers

              for modules (e.g. zsh modules)

              used to look up the users-hosts style

              for  named  directories  (you  wouldn't have guessed that, would

       names  for all kinds of names

              for USENET groups

              for nicknames of NIS maps

              for command options

              used by the _approximate, _correct and _expand  completers  when
              offering the original string as a match

              used to look up the users-hosts style

              for  the names of any non-directory files.  This is used instead
              of all-files when the list-dirs-first style is in effect.

              for packages (e.g. rpm or installed Debian packages)

              for names of parameters

              for names of directories found by  searching  the  cdpath  array
              when  completing  arguments  of  cd and related builtin commands
              (compare local-directories)

       paths  used to  look  up  the  values  of  the  expand,  ambiguous  and
              special-dirs styles

       pods   for perl pods (documentation files)

       ports  for communication ports

              for prefixes (like those of a URL)

              for print queue names

              for process identifiers

              used  to  look up the command style when generating the names of
              processes for killall

              for sequences (e.g. mh sequences)

              for sessions in the zftp function suite

              for signal names

              for strings (e.g. the replacement strings  for  the  cd  builtin

       styles for styles used by the zstyle builtin command

              for filename extensions

       tags   for tags (e.g. rpm tags)

              for makefile targets

              for time zones (e.g. when setting the TZ parameter)

       types  for types of whatever (e.g. address types for the xhost command)

       urls   used to look up the urls and local styles when completing URLs

       users  for usernames

       values for one of a set of values in certain lists

              used  by  _pick_variant  to  look  up  the  command  to run when
              determining what program is installed for a  particular  command

              for X visuals

              used to look up the format style for warnings

              for zsh widget names

              for IDs of X windows

              for shell options

   Standard Styles
       Note  that  the  values  of  several  of these styles represent boolean
       values.  Any of the strings `true', `on', `yes', and `1'  can  be  used
       for  the  value `true' and any of the strings `false', `off', `no', and
       `0' for the value  `false'.   The  behavior  for  any  other  value  is
       undefined  except where explicitly mentioned.  The default value may be
       either true or false if the style is not set.

       Some  of  these  styles  are  tested  first  for  every  possible   tag
       corresponding  to  a  type of match, and if no style was found, for the
       default  tag.   The  most  notable  styles  of  this  type  are   menu,
       list-colors   and   styles   controlling  completion  listing  such  as
       list-packed and last-prompt).  When tested for the  default  tag,  only
       the function field of the context will be set so that a style using the
       default tag will normally be defined along the lines of:

              zstyle ':completion:*:default' menu ...

              This is tested for the default tag in addition to the tags valid
              for  the current context.  If it is set to `true' and any of the
              trial matches is the same as the string  on  the  command  line,
              this  match  will  immediately  be  accepted  (even  if it would
              otherwise be considered ambiguous).

              When completing pathnames (where the tag used is  `paths')  this
              style accepts any number of patterns as the value in addition to
              the boolean values.  Pathnames matching one  of  these  patterns
              will  be  accepted immediately even if the command line contains
              some more partially typed pathname components and these match no
              file under the directory accepted.

              This  style  is  also used by the _expand completer to decide if
              words beginning with a tilde or parameter  expansion  should  be
              expanded.   For example, if there are parameters foo and foobar,
              the string `$foo' will only be expanded if accept-exact  is  set
              to  `true';  otherwise  the completion system will be allowed to
              complete $foo to $foobar. If the style  is  set  to  `continue',
              _expand  will  add  the  expansion as a match and the completion
              system will also be allowed to continue.

              This is used by filename completion.  Unlike accept-exact it  is
              a   boolean.   By  default,  filename  completion  examines  all
              components of a path to see if there  are  completions  of  that
              component,  even if the component matches an existing directory.
              For example,  when  completion  after  /usr/bin/,  the  function
              examines possible completions to /usr.

              When  this  style  is true, any prefix of a path that matches an
              existing directory is accepted without any attempt  to  complete
              it  further.  Hence, in the given example, the path /usr/bin/ is
              accepted immediately and completion tried in that directory.

              If  you  wish  to  inhibit  this  behaviour  entirely,  set  the
              path-completion style (see below) to false.

              This style is used by the _expand completer.  If it is true (the
              default), a space will be inserted  after  all  words  resulting
              from  the  expansion, or a slash in the case of directory names.
              If the value is `file', the completer will only add a  space  to
              names  of  existing  files.   Either a boolean true or the value
              `file' may be combined with `subst', in which case the completer
              will  not add a space to words generated from the expansion of a
              substitution of the form `$(...)' or `${...}'.

              The _prefix completer uses this style as a simple boolean  value
              to decide if a space should be inserted before the suffix.

              This  applies  when  completing non-final components of filename
              paths, in other words those with a trailing  slash.   If  it  is
              set,  the  cursor  is  left after the first ambiguous component,
              even if menu completion is in use.  The style is  always  tested
              with the paths tag.

              When completing after an equals sign that is being treated as an
              assignment, the completion system normally  completes  only  one
              filename.   In  some cases the value  may be a list of filenames
              separated by colons, as with PATH and similar parameters.   This
              style  can  be  set  to a list of patterns matching the names of
              such parameters.

              The default is to complete lists  when  the  word  on  the  line
              already contains a colon.

              If  set,  this style's value will be used as the description for
              options that are not described by the completion functions,  but
              that  have exactly one argument.  The sequence `%d' in the value
              will  be  replaced  by  the  description  for   this   argument.
              Depending  on personal preferences, it may be useful to set this
              style to something like `specify: %d'.  Note that this  may  not
              work for some commands.

              This  is  used  by  the  _all_matches completer to decide if the
              string consisting of all matches should be  added  to  the  list
              currently  being  generated.   Its  value  is a list of names of
              completers.  If any of these is the name of the  completer  that
              generated the matches in this completion, the string will not be

              The default value for this style is `_expand _old_list  _correct
              _approximate',  i.e.  it  contains  the  completers  for which a
              string with all matches will almost never be wanted.

              This style defines the path where  any  cache  files  containing
              dumped   completion   data   are   stored.    It   defaults   to
              `$ZDOTDIR/.zcompcache', or `$HOME/.zcompcache'  if  $ZDOTDIR  is
              not  defined.   The completion cache will not be used unless the
              use-cache style is set.

              This style defines the function that will be used  to  determine
              whether  a  cache  needs  rebuilding.   See  the  section on the
              _cache_invalid function below.

              This style is used in the function for commands such as make and
              ant  where  calling  the  command  directly  to generate matches
              suffers problems such as being slow or, as in the case  of  make
              can potentially cause actions in the makefile to be executed. If
              it is set to `true' the command is called to  generate  matches.
              The default value of this style is `false'.

              In  many  places,  completion  functions  need  to call external
              commands to generate the list of completions.  This style can be
              used  to override the command that is called in some such cases.
              The elements of the value are  joined  with  spaces  to  form  a
              command  line  to  execute.   The  value  can  also start with a
              hyphen, in which case the usual command will  be  added  to  the
              end;  this  is most useful for putting `builtin' or `command' in
              front to make sure the  appropriate  version  of  a  command  is
              called,  for  example to avoid calling a shell function with the
              same name as an external command.

              As an example, the completion function for process IDs uses this
              style with the processes tag to generate the IDs to complete and
              the list of processes  to  display  (if  the  verbose  style  is
              `true').   The list produced by the command should look like the
              output of the ps command.  The first line is not displayed,  but
              is searched for the string `PID' (or `pid') to find the position
              of the process IDs in the following lines.  If the line does not
              contain  `PID', the first numbers in each of the other lines are
              taken as the process IDs to complete.

              Note that the completion function  generally  has  to  call  the
              specified  command  for  each attempt to generate the completion
              list.  Hence care should be taken to specify only commands  that
              take  a  short  time to run, and in particular to avoid any that
              may never terminate.

              This is  a  list  of  directories  to  search  for  commands  to
              complete.   The  default  for  this  style  is  the value of the
              special parameter path.

              This is used by the function  completing  sub-commands  for  the
              system   initialisation  scripts  (residing  in  /etc/init.d  or
              somewhere not too far away from  that).   Its  values  give  the
              default  commands  to  complete for those commands for which the
              completion function isn't able to find them  out  automatically.
              The  default  for  this  style  are  the two strings `start' and

              This is used by the _expand_alias function  when  invoked  as  a
              bindable  command.  If set to `true' and the word on the command
              line is not the name of an alias, matching alias names  will  be

              This  is  used  by  the  completer for cd, chdir and pushd.  For
              these commands a - is used to introduce a directory stack  entry
              and  completion  of  these  is  far  more common than completing
              options.  Hence unless the value of this style is  true  options
              will  not be completed, even after an initial -.  If it is true,
              options will be completed after an initial - unless there  is  a
              preceding -- on the command line.

              The  strings  given as the value of this style provide the names
              of the completer  functions  to  use.  The  available  completer
              functions  are  described  in  the  section  `Control Functions'

              Each string may be either the name of a completer function or  a
              string  of  the  form  `function:name'.   In  the first case the
              completer field of the context will  contain  the  name  of  the
              completer  without  the  leading  underscore  and with all other
              underscores  replaced  by  hyphens.   In  the  second  case  the
              function  is  the name of the completer to call, but the context
              will contain the user-defined name in the completer field of the
              context.   If  the name starts with a hyphen, the string for the
              context will be build from the name of the completer function as
              in the first case with the name appended to it.  For example:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' completer _complete _complete:-foo

              Here,  completion  will call the _complete completer twice, once
              using `complete' and once using `complete-foo' in the  completer
              field  of  the context.  Normally, using the same completer more
              than once only makes sense when used with  the  `functions:name'
              form, because otherwise the context name will be the same in all
              calls to the completer; possible exceptions to this rule are the
              _ignored and _prefix completers.

              The  default  value for this style is `_complete _ignored': only
              completion will be done, first using the ignored-patterns  style
              and the $fignore array and then without ignoring matches.

              This  style is used by the _list completer function to decide if
              insertion of matches  should  be  delayed  unconditionally.  The
              default is `true'.

              This  style is used when adding a delimiter for use with history
              modifiers or glob qualifiers that have delimited arguments.   It
              is  an  array  of  preferred  delimiters  to  add.   Non-special
              characters are preferred as the completion system may  otherwise
              become  confused.   The default list is :, +, /, -, %.  The list
              may be empty to force a delimiter to be typed.

              If this is  set  to  `true',  the  _expand_alias  completer  and
              bindable  command will try to expand disabled aliases, too.  The
              default is `false'.

              A list of names of network domains for completion.  If  this  is
              not   set,   domain   names   will   be   taken  from  the  file

              The environ style is used when completing for `sudo'.  It is set
              to  an  array of `VAR=value' assignments to be exported into the
              local environment before the completion for the  target  command
              is invoked.
              zstyle :complete:sudo: environ \
                PATH="/sbin:/usr/sbin:$PATH" HOME="/root"

       expand This  style  is  used  when  completing  strings  consisting  of
              multiple parts, such as path names.

              If one of its values is the string `prefix', the partially typed
              word  from  the line will be expanded as far as possible even if
              trailing parts cannot be completed.

              If one of its values is the string `suffix', matching names  for
              components  after  the  first  ambiguous one will also be added.
              This means that the resulting string is the longest  unambiguous
              string  possible.  However, menu completion can be used to cycle
              through all matches.

       fake   This style may be set for any completion context.  It  specifies
              additional  strings  that  will  always  be  completed  in  that
              context.  The form of each string  is  `value:description';  the
              colon  and description may be omitted, but any literal colons in
              value must be quoted with a backslash.  Any description provided
              is shown alongside the value in completion listings.

              It  is  important to use a sufficiently restrictive context when
              specifying fake strings.  Note that the  styles  fake-files  and
              fake-parameters  provide  additional  features  when  completing
              files or parameters.

              This works  identically  to  the  fake  style  except  that  the
              ignored-patterns  style  is  not  applied  to it.  This makes it
              possible to override a set of matches completely by setting  the
              ignored patterns to `*'.

              The  following  shows  a  way  of  supplementing  any  tag  with
              arbitrary data, but having it behave for display purposes like a
              separate  tag.   In  this  example  we  use  the features of the
              tag-order style to divide the  named-directories  tag  into  two
              when  performing completion with the standard completer complete
              for arguments of cd.  The tag  named-directories-normal  behaves
              as  normal,  but the tag named-directories-mine contains a fixed
              set of directories.  This has the effect  of  adding  the  match
              group `extra directories' with the given completions.

                     zstyle ':completion::complete:cd:*' tag-order \
                       'named-directories:-mine:extra\ directories
                       named-directories:-normal:named\ directories *'
                     zstyle ':completion::complete:cd:*:named-directories-mine' \
                       fake-always mydir1 mydir2
                     zstyle ':completion::complete:cd:*:named-directories-mine' \
                       ignored-patterns '*'

              This style is used when completing files and looked up without a
              tag.  Its values are of the form `dir:names...'.  This will  add
              the names (strings separated by spaces) as possible matches when
              completing in the directory dir, even if no  such  files  really
              exist.   The  dir may be a pattern; pattern characters or colons
              in  dir  should  be  quoted  with  a  backslash  to  be  treated

              This  can be useful on systems that support special file systems
              whose top-level pathnames can not be listed  or  generated  with
              glob  patterns.   It  can also be used for directories for which
              one does not have read permission.

              The pattern form can be used to add a certain `magic'  entry  to
              all directories on a particular file system.

              This  is  used  by  the completion function for parameter names.
              Its values are names of parameters that might not yet be set but
              should be completed nonetheless.  Each name may also be followed
              by a colon and a string specifying the  type  of  the  parameter
              (like  `scalar',  `array'  or `integer').  If the type is given,
              the name will only be completed if parameters of that  type  are
              required  in the particular context.  Names for which no type is
              specified will always be completed.

              This style controls whether files completed using  the  standard
              builtin  mechanism  are to be listed with a long list similar to
              ls -l.  Note that this feature uses the  shell  module  zsh/stat
              for  file  information;  this  loads the builtin stat which will
              replace  any  external  stat  executable.   To  avoid  this  the
              following code can be included in an initialization file:

                     zmodload -i zsh/stat
                     disable stat

              The  style  may either be set to a true value (or `all'), or one
              of the values `insert' or `list', indicating that files  are  to
              be   listed  in  long  format  in  all  circumstances,  or  when
              attempting to insert a file name, or  when  listing  file  names
              without attempting to insert one.

              More  generally,  the  value may be an array of any of the above
              values, optionally followed by =num.  If num is present it gives
              the  maximum number of matches for which long listing style will
              be used.  For example,

                     zstyle ':completion:*' file-list list=20 insert=10

              specifies that long format will be used when listing  up  to  20
              files  or  inserting  a  file  with up to 10 matches (assuming a
              listing is to be shown at  all,  for  example  on  an  ambiguous
              completion), else short format will be used.

                     zstyle -e ':completion:*' file-list '(( ${+NUMERIC} )) && reply=(true)'

              specifies  that  long  format  will  be  used any time a numeric
              argument is supplied, else short format.

              This is used by the standard function for completing  filenames,
              _files.   If  the  style  is unset up to three tags are offered,
              `globbed-files',`directories' and `all-files', depending on  the
              types of files  expected by the caller of _files.  The first two
              (`globbed-files'  and  `directories')   are   normally   offered
              together to make it easier to complete files in sub-directories.

              The  file-patterns  style  provides  alternatives to the default
              tags, which are not used.  Its value consists of elements of the
              form  `pattern:tag';  each string may contain any number of such
              specifications separated by spaces.

              The pattern is  a  pattern  that  is  to  be  used  to  generate
              filenames.   Any  occurrence of the sequence `%p' is replaced by
              any pattern(s) passed by the function calling _files.  Colons in
              the  pattern  must  be  preceded  by  a  backslash  to make them
              distinguishable from the colon before the tag.  If more than one
              pattern  is  needed,  the  patterns  can be given inside braces,
              separated by commas.

              The tags of all strings in the value will be offered  by  _files
              and  used  when  looking  up other styles.  Any tags in the same
              word will be offered at the same time and  before  later  words.
              If no `:tag' is given the `files' tag will be used.

              The  tag  may also be followed by an optional second colon and a
              description, which will be used for the `%d' in the value of the
              format style (if that is set) instead of the default description
              supplied by the completion function.  If the  description  given
              here   contains  itself  a  `%d',  that  is  replaced  with  the
              description supplied by the completion function.

              For example, to make the rm command first complete only names of
              object  files  and  then  the  names of all files if there is no
              matching object file:

                     zstyle ':completion:*:*:rm:*' file-patterns \
                         '*.o:object-files' '%p:all-files'

              To alter the default behaviour of file completion -- offer files
              matching  a  pattern  and directories on the first attempt, then
              all files -- to offer only matching files on the first  attempt,
              then directories, and finally all files:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' file-patterns \
                         '%p:globbed-files' '*(-/):directories' '*:all-files'

              This  works  even  where  there  is  no  special pattern: _files
              matches all files using the pattern `*' at the  first  step  and
              stops  when it sees this pattern.  Note also it will never try a
              pattern more than once for a single completion attempt.

              During the execution of completion functions, the  EXTENDED_GLOB
              option  is  in  effect,  so the characters `#', `~' and `^' have
              special meanings in the patterns.

              The  standard  filename  completion  function  uses  this  style
              without  a  tag  to determine in which order the names should be
              listed; menu completion will cycle  through  them  in  the  same
              order.   The  possible values are: `size' to sort by the size of
              the file; `links' to sort by the number of links  to  the  file;
              `modification'  (or  `time'  or  `date')  to  sort  by  the last
              modification time; `access' to sort by the last access time; and
              `inode' (or `change') to sort by the last inode change time.  If
              the style is set to any other value, or is unset, files will  be
              sorted alphabetically by name.  If the value contains the string
              `reverse', sorting is done in the opposite order.  If the  value
              contains the string `follow', timestamps are associated with the
              targets of symbolic links; the default is to use the  timestamps
              of the links themselves.

       filter This is used by the LDAP plugin for e-mail address completion to
              specify the attributes to match against when filtering  entries.
              So  for  example,  if the style is set to `sn', matching is done
              against surnames.  Standard LDAP filtering  is  used  so  normal
              completion  matching is bypassed.  If this style is not set, the
              LDAP plugin is skipped.  You may also need to  set  the  command
              style to specify how to connect to your LDAP server.

              This forces a list of completions to be shown at any point where
              listing is done, even in cases where the list would  usually  be
              suppressed.   For  example,  normally  the list is only shown if
              there are at least two different matches.  By setting this style
              to  `always',  the  list  will always be shown, even if there is
              only a single match that  will  immediately  be  accepted.   The
              style  may  also be set to a number.  In this case the list will
              be shown if there are at least that many matches, even  if  they
              would all insert the same string.

              This style is tested for the default tag as well as for each tag
              valid for the current completion.   Hence  the  listing  can  be
              forced only for certain types of match.

       format If  this is set for the descriptions tag, its value is used as a
              string to  display  above  matches  in  completion  lists.   The
              sequence  `%d'  in  this  string  will  be replaced with a short
              description of what these matches are.   This  string  may  also
              contain the following sequences to specify output attributes, as
              described in  the  section  EXPANSION  OF  PROMPT  SEQUENCES  in
              zshmisc(1):  `%B',  `%S',  `%U', `%F', `%K' and their lower case
              counterparts, as well as `%{...%}'.  `%F',  `%K'  and  `%{...%}'
              take  arguments in the same form as prompt expansion.  Note that
              the %G sequence is not available; an argument to `%{' should  be
              used instead.

              The  style  is  tested  with  each  tag  valid  for  the current
              completion before it is tested for the descriptions tag.   Hence
              different  format  strings can be defined for different types of

              Note  also  that  some  completer  functions  define  additional
              `%'-sequences.   These are described for the completer functions
              that make use of them.

              Some  completion  functions  display  messages   that   may   be
              customised  by  setting  this style for the messages tag.  Here,
              the `%d' is replaced with a  message  given  by  the  completion

              Finally,  the  format string is looked up with the warnings tag,
              for use when no matches could be generated at all.  In this case
              the  `%d' is replaced with the descriptions for the matches that
              were  expected  separated  by  spaces.   The  sequence  `%D'  is
              replaced with the same descriptions separated by newlines.

              It  is  possible to use printf-style field width specifiers with
              `%d' and similar escape  sequences.   This  is  handled  by  the
              zformat   builtin   command   from  the  zsh/zutil  module,  see

       glob   This is used by the _expand completer.  If it is set  to  `true'
              (the default), globbing will be attempted on the words resulting
              from a previous substitution (see the substitute style) or  else
              the original string from the line.

       global If  this  is  set  to  `true'  (the  default), the _expand_alias
              completer  and  bindable  command  will  try  to  expand  global

              The  completion  system  can  group  different types of matches,
              which appear in separate lists.  This style can be used to  give
              the  names  of  groups  for  particular  tags.   For example, in
              command  position  the  completion  system  generates  names  of
              builtin and external commands, names of aliases, shell functions
              and parameters and reserved words as possible  completions.   To
              have   the   external   commands   and  shell  functions  listed

                     zstyle ':completion:*:*:-command-:*:commands' group-name commands
                     zstyle ':completion:*:*:-command-:*:functions' group-name functions

              As a consequence, any match with the same tag will be  displayed
              in the same group.

              If  the  name  given is the empty string the name of the tag for
              the matches will be used as the name of the group.  So, to  have
              all  different  types  of  matches displayed separately, one can
              just set:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' group-name ''

              All matches for which no group name is defined will be put in  a
              group named -default-.

              This  style is additional to the group-name style to specify the
              order for display of the groups defined by that  style  (compare
              tag-order,  which  determines  which completions appear at all).
              The groups named are shown in the given order; any other  groups
              are shown in the order defined by the completion function.

              For  example, to have names of builtin commands, shell functions
              and external commands appear in that order  when  completing  in
              command position:

                     zstyle ':completion:*:*:-command-:*' group-order \
                            builtins functions commands

       groups A list of names of UNIX groups.  If this is not set, group names
              are taken from the YP database or the file `/etc/group'.

       hidden If this is set to true, matches for the given context  will  not
              be listed, although any description for the matches set with the
              format style will be shown.  If it is set to `all', not even the
              description will be displayed.

              Note that the matches will still be completed; they are just not
              shown in the  list.   To  avoid  having  matches  considered  as
              possible completions at all, the tag-order style can be modified
              as described below.

       hosts  A list of names of hosts that should be completed.  If  this  is
              not set, hostnames are taken from the file `/etc/hosts'.

              This style is used by commands that need or accept hostnames and
              network ports.  The strings in the value should be of  the  form
              `host:port'.   Valid  ports  are  determined  by the presence of
              hostnames; multiple ports for the same host may appear.

              This is tested for each tag valid for  the  current  completion.
              If  it  is  set to `true', none of the words that are already on
              the line will be considered as possible completions.  If  it  is
              set  to  `current',  the  word  the  cursor  is  on  will not be
              considered as a possible completion.  The value  `current-shown'
              is  similar  but  only  applies  if  the  list of completions is
              currently shown on the screen.  Finally, if the style is set  to
              `other',  no  word apart from the current one will be considered
              as a possible completion.

              The values `current' and `current-shown'  are  a  bit  like  the
              opposite  of  the accept-exact style:  only strings with missing
              characters will be completed.

              Note that you almost certainly don't want to set this to  `true'
              or  `other' for a general context such as `:completion:*'.  This
              is because it would disallow completion of, for example, options
              multiple  times  even  if  the  command  in question accepts the
              option more than once.

              The style is tested without a tag  by  the  function  completing
              pathnames  in  order to determine whether to ignore the names of
              directories already mentioned in the current word, or  the  name
              of the current working directory.  The value must include one or
              both of the following strings:

              parent The name of any directory whose path is already contained
                     in  the  word  on the line is ignored.  For example, when
                     completing after foo/../, the directory foo will  not  be
                     considered a valid completion.

              pwd    The  name  of  the  current working directory will not be
                     completed; hence, for example, completion after ../  will
                     not use the name of the current directory.

              In addition, the value may include one or both of:

              ..     Ignore  the  specified  directories only when the word on
                     the line contains the substring `../'.

                     Ignore the  specified  directories  only  when  names  of
                     directories  are  completed, not when completing names of

              Excluded values act in  a  similar  fashion  to  values  of  the
              ignored-patterns style, so they can be restored to consideration
              by the _ignored completer.

              If set, the completion listing is more verbose at the cost of  a
              probable  decrease  in completion speed.  Completion performance
              will suffer if this style is set to `true'.

              A list of patterns; any trial completion  matching  one  of  the
              patterns  will  be  excluded  from  consideration.  The _ignored
              completer can appear in the list of completers  to  restore  the
              ignored  matches.   This  is  a more configurable version of the
              shell parameter $fignore.

              Note that the EXTENDED_GLOB option is set during  the  execution
              of completion functions, so the characters `#', `~' and `^' have
              special meanings in the patterns.

       insert This style is used  by  the  _all_matches  completer  to  decide
              whether  to  insert  the  list  of  all  matches unconditionally
              instead of adding the list as another match.

              When completing process IDs, for example  as  arguments  to  the
              kill and wait builtins the name of a command may be converted to
              the appropriate process ID.  A problem arises when  the  process
              name  typed  is not unique.  By default (or if this style is set
              explicitly to `menu') the name will be converted immediately  to
              a  set  of  possible IDs, and menu completion will be started to
              cycle through them.

              If the value of the style is `single', the shell will wait until
              the  user  has  typed  enough  to make the command unique before
              converting the name to an ID; attempts  at  completion  will  be
              unsuccessful  until  that  point.   If  the  value  is any other
              string, menu completion will be started when the string typed by
              the  user  is longer than the common prefix to the corresponding

              If this is set to `true', the completion system  will  insert  a
              TAB  character  (assuming  that  was  used  to start completion)
              instead of performing completion  when  there  is  no  non-blank
              character  to  the left of the cursor.  If it is set to `false',
              completion will be done even there.

              The  value  may  also  contain  the  substrings   `pending'   or
              `pending=val'.   In  this  case,  the  typed  character  will be
              inserted  instead  of  starting   completion   when   there   is
              unprocessed  input  pending.  If a val is given, completion will
              not be done if there  are  at  least  that  many  characters  of
              unprocessed input.  This is often useful when pasting characters
              into a terminal.  Note however, that it relies on  the  $PENDING
              special  parameter  from  the  zsh/zle module being set properly
              which is not guaranteed on all platforms.

              The default value of this style is `true' except for  completion
              within vared builtin command where it is `false'.

              This  is  used by the _match and _approximate completers.  These
              completers are often used with menu completion  since  the  word
              typed  may  bear  little  resemblance  to  the final completion.
              However, if this style is `true', the completer will start  menu
              completion  only  if it could find no unambiguous initial string
              at least as long as the original string typed by the user.

              In the case of the _approximate completer, the  completer  field
              in  the context will already have been set to one of correct-num
              or approximate-num, where num is the number of errors that  were

              In  the  case of the _match completer, the style may also be set
              to the string `pattern'.  Then the pattern on the line  is  left
              unchanged if it does not match unambiguously.

              This  style  is used by the _expand completer.  If it is `true',
              the completer will try to keep a prefix containing  a  tilde  or
              parameter  expansion.   Hence,  for  example,  the string `~/f*'
              would be expanded to `~/foo' instead  of  `/home/user/foo'.   If
              the  style  is  set  to `changed' (the default), the prefix will
              only be left unchanged if there were other changes  between  the
              expanded words and the original word from the command line.  Any
              other value forces the prefix to be expanded unconditionally.

              The behaviour of expand when this style  is  true  is  to  cause
              _expand  to  give  up  when a single expansion with the restored
              prefix  is  the  same  as  the  original;  hence  any  remaining
              completers may be called.

              This  is  a more flexible form of the ALWAYS_LAST_PROMPT option.
              If it is true, the completion system  will  try  to  return  the
              cursor   to   the  previous  command  line  after  displaying  a
              completion list.  It is  tested  for  all  tags  valid  for  the
              current  completion,  then  the default tag.  The cursor will be
              moved back to the previous line if this style is `true' for  all
              types  of match.  Note that unlike the ALWAYS_LAST_PROMPT option
              this is independent of the numeric prefix argument.

              This style should contain a list of files  to  search  for  host
              names  and (if the use-ip style is set) IP addresses in a format
              compatible with ssh known_hosts files.  If it is  not  set,  the
              files /etc/ssh/ssh_known_hosts and ~/.ssh/known_hosts are used.

       list   This  style  is  used  by  the  _history_complete_word  bindable
              command.  If it is set to `true' it has no effect.  If it is set
              to  `false'  matches  will  not  be  listed.  This overrides the
              setting  of  the  options  controlling  listing  behaviour,   in
              particular   AUTO_LIST.    The   context   always   starts  with

              If the zsh/complist module is loaded, this style can be used  to
              set  color  specifications.   This mechanism replaces the use of
              the ZLS_COLORS  and  ZLS_COLOURS  parameters  described  in  the
              section  `The  zsh/complist  Module'  in  zshmodules(1), but the
              syntax is the same.

              If this style is set for the default tag,  the  strings  in  the
              value   are   taken  as  specifications  that  are  to  be  used
              everywhere.  If it is set for other tags, the specifications are
              used  only  for  matches  of the type described by the tag.  For
              this to work best, the group-name style must be set to an  empty

              In  addition  to  setting  styles  for specific tags, it is also
              possible  to  use  group  names  specified  explicitly  by   the
              group-name tag together with the `(group)' syntax allowed by the
              ZLS_COLORS and  ZLS_COLOURS  parameters  and  simply  using  the
              default tag.

              It  is  possible  to use any color specifications already set up
              for the GNU version of the ls command:

                     zstyle ':completion:*:default' list-colors ${(s.:.)LS_COLORS}

              The default colors are the same as for the GNU  ls  command  and
              can  be  obtained  by setting the style to an empty string (i.e.

              This is used by file completion.   If  set,  directories  to  be
              completed  are  listed separately from and before completion for
              other files, regardless of tag ordering.  In addition,  the  tag
              other-files  is  used  in  place  of all-files for the remaining
              files, to indicate that no directories are presented  with  that

              If  this  style  is  `true' (the default), the completion system
              will try to make certain completion  listings  more  compact  by
              grouping  matches.   For example, options for commands that have
              the same description (shown when the verbose  style  is  set  to
              `true')  will appear as a single entry.  However, menu selection
              can be used to cycle through all the matches.

              This is tested for each tag valid in the current context as well
              as  the  default tag.  If it is set to `true', the corresponding
              matches appear in listings as if  the  LIST_PACKED  option  were
              set.  If it is set to `false', they are listed normally.

              If  this style is set for the default tag, completion lists that
              don't fit on the screen can be scrolled (see the description  of
              the  zsh/complist  module  in zshmodules(1)).  The value, if not
              the empty string, will be displayed after  every  screenful  and
              the  shell  will  prompt for a key press; if the style is set to
              the empty string, a default prompt will be used.

              The value may contain the escape sequences: `%l' or `%L',  which
              will  be  replaced  by the number of the last line displayed and
              the total number of lines; `%m' or `%M', the number of the  last
              match  shown and the total number of matches; and `%p' and `%P',
              `Top' when at the beginning of the list, `Bottom'  when  at  the
              end  and  the position shown as a percentage of the total length
              otherwise.  In each case the form with the uppercase letter will
              be  replaced  by  a  string of fixed width, padded to the  right
              with spaces, while the lowercase form  will  be  replaced  by  a
              variable  width  string.  As in other prompt strings, the escape
              sequences `%S', `%s', `%B', `%b', `%U', `%u'  for  entering  and
              leaving  the  display  modes  standout,  bold and underline, and
              `%F', `%f', `%K', `%k' for changing  the  foreground  background
              colour,  are  also  available,  as  is  the  form  `%{...%}' for
              enclosing escape sequences which display with zero (or,  with  a
              numeric argument, some other) width.

              After  deleting  this  prompt  the variable LISTPROMPT should be
              unset for the the removal to take effect.

              This style is tested in the same way as  the  list-packed  style
              and  determines whether matches are to be listed in a rows-first
              fashion as if the LIST_ROWS_FIRST option were set.

              This style is used by the function that completes filenames.  If
              it  is  true, and completion is attempted on a string containing
              multiple partially  typed  pathname  components,  all  ambiguous
              components  will  be  shown.  Otherwise, completion stops at the
              first ambiguous component.

              The value of  this  style  is  used  in  completion  listing  to
              separate the string to complete from a description when possible
              (e.g. when  completing  options).   It  defaults  to  `--'  (two

       local  This  is for use with functions that complete URLs for which the
              corresponding files are available directly from the file system.
              Its  value should consist of three strings: a hostname, the path
              to the default web pages for the server, and the directory  name
              used by a user placing web pages within their home area.

              For example:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' local toast \
                         /var/http/public/toast public_html

              Completion  after  `http://toast/stuff/'  will look for files in
              the directory  /var/http/public/toast/stuff,   while  completion
              after   `http://toast/~yousir/'  will  look  for  files  in  the
              directory ~yousir/public_html.

              If set, zsh will assume that mailbox files can be found  in  the
              directory specified.  It defaults to `~/Mail'.

              This  is  used  by  the _match completer.  If it is set to only,
              _match will try to generate matches without inserting a  `*'  at
              the  cursor  position.   If set to any other non-empty value, it
              will first try to generate matches without inserting the `*' and
              if  that  yields  no  matches,  it  will  try again with the `*'
              inserted.  If it is unset or set to the empty  string,  matching
              will only be performed with the `*' inserted.

              This  style  is  tested  separately  for  each  tag valid in the
              current context.  Its value is added to any match specifications
              given  by  the  matcher-list  style.   It  should be in the form
              described  in  the  section  `Completion  Matching  Control'  in

              This style can be set to a list of match specifications that are
              to be applied everywhere. Match specifications are described  in
              the section `Completion Matching Control' in zshcompwid(1).  The
              completion system will try  them  one  after  another  for  each
              completer selected.  For example, to try first simple completion
              and, if that generates no matches, case-insensitive completion:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' matcher-list '' 'm:{a-zA-Z}={A-Za-z}'

              By  default  each  specification  replaces  the  previous   one;
              however,  if  a specification is prefixed with +, it is added to
              the existing list.  Hence it is possible to create  increasingly
              general specifications without repetition:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' matcher-list '' '+m{a-z}={A-Z}' '+m{A-Z}={a-z}'

              It   is  possible  to  create  match  specifications  valid  for
              particular completers by using the third field of  the  context.
              For  example,  to  use  the completers _complete and _prefix but
              only allow case-insensitive completion with _complete:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' completer _complete _prefix
                     zstyle ':completion:*:complete:*' matcher-list \
                            '' 'm:{a-zA-Z}={A-Za-z}'

              User-defined names, as explained for the  completer  style,  are
              available.   This  makes  it  possible to try the same completer
              more than once with different match  specifications  each  time.
              For   example,   to   try  normal  completion  without  a  match
              specification,  then  normal  completion  with  case-insensitive
              matching, then correction, and finally partial-word completion:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' completer _complete _correct _complete:foo
                     zstyle ':completion:*:complete:*' matcher-list \
                         '' 'm:{a-zA-Z}={A-Za-z}'
                     zstyle ':completion:*:foo:*' matcher-list \
                         'm:{a-zA-Z}={A-Za-z} r:|[-_./]=* r:|=*'

              If  the  style is unset in any context no match specification is
              applied.  Note also that some completers such  as  _correct  and
              _approximate  do not use the match specifications at all, though
              these completers will only ever  be  called  once  even  if  the
              matcher-list contains more than one element.

              Where  multiple  specifications are useful, note that the entire
              completion is done for each element of matcher-list,  which  can
              quickly  reduce  the  shell's  performance.   As a rough rule of
              thumb, one to three strings will  give  acceptable  performance.
              On  the other hand, putting multiple space-separated values into
              the  same  string  does  not  have  an  appreciable  impact   on

              If  there  is  no current matcher or it is empty, and the option
              NO_CASE_GLOB is in effect, the matching for files  is  performed
              case-insensitively  in  any  case.   However,  any  matcher must
              explicitly  specify  case-insensitive  matching   if   that   is

              This   is  used  by  the  _approximate  and  _correct  completer
              functions to determine the maximum number of  errors  to  allow.
              The completer will try to generate completions by first allowing
              one error, then two errors, and so on, until either a  match  or
              matches were found or the maximum number of errors given by this
              style has been reached.

              If the value for this style contains the string  `numeric',  the
              completer function will take any numeric argument as the maximum
              number of errors allowed. For example, with

                     zstyle ':completion:*:approximate:::' max-errors 2 numeric

              two errors are allowed if no numeric argument is given, but with
              a  numeric argument of six (as in `ESC-6 TAB'), up to six errors
              are accepted.  Hence with a value of `0 numeric', no  correcting
              completion will be attempted unless a numeric argument is given.

              If  the  value  contains the string `not-numeric', the completer
              will not try to generate  corrected  completions  when  given  a
              numeric  argument,  so  in  this case the number given should be
              greater than zero.  For example, `2 not-numeric' specifies  that
              correcting completion with two errors will usually be performed,
              but if a numeric argument is given, correcting  completion  will
              not be performed.

              The default value for this style is `2 numeric'.

              This  style is used to determine the trade off between the width
              of the display used for matches and the  width  used  for  their
              descriptions  when  the  verbose  style is in effect.  The value
              gives the number of display columns to reserve for the  matches.
              The default is half the width of the screen.

              This  has  the  most  impact  when several matches have the same
              description and so will be  grouped  together.   Increasing  the
              style will allow more matches to be grouped together; decreasing
              it will allow more of the description to be visible.

       menu   If this is true in the context of any of the  tags  defined  for
              the  current completion menu completion will be used.  The value
              for a specific tag  will  take  precedence  over  that  for  the
              `default' tag.

              If none of the values found in this way is true but at least one
              is set to `auto', the shell behaves as if the  AUTO_MENU  option
              is set.

              If one of the values is explicitly set to false, menu completion
              will be explicitly  turned  off,  overriding  the  MENU_COMPLETE
              option and other settings.

              In the form `yes=num', where `yes' may be any of the true values
              (`yes', `true', `on' and `1'), menu completion will be turned on
              if there are at least num matches.  In the form `yes=long', menu
              completion will be turned on if the list does  not  fit  on  the
              screen.   This  does  not activate menu completion if the widget
              normally only lists completions,  but  menu  completion  can  be
              activated   in   that   case   with  the  value  `yes=long-list'
              (Typically, the value `select=long-list' described later is more
              useful as it provides control over scrolling.)

              Similarly,  with any of the `false' values (as in `no=10'), menu
              completion will not be used if there are num or more matches.

              The value of  this  widget  also  controls  menu  selection,  as
              implemented  by  the  zsh/complist module.  The following values
              may appear either alongside or instead of the values above.

              If the value contains the string `select', menu  selection  will
              be started unconditionally.

              In the form `select=num', menu selection will only be started if
              there are at least num matches.  If the values for more than one
              tag provide a number, the smallest number is taken.

              Menu  selection can be turned off explicitly by defining a value
              containing the string`no-select'.

              It is also possible to start menu selection only if the list  of
              matches   does  not  fit  on  the  screen  by  using  the  value
              `select=long'.  To start menu  selection  even  if  the  current
              widget only performs listing, use the value `select=long-list'.

              To  turn on menu completion or menu selection when a there are a
              certain number of matches or the list of matches does not fit on
              the  screen,  both  of  `yes=' and `select=' may be given twice,
              once with a number and once with `long' or `long-list'.

              Finally, it is possible to activate two special  modes  of  menu
              selection.    The   word   `interactive'  in  the  value  causes
              interactive mode to be entered immediately when  menu  selection
              is  started;  see  the description of the zsh/complist module in
              zshmodules(1) for a description of interactive mode.   Including
              the  string  `search' does the same for incremental search mode.
              To  select  backward  incremental  search,  include  the  string

       muttrc If  set,  gives the location of the mutt configuration file.  It
              defaults to `~/.muttrc'.

              This is used with the jobs tag.  If it is `true', the shell will
              complete  job numbers instead of the shortest unambiguous prefix
              of the job command text.  If the value is a number, job  numbers
              will  only  be used if that many words from the job descriptions
              are required to resolve ambiguities.  For example, if the  value
              is  `1',  strings  will  only  be used if all jobs differ in the
              first word on their command lines.

              This is used by  the  _oldlist  completer.   If  it  is  set  to
              `always',  then  standard  widgets  which  perform  listing will
              retain the current list of matches, however they were generated;
              this can be turned off explicitly with the value `never', giving
              the behaviour without the _oldlist completer.  If the  style  is
              unset, or any other value, then the existing list of completions
              is displayed if it  is  not  already;  otherwise,  the  standard
              completion  list  is generated; this is the default behaviour of
              _oldlist.  However, if there is  an  old  list  and  this  style
              contains  the  name of the completer function that generated the
              list, then the old list will be used even if it was generated by
              a widget which does not do listing.

              For  example,  suppose  you  type  ^Xc  to use the _correct_word
              widget, which generates a list of corrections for the word under
              the  cursor.   Usually, typing ^D would generate a standard list
              of completions for the word on the command line, and show  that.
              With  _oldlist,  it  will  instead  show the list of corrections
              already generated.

              As another example  consider  the  _match  completer:  with  the
              insert-unambiguous  style set to `true' it inserts only a common
              prefix string, if there is any.  However, this may remove  parts
              of  the  original  pattern,  so  that  further  completion could
              produce more matches than on the first attempt.   By  using  the
              _oldlist completer and setting this style to _match, the list of
              matches generated on the first attempt will be used again.

              This is used by the _all_matches completer to decide if  an  old
              list  of matches should be used if one exists.  This is selected
              by one of the `true' values or by the  string  `only'.   If  the
              value  is  `only',  _all_matches  will  only use an old list and
              won't have any effect on the list  of  matches  currently  being

              If  this  style  is  set  it  is  generally  unwise  to call the
              _all_matches completer unconditionally.  One possible use is for
              either  this style or the completer style to be defined with the
              -e option to zstyle to make the style conditional.

              This is used by the _oldlist completer.  It  controls  how  menu
              completion  behaves  when a completion has already been inserted
              and the user types a standard completion key such as  TAB.   The
              default  behaviour  of  _oldlist  is that menu completion always
              continues with the existing list of completions.  If this  style
              is  set  to `false', however, a new completion is started if the
              old list was generated by a different completion  command;  this
              is the behaviour without the _oldlist completer.

              For  example,  suppose  you  type  ^Xc  to  generate  a  list of
              corrections, and menu completion is started in one of the  usual
              ways.   Usually,  or with this style set to false, typing TAB at
              this point would start trying to complete the  line  as  it  now
              appears.   With  _oldlist, it instead continues to cycle through
              the list of corrections.

              This is used by the  _approximate  and  _correct  completers  to
              decide  if  the  original  string  should be added as a possible
              completion.  Normally, this is done only if there are  at  least
              two possible corrections, but if this style is set to `true', it
              is always added.  Note that the style will be examined with  the
              completer  field  in  the  context  name  set  to correct-num or
              approximate-num, where num is the number  of  errors  that  were

              This  style  is  used  when  completing  arguments of the Debian
              `dpkg' program.  It contains an override for the default package
              set for a given context.  For example,

                     zstyle ':completion:*:complete:dpkg:option--status-1:*' \
                                    packageset avail

              causes  available packages, rather than only installed packages,
              to be completed for `dpkg --status'.

       path   The function that completes color names uses this style with the
              colors  tag.   The  value  should  be  the  pathname  of  a file
              containing color names in the format of an X11 rgb.txt file.  If
              the  style  is  not set but this file is found in one of various
              standard locations it will be used as the default.

              This is used  by  filename  completion.   By  default,  filename
              completion examines all components of a path to see if there are
              completions of that  component.   For  example,  /u/b/z  can  be
              completed  to  /usr/bin/zsh.   Explicitly  setting this style to
              false inhibits this behaviour for path components up  to  the  /
              before    the    cursor;   this   overrides   the   setting   of

              Even with the style set  to  false,  it  is  still  possible  to
              complete  multiple  paths by setting the option COMPLETE_IN_WORD
              and moving the cursor back to the first component in the path to
              be   completed.    For  example,  /u/b/z  can  be  completed  to
              /usr/bin/zsh if the cursor is after the /u.

              If set, specifies the directory containing PINE  mailbox  files.
              There  is no default, since recursively searching this directory
              is inconvenient for anyone who doesn't use PINE.

       ports  A list of Internet service names (network  ports)  to  complete.
              If  this  is  not  set,  service  names  are taken from the file

              This is used  for  certain  completions  which  share  a  common
              prefix,  for  example command options beginning with dashes.  If
              it is `true', the prefix will  not  be  shown  in  the  list  of

              The default value for this style is `false'.

              This,  too,  is used for matches with a common prefix.  If it is
              set to `true' this common prefix must be typed by  the  user  to
              generate  the  matches.   In  the  case of command options, this
              means  that  the  initial  `-',  `+',  or  `--'  must  be  typed
              explicitly before option names will be completed.

              The default value for this style is `true'.

              This style is used when completing path names.  Its value should
              be a pattern matching an initial prefix of the word to  complete
              that  should  be  left  unchanged  under all circumstances.  For
              example, on some Unices an initial `//'  (double  slash)  has  a
              special  meaning;  setting  this  style  to the string `//' will
              preserve it.  As another example, setting this  style  to  `?:/'
              under Cygwin would allow completion after `a:/...' and so on.

       range  This    is    used   by   the   _history   completer   and   the
              _history_complete_word bindable command to  decide  which  words
              should be completed.

              If  it is a singe number, only the last N words from the history
              will be completed.

              If it is a range of the form `max:slice', the last  slice  words
              will  be  completed;  then  if that yields no matches, the slice
              words before those will be tried and so on.  This process  stops
              either when at least one match was been found, or max words have
              been tried.

              The default is to complete all words from the history at once.

              This style is used by the _expand_alias completer  and  bindable
              command.   If  set to `true' (the default), regular aliases will
              be expanded but only in command  position.   If  it  is  set  to
              `false',  regular aliases will never be expanded.   If it is set
              to `always', regular aliases will be expanded  even  if  not  in
              command position.

       rehash If  this  is set when completing external commands, the internal
              list (hash) of commands will  be  updated  for  each  search  by
              issuing  the  rehash command.  There is a speed penalty for this
              which is only likely to be noticeable when  directories  in  the
              path have slow file access.

              If  set to false, certain commands will be prevented from making
              Internet  connections  to  retrieve  remote  information.   This
              includes the completion for the CVS command.

              It  is not always possible to know if connections are in fact to
              a remote site, so some may be prevented unnecessarily.

              The _history_complete_word bindable  command  and  the  _history
              completer  use this to decide if all duplicate matches should be
              removed, rather than just consecutive duplicates.

              If this is set for the default tag, its value will be  displayed
              during  menu  selection  (see  the  menu  style  above) when the
              completion list does not fit on the screen as a whole.  The same
              escapes as for the list-prompt style are understood, except that
              the numbers refer to the match  or  line  the  mark  is  on.   A
              default prompt is used when the value is the empty string.

              This  style  is  tested for the default tag and determines how a
              completion list is scrolled during a  menu  selection  (see  the
              menu  style  above) when the completion list does not fit on the
              screen as a whole.  If the value is  `0'  (zero),  the  list  is
              scrolled  by  half-screenfuls;  if it is a positive integer, the
              list is scrolled by the given  number  of  lines;  if  it  is  a
              negative  number,  the list is scrolled by a screenful minus the
              absolute value of the given number of lines.  The default is  to
              scroll by single lines.

              This style is used with the manuals tag when completing names of
              manual pages.  If it is `true', entries for  different  sections
              are  added  separately  using  tag names of the form `manual.X',
              where X is the section number.  When  the  group-name  style  is
              also  in  effect,  pages  from  different  sections  will appear
              separately.  This style is also used similarly  with  the  words
              style  when  completing  words  for  the dict command. It allows
              words  from  different  dictionary   databases   to   be   added
              separately.  The default for this style is `false'.

              Tested  whenever  a  new completer is tried.  If it is true, the
              completion system outputs a progress message in the listing area
              showing  what  completer  is  being  tried.  The message will be
              overwritten by any output when  completions  are  found  and  is
              removed after completion is finished.

              This  is  used  by the _ignored completer when there is only one
              match.  If its  value  is  `show',  the  single  match  will  be
              displayed  but  not  inserted.  If the value is `menu', then the
              single match and the original string are both added  as  matches
              and  menu completion is started, making it easy to select either
              of them.

       sort   Many completion widgets call _description at  some  point  which
              decides  whether the matches are added sorted or unsorted (often
              indirectly via _wanted or _requested).  This style  can  be  set
              explicitly  to  one  of  the  usual  true  or false values as an
              override.  If it is  not  set  for  the  context,  the  standard
              behaviour of the calling widget is used.

              The style is tested first against the full context including the
              tag, and if that fails to produce a value  against  the  context
              without the tag.

              If the calling widget explicitly requests unsorted matches, this
              is usually honoured.  However, the default (unsorted)  behaviour
              of  completion  for  the  command  history  may be overridden by
              setting the style to true.

              In the _expand completer, if it is set to `true', the expansions
              generated  will  always be sorted.  If it is set to `menu', then
              the expansions are only sorted when they are offered  as  single
              strings   but   not   in  the  string  containing  all  possible

              Normally, the completion code will  not  produce  the  directory
              names  `.'  and  `..' as possible completions.  If this style is
              set to `true', it  will  add  both  `.'  and  `..'  as  possible
              completions; if it is set to `..', only `..' will be added.

              The following example sets special-dirs to `..' when the current
              prefix is empty, is a single `.', or consists  only  of  a  path
              beginning with `../'.  Otherwise the value is `false'.

                     zstyle -e ':completion:*' special-dirs \
                        '[[ $PREFIX = (../)#(|.|..) ]] && reply=(..)'

              If  set  to  `true', sequences of slashes in filename paths (for
              example in `foo//bar') will be treated as a single slash.   This
              is  the  usual behaviour of UNIX paths.  However, by default the
              file completion function behaves as if there were a `*'  between
              the slashes.

       stop   If  set  to  `true', the _history_complete_word bindable command
              will stop once  when  reaching  the  beginning  or  end  of  the
              history.   Invoking _history_complete_word will then wrap around
              to the opposite end of the history.  If this  style  is  set  to
              `false'   (the   default),   _history_complete_word   will  loop
              immediately as in a menu completion.

              If set to `true', this style causes non-essential  comment  text
              to  be  removed  from  completion matches.  Currently it is only
              used when completing  e-mail  addresses  where  it  removes  any
              display  name  from  the  addresses,  cutting them down to plain
              user@host form.

              This is used by the _expand completer.  If it is set to  `true',
              the  expansion  will  only be used if it resulted from globbing;
              hence, if expansions resulted from the  use  of  the  substitute
              style  described  below,  but  these were not further changed by
              globbing, the expansions will be rejected.

              The default for this style is `false'.

              This boolean style controls whether the _expand  completer  will
              first  try  to  expand  all substitutions in the string (such as
              `$(...)' and `${...}').

              The default is `true'.

       suffix This is used by the _expand completer if the word starts with  a
              tilde  or  contains  a  parameter  expansion.   If  it is set to
              `true', the word will only be expanded  if  it  doesn't  have  a
              suffix,  i.e.  if  it  is something like `~foo' or `$foo' rather
              than `~foo/' or `$foo/bar', unless that suffix  itself  contains
              characters  eligible  for expansion.  The default for this style
              is `true'.

              This provides a mechanism for sorting how the tags available  in
              a particular context will be used.

              The  values  for  the style are sets of space-separated lists of
              tags.  The tags in each value will be tried at the same time; if
              no   match   is  found,  the  next  value  is  used.   (See  the
              file-patterns style for an exception to this behavior.)

              For example:

                     zstyle ':completion:*:complete:-command-:*' tag-order \
                         'commands functions'

              specifies that  completion  in  command  position  first  offers
              external  commands  and shell functions.  Remaining tags will be
              tried if no completions are found.

              In addition to tag names, each string in the value may take  one
              of the following forms:

              -      If  any  value  consists  of only a hyphen, then only the
                     tags  specified  in  the  other  values  are   generated.
                     Normally  all tags not explicitly selected are tried last
                     if the specified tags fail to generate any matches.  This
                     means  that  a  single  value consisting only of a single
                     hyphen turns off completion.

              ! tags...
                     A string starting  with  an  exclamation  mark  specifies
                     names of tags that are not to be used.  The effect is the
                     same as if all other possible tags for  the  context  had
                     been listed.

              tag:label ...
                     Here,  tag  is  one  of the standard tags and label is an
                     arbitrary name.  Matches are generated as normal but  the
                     name  label  is used in contexts instead of tag.  This is
                     not useful in words starting with !.

                     If the label starts with a hyphen, the tag  is  prepended
                     to  the label to form the name used for lookup.  This can
                     be used to make the completion system try a  certain  tag
                     more  than  once,  supplying different style settings for
                     each attempt; see below for an example.

                     As before, but description will replace the `%d'  in  the
                     value   of  the  format  style  instead  of  the  default
                     description supplied by the completion function.   Spaces
                     in  the  description  must be quoted with a backslash.  A
                     `%d'  appearing  in  description  is  replaced  with  the
                     description given by the completion function.

              In  any  of  the forms above the tag may be a pattern or several
              patterns  in  the  form  `{pat1,pat2...}'.   In  this  case  all
              matching  tags  will  be used except for any given explicitly in
              the same string.

              One use of these features is to try  one  tag  more  than  once,
              setting  other  styles differently on each attempt, but still to
              use all the other tags without having to repeat them  all.   For
              example,  to  make  completion  of  function  names  in  command
              position ignore all the completion functions  starting  with  an
              underscore the first time completion is tried:

                     zstyle ':completion:*:*:-command-:*' tag-order \
                         'functions:-non-comp *' functions
                     zstyle ':completion:*:functions-non-comp' ignored-patterns '_*'

              On the first attempt, all tags will be offered but the functions
              tag   will   be    replaced    by    functions-non-comp.     The
              ignored-patterns  style is set for this tag to exclude functions
              starting with an underscore.   If  there  are  no  matches,  the
              second  value  of  the  tag-order  style is used which completes
              functions using the default tag, this time presumably  including
              all function names.

              The matches for one tag can be split into different groups.  For

                     zstyle ':completion:*' tag-order \
                         'options:-long:long\ options
                          options:-short:short\ options
                          options:-single-letter:single\ letter\ options'

                     zstyle ':completion:*:options-long' ignored-patterns '[-+](|-|[^-]*)'
                     zstyle ':completion:*:options-short' ignored-patterns '--*' '[-+]?'
                     zstyle ':completion:*:options-single-letter' ignored-patterns '???*'

              With the group-names style set,  options  beginning  with  `--',
              options  beginning  with  a  single  `-'  or  `+' but containing
              multiple characters, and single-letter options will be displayed
              in separate groups with different descriptions.

              Another  use of patterns is to try multiple match specifications
              one after another.   The  matcher-list  style  offers  something
              similar,  but  it  is tested very early in the completion system
              and hence can't be set for single commands nor for more specific
              contexts.   Here  is  how  to  try normal completion without any
              match specification and, if that generates no matches, try again
              with   case-insensitive  matching,  restricting  the  effect  to
              arguments of the command foo:

                     zstyle ':completion:*:*:foo:*' tag-order '*' '*:-case'
                     zstyle ':completion:*-case' matcher 'm:{a-z}={A-Z}'

              First, all the tags offered when completing after foo are  tried
              using  the  normal  tag name.  If that generates no matches, the
              second value of tag-order is used, which tries  all  tags  again
              except  that  this  time each has -case appended to its name for
              lookup of styles.  Hence this time the  value  for  the  matcher
              style  from  the second call to zstyle in the example is used to
              make completion case-insensitive.

              It is possible to use  the  -e  option  of  the  zstyle  builtin
              command  to  specify  conditions for the use of particular tags.
              For example:

                     zstyle -e '*:-command-:*' tag-order '
                         if [[ -n $PREFIX$SUFFIX ]]; then
                           reply=( )
                           reply=( - )

              Completion in command position will be  attempted  only  if  the
              string  typed  so  far  is  not empty.  This is tested using the
              PREFIX special parameter; see zshcompwid for  a  description  of
              parameters which are special inside completion widgets.  Setting
              reply to an empty array provides the default behaviour of trying
              all  tags  at  once;  setting  it  to an array containing only a
              hyphen  disables  the  use  of  all  tags  and  hence   of   all

              If  no  tag-order  style  has  been  defined  for a context, the
              strings `(|*-)argument-*  (|*-)option-*  values'  and  `options'
              plus all tags offered by the completion function will be used to
              provide  a  sensible  default  behavior  that  causes  arguments
              (whether normal command arguments or arguments of options) to be
              completed before option names for most commands.

       urls   This is used  together  with  the  the  urls  tag  by  functions
              completing URLs.

              If  the  value  consists of more than one string, or if the only
              string does not name a file or directory, the strings  are  used
              as the URLs to complete.

              If  the  value  contains  only one string which is the name of a
              normal file the URLs are taken from that file  (where  the  URLs
              may be separated by white space or newlines).

              Finally,  if the only string in the value names a directory, the
              directory  hierarchy  rooted  at  this   directory   gives   the
              completions.   The top level directory should be the file access
              method, such as `http', `ftp', `bookmark' and so  on.   In  many
              cases  the  next  level  of directories will be a filename.  The
              directory hierarchy can descend as deep as necessary.

              For example,

                     zstyle ':completion:*' urls ~/.urls
                     mkdir -p ~/.urls/ftp/

              allows  completion  of   all   the   components   of   the   URL
      after  suitable commands such
              as `netscape' or `lynx'.  Note, however, that access methods and
              files  are  completed  separately,  so if the hosts style is set
              hosts can be completed without reference to the urls style.

              See the description  in  the  function  _urls  itself  for  more
              information (e.g. `more $^fpath/_urls(N)').

              If  this  is  set, the completion caching layer is activated for
              any  completions   which   use   it   (via   the   _store_cache,
              _retrieve_cache,  and  _cache_invalid functions).  The directory
              containing the cache files can be changed  with  the  cache-path

              If  this style is set to a string not equal to false, 0, no, and
              off, the completion system may use any completion specifications
              defined  with  the  compctl  builtin  command.   If the style is
              unset, this is done only if the zsh/compctl  module  is  loaded.
              The  string  may  also  contain  the  substring  `first'  to use
              completions  defined  with  `compctl  -T',  and  the   substring
              `default' to use the completion defined with `compctl -D'.

              Note  that  this  is only intended to smooth the transition from
              compctl to the new completion system and may  disappear  in  the

              Note also that the definitions from compctl will only be used if
              there is no specific completion  function  for  the  command  in
              question.   For example, if there is a function _foo to complete
              arguments to the command foo, compctl will never be invoked  for
              foo.   However,  the  compctl  version will be tried if foo only
              uses default completion.

       use-ip By default, the function _hosts that completes host names strips
              IP  addresses  from entries read from host databases such as NIS
              and ssh files.  If this style  is  true,  the  corresponding  IP
              addresses  can  be  completed as well.  This style is not use in
              any context where the hosts style is set; note also it  must  be
              set  before  the cache of host names is generated (typically the
              first completion attempt).

              Various parts of the function system use awk  to  extract  words
              from  files  or  command  output as it is universally available.
              However, many versions of awk have arbitrary limits on the  size
              of  input.   If  this  style  is set, perl will be used instead.
              This is almost always preferable if perl is  available  on  your

              Currently  this  is  only used in completions for `make', but it
              may be extended depending on authorial frustration.

       users  This may be set to a list of usernames to be completed.   If  it
              is  not set all usernames will be completed.  Note that if it is
              set only that list of users will be completed; this  is  because
              on some systems querying all users can take a prohibitive amount
              of time.

              The values of this style should be of the  form  `user@host'  or
              `user:host'.  It  is  used for commands that need pairs of user-
              and hostnames.  These commands will complete usernames from this
              style  (only),  and will restrict subsequent hostname completion
              to hosts paired with that user in  one  of  the  values  of  the

              It  is possible to group values for sets of commands which allow
              a remote login, such as rlogin and ssh, by using the my-accounts
              tag.  Similarly, values for sets of commands which usually refer
              to the accounts of other people, such as talk and finger, can be
              grouped  by  using  the  other-accounts  tag.   More  ambivalent
              commands may use the accounts tag.

              Like  users-hosts  but  used  for  commands  like   telnet   and
              containing strings of the form `user@host:port'.

              If  set,  as  it  is  by default, the completion listing is more
              verbose.  In particular  many  commands  show  descriptions  for
              options if this style is `true'.

       word   This  is  used  by  the  _list  completer,  which  prevents  the
              insertion of completions until a second completion attempt  when
              the  line has not changed.  The normal way of finding out if the
              line has changed is to compare its entire contents  between  the
              two occasions.  If this style is true, the comparison is instead
              performed only on the current  word.   Hence  if  completion  is
              performed  on  another  word  with the same contents, completion
              will not be delayed.


       The initialization script compinit  redefines  all  the  widgets  which
       perform completion to call the supplied widget function _main_complete.
       This function acts as  a  wrapper  calling  the  so-called  `completer'
       functions  that  generate  matches.   If  _main_complete is called with
       arguments, these are taken as the names of completer  functions  to  be
       called  in  the  order  given.   If  no arguments are given, the set of
       functions to try is taken from the completer style.   For  example,  to
       use  normal  completion  and  correction  if  that doesn't generate any

              zstyle ':completion:*' completer _complete _correct

       after calling compinit. The default value for this style is  `_complete
       _ignored',  i.e. normally only ordinary completion is tried, first with
       the effect of the ignored-patterns style  and  then  without  it.   The
       _main_complete  function  uses  the  return  status  of  the  completer
       functions to decide if other  completers  should  be  called.   If  the
       return   status  is  zero,  no  other  completers  are  tried  and  the
       _main_complete function returns.

       If the first  argument  to  _main_complete  is  a  single  hyphen,  the
       arguments  will  not  be  taken  as  names of completers.  Instead, the
       second argument gives a name to use  in  the  completer  field  of  the
       context  and  the  other arguments give a command name and arguments to
       call to generate the matches.

       The following completer functions are contained  in  the  distribution,
       although  users may write their own.  Note that in contexts the leading
       underscore is stripped, for example basic completion  is  performed  in
       the context `:completion::complete:...'.

              This  completer  can  be  used to add a string consisting of all
              other matches.  As it influences later completers it must appear
              as  the first completer in the list.  The list of all matches is
              affected by the avoid-completer and old-matches styles described

              It may be useful to use the _generic function described below to
              bind _all_matches to its own keystroke, for example:

                     zle -C all-matches complete-word _generic
                     bindkey '^Xa' all-matches
                     zstyle ':completion:all-matches:*' old-matches only
                     zstyle ':completion:all-matches::::' completer _all_matches

              Note that this does not generate completions by  itself:   first
              use   any   of  the  standard  ways  of  generating  a  list  of
              completions, then use ^Xa to show all matches.  It  is  possible
              instead to add a standard completer to the list and request that
              the list of all matches should be directly inserted:

                     zstyle ':completion:all-matches::::' completer _all_matches _complete
                     zstyle ':completion:all-matches:*' insert true

              In this case the old-matches style should not be set.

              This is similar to the basic _complete completer but allows  the
              completions  to  undergo  corrections.   The  maximum  number of
              errors can  be  specified  by  the  max-errors  style;  see  the
              description of approximate matching in zshexpn(1) for how errors
              are counted.  Normally this completer will only be  tried  after
              the normal _complete completer:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' completer _complete _approximate

              This  will  give  correcting  completion  if  and only if normal
              completion  yields  no  possible  completions.   When  corrected
              completions  are  found,  the completer will normally start menu
              completion allowing you to cycle through these strings.

              This completer uses  the  tags  corrections  and  original  when
              generating  the  possible  corrections  and the original string.
              The format style for  the  former  may  contain  the  additional
              sequences  `%e' and `%o' which will be replaced by the number of
              errors accepted to generate the  corrections  and  the  original
              string, respectively.

              The  completer  progressively  increases  the  number  of errors
              allowed up to the limit by the  max-errors  style,  hence  if  a
              completion  is  found  with  one  error, no completions with two
              errors will be shown, and so on.  It modifies the completer name
              in  the context to indicate the number of errors being tried: on
              the first try the completer field contains  `approximate-1',  on
              the second try `approximate-2', and so on.

              When _approximate is called from another function, the number of
              errors to accept may be passed with the -a option.  The argument
              is  in  the  same  format  as  the  max-errors style, all in one

              Note that this completer (and the _correct  completer  mentioned
              below)  can  be quite expensive to call, especially when a large
              number of errors are allowed.  One way to avoid this is  to  set
              up  the  completer  style  using the -e option to zstyle so that
              some completers are only used when  completion  is  attempted  a
              second time on the same string, e.g.:

                     zstyle -e ':completion:*' completer '
                       if [[ $_last_try != "$HISTNO$BUFFER$CURSOR" ]]; then
                         reply=(_complete _match _prefix)
                         reply=(_ignored _correct _approximate)

              This uses the HISTNO parameter and the BUFFER and CURSOR special
              parameters that are available inside zle and completion  widgets
              to  find  out  if the command line hasn't changed since the last
              time completion was tried.  Only then are the _ignored, _correct
              and _approximate completers called.

              This   completer   generates   all  possible  completions  in  a
              context-sensitive manner, i.e. using the settings  defined  with
              the compdef function explained above and the current settings of
              all  special  parameters.   This  gives  the  normal  completion

              To  complete  arguments  of commands, _complete uses the utility
              function _normal, which is in turn responsible for  finding  the
              particular function; it is described below.  Various contexts of
              the form -context-  are  handled  specifically.  These  are  all
              mentioned above as possible arguments to the #compdef tag.

              Before  trying  to  find  a  function  for  a  specific context,
              _complete checks if the parameter `compcontext' is set.  Setting
              `compcontext'  allows  the  usual  completion  dispatching to be
              overridden which is useful in places such  as  a  function  that
              uses vared for input. If it is set to an array, the elements are
              taken to be the possible matches which will be  completed  using
              the tag `values' and the description `value'. If it is set to an
              associative array, the keys are used as the possible completions
              and  the  values (if non-empty) are used as descriptions for the
              matches.  If `compcontext' is set to a string containing colons,
              it  should  be of the form `tag:descr:action'.  In this case the
              tag and descr give the tag and description to use and the action
              indicates  what should be completed in one of the forms accepted
              by the _arguments utility function described below.

              Finally, if `compcontext' is set to a string without colons, the
              value  is  taken  as  the  name  of  the  context to use and the
              function defined for that context  will  be  called.   For  this
              purpose,  there  is  a special context named -command-line- that
              completes whole command lines (commands  and  their  arguments).
              This  is  not  used  by  the  completion  system  itself  but is
              nonetheless handled when explicitly called.

              Generate corrections, but not completions, for the current word;
              this is similar to _approximate but will not allow any number of
              extra characters at the cursor  as  that  completer  does.   The
              effect   is   similar   to   spell-checking.   It  is  based  on
              _approximate, but the completer field in  the  context  name  is

              For example, with:

                     zstyle ':completion:::::' completer _complete _correct _approximate
                     zstyle ':completion:*:correct:::' max-errors 2 not-numeric
                     zstyle ':completion:*:approximate:::' max-errors 3 numeric

              correction  will accept up to two errors.  If a numeric argument
              is given, correction  will  not  be  performed,  but  correcting
              completion  will  be, and will accept as many errors as given by
              the  numeric  argument.   Without  a  numeric  argument,   first
              correction  and  then  correcting completion will be tried, with
              the first one accepting two errors and the second one  accepting
              three errors.

              When  _correct  is called as a function, the number of errors to
              accept may be given following the -a option.  The argument is in
              the same form a values to the accept style, all in one string.

              This  completer  function  is  intended  to  be used without the
              _approximate completer or, as in the example,  just  before  it.
              Using  it  after  the  _approximate  completer  is useless since
              _approximate  will  at  least  generate  the  corrected  strings
              generated by the _correct completer -- and probably more.

              This  completer function does not really perform completion, but
              instead checks if the word on the command line is  eligible  for
              expansion  and,  if  it is, gives detailed control over how this
              expansion is done.  For this to happen,  the  completion  system
              needs  to  be invoked with complete-word, not expand-or-complete
              (the default binding for TAB), as otherwise the string  will  be
              expanded by the shell's internal mechanism before the completion
              system is started.  Note also this completer  should  be  called
              before the _complete completer function.

              The  tags used when generating expansions are all-expansions for
              the string containing all possible expansions,  expansions  when
              adding  the  possible  expansions as single matches and original
              when adding the original string from the  line.   The  order  in
              which  these strings are generated, if at all, can be controlled
              by the group-order and tag-order styles, as usual.

              The format string for  all-expansions  and  for  expansions  may
              contain the sequence `%o' which will be replaced by the original
              string from the line.

              The  kind  of  expansion  to  be  tried  is  controlled  by  the
              substitute, glob and subst-globs-only styles.

              It is also possible to call _expand as a function, in which case
              the different  modes  may  be  selected  with  options:  -s  for
              substitute, -g for glob and -o for subst-globs-only.

              If  the word the cursor is on is an alias, it is expanded and no
              other completers are called.  The types of aliases which are  to
              be  expanded  can  be controlled with the styles regular, global
              and disabled.

              This function is  also  a  bindable  command,  see  the  section
              `Bindable Commands' below.

              Complete   words   from  the  shell's  command   history.   This
              completer can be controlled by  the  remove-all-dups,  and  sort
              styles  as  for the _history_complete_word bindable command, see
              the  section  `Bindable  Commands'   below   and   the   section
              `Completion System Configuration' above.

              The  ignored-patterns  style  can  be  set to a list of patterns
              which are compared against possible completions;  matching  ones
              are   removed.    With  this  completer  those  matches  can  be
              reinstated, as if  no  ignored-patterns  style  were  set.   The
              completer  actually  generates  its  own  list of matches; which
              completers are invoked is determined in the same way as for  the
              _prefix  completer.   The single-ignored style is also available
              as described above.

       _list  This completer allows the insertion of  matches  to  be  delayed
              until  completion is attempted a second time without the word on
              the line being changed.  On the first attempt, only the list  of
              matches  will  be shown.  It is affected by the styles condition
              and word, see  the  section  `Completion  System  Configuration'

       _match This  completer  is  intended  to  be  used  after the _complete
              completer.  It behaves similarly but the string on  the  command
              line  may be a pattern to match against trial completions.  This
              gives the effect of the GLOB_COMPLETE option.

              Normally completion will be performed by taking the pattern from
              the  line,  inserting a `*' at the cursor position and comparing
              the resulting pattern with the possible  completions  generated.
              This  can  be  modified  with the match-original style described

              The generated matches will  be  offered  in  a  menu  completion
              unless  the  insert-unambiguous  style is set to `true'; see the
              description above for other options for this style.

              Note that matcher specifications defined globally or used by the
              completion  functions (the styles matcher-list and matcher) will
              not be used.

       _menu  This completer was written as simple example  function  to  show
              how  menu  completion  can be enabled in shell code. However, it
              has the notable effect of disabling menu selection which can  be
              useful  with  _generic  based  widgets. It should be used as the
              first completer in the list.  Note that this is  independent  of
              the  setting  of the MENU_COMPLETE option and does not work with
              the other menu completion widgets such as reverse-menu-complete,
              or accept-and-menu-complete.

              This  completer  controls  how  the  standard completion widgets
              behave when there is an existing list of completions  which  may
              have   been   generated   by   a   special  completion  (i.e.  a
              separately-bound completion command).  It  allows  the  ordinary
              completion  keys to continue to use the list of completions thus
              generated,  instead  of  producing  a  new  list   of   ordinary
              contextual  completions.   It  should  appear  in  the  list  of
              completers before any of the widgets which generate matches.  It
              uses   two  styles:  old-list  and  old-menu,  see  the  section
              `Completion System Configuration' above.

              This completer can be used to try  completion  with  the  suffix
              (everything  after  the  cursor)  ignored.   In other words, the
              suffix will not  be  considered  to  be  part  of  the  word  to
              complete.       The     effect     is     similar     to     the
              expand-or-complete-prefix command.

              The completer style is used to decide which other completers are
              to  be  called to generate matches.  If this style is unset, the
              list of completers set  for  the  current  context  is  used  --
              except,  of  course, the _prefix completer itself.  Furthermore,
              if this  completer  appears  more  than  once  in  the  list  of
              completers  only  those completers not already tried by the last
              invocation of _prefix will be called.

              For example, consider this global completer style:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' completer \
                         _complete _prefix _correct _prefix:foo

              Here, the _prefix completer tries normal completion but ignoring
              the  suffix.   If that doesn't generate any matches, and neither
              does the call to the _correct completer after it,  _prefix  will
              be called a second time and, now only trying correction with the
              suffix ignored.  On the second invocation the completer part  of
              the context appears as `foo'.

              To use _prefix as the last resort and try only normal completion
              when it is invoked:

                     zstyle ':completion:*' completer _complete ... _prefix
                     zstyle ':completion::prefix:*' completer _complete

              The add-space style is also respected.  If it is set  to  `true'
              then  _prefix  will insert a space between the matches generated
              (if any) and the suffix.

              Note that this completer is only useful if the  COMPLETE_IN_WORD
              option is set; otherwise, the cursor will be moved to the end of
              the current word before the completion code is called and  hence
              there will be no suffix.

              This  completer  behaves  similarly to the _expand completer but
              instead  performs  expansions  defined  by  users.   The  styles
              add-space  and sort styles specific to the _expand completer are
              usable with _user_expand in addition  to  other  styles  handled
              more generally by the completion system.  The tag all-expansions
              is also available.

              The expansion depends  on  the  array  style  user-expand  being
              defined  for  the current context; remember that the context for
              completers is less specific than that for contextual  completion
              as  the  full  context has not yet been determined.  Elements of
              the array may have one of the following forms:

                     hash is the name of an associative array.  Note  this  is
                     not  a  full  parameter  expression, merely a $, suitably
                     quoted to prevent immediate expansion,  followed  by  the
                     name  of  an  associative  array.  If the trial expansion
                     word matches a key in hash, the  resulting  expansion  is
                     the corresponding value.

                     _func  is  the  name  of a shell function whose name must
                     begin  with  _  but  is  not  otherwise  special  to  the
                     completion system.  The function is called with the trial
                     word as an argument.  If the word is to be expanded,  the
                     function  should  set  the  array  reply  to  a  list  of
                     expansions.   The  return  status  of  the  function   is


       In  addition  to  the context-dependent completions provided, which are
       expected to work in an intuitively obvious way, there are a few widgets
       implementing  special  behaviour which can be bound separately to keys.
       The following is a list of these and their default bindings.

              This function is used by two  widgets,  _bash_complete-word  and
              _bash_list-choices.   It  exists  to  provide compatibility with
              completion bindings in bash.  The last character of the  binding
              determines   what   is   completed:  `!',  command  names;  `$',
              environment variables; `@', host names;  `/',  file  names;  `~'
              user  names.   In  bash,  the  binding  preceded  by  `\e' gives
              completion, and preceded by `^X'  lists  options.   As  some  of
              these  bindings clash with standard zsh bindings, only `\e~' and
              `^X~' are bound by default.  To  add  the  rest,  the  following
              should be added to .zshrc after compinit has been run:

                     for key in '!' '$' '@' '/' '~'; do
                       bindkey "\e$key" _bash_complete-word
                       bindkey "^X$key" _bash_list-choices

              This  includes  the  bindings  for `~' in case they were already
              bound to something else; the completion code does  not  override
              user bindings.

       _correct_filename (^XC)
              Correct  the filename path at the cursor position.  Allows up to
              six errors in the name.  Can also be called with an argument  to
              correct a filename path, independently of zle; the correction is
              printed on standard output.

       _correct_word (^Xc)
              Performs correction of the  current  argument  using  the  usual
              contextual  completions  as  possible  choices.  This stores the
              string `correct-word' in the function field of the context  name
              and then calls the _correct completer.

       _expand_alias (^Xa)
              This  function  can  be  used  as  a completer and as a bindable
              command.  It expands the word the cursor  is  on  if  it  is  an
              alias.   The  types of alias expanded can be controlled with the
              styles regular, global and disabled.

              When used as a bindable command there is one additional  feature
              that  can  be  selected by setting the complete style to `true'.
              In this case,  if  the  word  is  not  the  name  of  an  alias,
              _expand_alias  tries  to  complete the word to a full alias name
              without expanding it.  It leaves the cursor directly  after  the
              completed  word  so  that  invoking _expand_alias once more will
              expand the now-complete alias name.

       _expand_word (^Xe)
              Performs expansion on  the  current  word:   equivalent  to  the
              standard  expand-word  command, but using the _expand completer.
              Before calling it, the function field of the context is  set  to

              This  function  is  not  defined  as  a  widget and not bound by
              default.  However, it can be used to define a  widget  and  will
              then  store  the name of the widget in the function field of the
              context and call the  completion  system.   This  allows  custom
              completion  widgets  with  their own set of style settings to be
              defined easily.  For example, to define a widget  that  performs
              normal completion and starts menu selection:

                     zle -C foo complete-word _generic
                     bindkey '...' foo
                     zstyle ':completion:foo:*' menu yes select=1

              Note  in  particular that the completer style may be set for the
              context in order to change the set of functions used to generate
              possible  matches.   If _generic is called with arguments, those
              are passed through to _main_complete as the list  of  completers
              in place of those defined by the completer style.

       _history_complete_word (\e/)
              Complete  words  from the shell's command history. This uses the
              list, remove-all-dups, sort, and stop styles.

       _most_recent_file (^Xm)
              Complete the name of the most recently  modified  file  matching
              the  pattern on the command line (which may be blank).  If given
              a numeric argument N, complete the Nth  most  recently  modified
              file.  Note the completion, if any, is always unique.

       _next_tags (^Xn)
              This command alters the set of matches used to that for the next
              tag, or set of tags, either as given by the tag-order  style  or
              as  set  by  default;  these  matches  would  otherwise  not  be
              available.  Successive invocations of the command cycle  through
              all possible sets of tags.

       _read_comp (^X^R)
              Prompt the user for a string, and use that to perform completion
              on the current  word.   There  are  two  possibilities  for  the
              string.   First,  it  can  be  a set of words beginning `_', for
              example `_files  -/',  in  which  case  the  function  with  any
              arguments   will   be   called   to  generate  the  completions.
              Unambiguous  parts  of  the  function  name  will  be  completed
              automatically (normal completion is not available at this point)
              until a space is typed.

              Second, any other string will be passed as a set of arguments to
              compadd and should hence be an expression specifying what should
              be completed.

              A very restricted set of  editing  commands  is  available  when
              reading  the  string:  `DEL' and `^H' delete the last character;
              `^U' deletes the line, and `^C' and  `^G'  abort  the  function,
              while  `RET'  accepts  the  completion.  Note the string is used
              verbatim as a command line,  so  arguments  must  be  quoted  in
              accordance with standard shell rules.

              Once  a  string  has been read, the next call to _read_comp will
              use the existing string instead of reading a new one.  To  force
              a  new  string  to  be  read,  call  _read_comp  with  a numeric

       _complete_debug (^X?)
              This widget performs ordinary  completion,  but  captures  in  a
              temporary  file  a  trace  of the shell commands executed by the
              completion system.  Each completion attempt gets its  own  file.
              A  command to view each of these files is pushed onto the editor
              buffer stack.

       _complete_help (^Xh)
              This widget displays information about the  context  names,  the
              tags,  and  the completion functions used when completing at the
              current cursor position. If given a numeric argument other  than
              1 (as in `ESC-2 ^Xh'), then the styles used and the contexts for
              which they are used will be shown, too.

              Note that the information about styles  may  be  incomplete;  it
              depends   on  the  information  available  from  the  completion
              functions called, which in turn is determined by the user's  own
              styles and other settings.

              Unlike  other  commands  listed  here, this must be created as a
              normal ZLE widget rather than a completion widget (i.e. with zle
              -N).   It is used for generating help with a widget bound to the
              _generic widget that is described above.

              If this widget is created using the name of the function, as  it
              is  by  default, then when executed it will read a key sequence.
              This is expected to be bound to a call to a completion  function
              that  uses  the  _generic widget.  That widget will be executed,
              and  information  provided  in  the   same   format   that   the
              _complete_help widget displays for contextual completion.

              If  the  widget's  name  contains  debug,  for  example if it is
              created      as      `zle       -N       _complete_debug_generic
              _complete_help_generic',  it will read and execute the keystring
              for a generic widget as  before,  but  then  generate  debugging
              information   as   done   by   _complete_debug   for  contextual

              If the widget's  name  contains  noread,  it  will  not  read  a
              keystring  but  instead  arrange  that the next use of a generic
              widget run in the same shell will have the effect  as  described

              The    widget    works    by   setting   the   shell   parameter
              ZSH_TRACE_GENERIC_WIDGET which is read by  _generic.   Unsetting
              the parameter cancels any pending effect of the noread form.

              For example, after executing the following:

                     zle -N _complete_debug_generic _complete_help_generic
                     bindkey '^x:' _complete_debug_generic

              typing `C-x :' followed by the key sequence for a generic widget
              will cause trace output for that widget to be saved to a file.

       _complete_tag (^Xt)
              This widget completes symbol tags created by the etags or  ctags
              programmes  (note  there  is  no  connection with the completion
              system's tags) stored in a file TAGS,  in  the  format  used  by
              etags,  or  tags,  in the format created by ctags.  It will look
              back up the path hierarchy for the first  occurrence  of  either
              file;  if  both  exist,  the  file  TAGS  is preferred.  You can
              specify the full path to a TAGS or  tags  file  by  setting  the
              parameter    $TAGSFILE    or    $tagsfile   respectively.    The
              corresponding completion tags used are etags  and  vtags,  after
              emacs and vi respectively.


       Descriptions  follow  for  utility  functions  that  may be useful when
       writing  completion  functions.   If   functions   are   installed   in
       subdirectories,  most  of  these reside in the Base subdirectory.  Like
       the example functions for commands in  the  distribution,  the  utility
       functions  generating  matches  all  follow the convention of returning
       status zero if they generated completions and non-zero if  no  matching
       completions could be added.

       Two  more  features  are  offered  by the _main_complete function.  The
       arrays compprefuncs and comppostfuncs may contain  names  of  functions
       that  are  to be called immediately before or after completion has been
       tried.  A function will  only  be  called  once  unless  it  explicitly
       reinserts itself into the array.

       _all_labels [ -x ] [ -12VJ ] tag name descr [ command args ... ]
              This  is  a  convenient  interface  to  the _next_label function
              below, implementing the loop shown in the  _next_label  example.
              The  command  and  its  arguments  are  called  to  generate the
              matches.   The  options  stored  in  the  parameter  name   will
              automatically  be  inserted into the args passed to the command.
              Normally, they are put directly after the command, but if one of
              the  args  is a single hyphen, they are inserted directly before
              that.  If the hyphen is the last argument, it  will  be  removed
              from  the  argument  list  before  the  command is called.  This
              allows _all_labels to be used in  almost  all  cases  where  the
              matches can be generated by a single call to the compadd builtin
              command or by a call to one of the utility functions.

              For example:

                     local expl
                     if _requested foo; then
                       _all_labels foo expl '...' compadd ... - $matches

              Will complete the strings  from  the  matches  parameter,  using
              compadd  with additional options which will take precedence over
              those generated by _all_labels.

       _alternative [ -C name ] spec ...
              This function is useful in simple cases where multiple tags  are
              available.   Essentially  it  implements  a  loop  like  the one
              described for the _tags function below.

              The tags to use and the action to perform if a tag is  requested
              are   described   using   the  specs  which  are  of  the  form:
              `tag:descr:action'.  The tags are offered using _tags and if the
              tag  is  requested,  the  action  is  executed  with  the  given
              description descr.   The  actions  are  those  accepted  by  the
              _arguments  function  (described below), excluding the `->state'
              and `=...' forms.

              For example, the action may be a simple function call:

                     _alternative \
                         'users:user:_users' \

              offers usernames and hostnames as possible matches, generated by
              the _users and _hosts functions respectively.

              Like  _arguments,  this function uses _all_labels to execute the
              actions, which  will  loop  over  all  sets  of  tags.   Special
              handling  is  only required if there is an additional valid tag,
              for example inside a function called from _alternative.

              Like _tags this function  supports  the  -C  option  to  give  a
              different name for the argument context field.

       _arguments [ -nswWACRS ] [ -O name ] [ -M matchspec ] [ : ] spec ...
              This  function  can be used to give a complete specification for
              completion for a command whose arguments  follow  standard  UNIX
              option  and  argument  conventions.  The following forms specify
              individual sets of options and arguments;  to  avoid  ambiguity,
              these  may be separated from the options to _arguments itself by
              a single  colon.   Options  to  _arguments  itself  must  be  in
              separate words, i.e. -s -w, not -sw.

              With the option -n, _arguments sets the parameter NORMARG to the
              position of the first normal argument in the $words array,  i.e.
              the position after the end of the options.  If that argument has
              not been reached, NORMARG is  set  to  -1.   The  caller  should
              declare  `integer NORMARG' if the -n option is passed; otherwise
              the parameter is not used.

                     This describes the n'th  normal  argument.   The  message
                     will  be  printed  above  the  matches  generated and the
                     action indicates what can be completed in  this  position
                     (see  below).  If there are two colons before the message
                     the argument is optional.  If the message  contains  only
                     white  space,  nothing  will be printed above the matches
                     unless the action adds an explanation string itself.

                     Similar, but describes the next argument, whatever number
                     that  happens  to  be.  If all arguments are specified in
                     this  form  in  the  correct  order   the   numbers   are

                     This   describes   how   arguments   (usually  non-option
                     arguments, those not beginning with - or  +)  are  to  be
                     completed  when  neither  of  the  first  two  forms  was
                     provided.  Any number of arguments can  be  completed  in
                     this fashion.

                     With  two  colons  before  the message, the words special
                     array and the CURRENT special parameter are  modified  to
                     refer  only  to  the  normal arguments when the action is
                     executed or evaluated.   With  three  colons  before  the
                     message  they  are  modified  to refer only to the normal
                     arguments covered by this description.

                     This describes an option.  The colon  indicates  handling
                     for  one  or  more  arguments to the option; if it is not
                     present, the option is assumed to take no arguments.

                     By default, options are multi-character name, one `-word'
                     per  option.   With -s, options may be single characters,
                     with more  than  one  option  per  word,  although  words
                     starting  with two hyphens, such as `--prefix', are still
                     considered complete option names.  This is  suitable  for
                     standard GNU options.

                     The  combination  of  -s  with  -w  allows  single-letter
                     options to be combined in a single word even  if  one  or
                     more  of  the options take arguments.  For example, if -a
                     takes an argument, with no -s `-ab' is  considered  as  a
                     single  (unhandled) option; with -s -ab is an option with
                     the argument `b'; with both -s and -w,  -ab  may  be  the
                     option -a and the option -b with arguments still to come.

                     The option -W takes this a stage further:  it is possible
                     to complete single-letter options even after an  argument
                     that occurs in the same word.  However, it depends on the
                     action performed whether options will really be completed
                     at  this point.  For more control, use a utility function
                     like _guard as part of the action.

                     The  following  forms  are  available  for  the   initial
                     optspec, whether or not the option has arguments.

                            Here  optspec is one of the remaining forms below.
                            This  indicates  the  following  optspec  may   be
                            repeated.   Otherwise  if the corresponding option
                            is already present on the command line to the left
                            of the cursor it will not be offered again.

                            In  the  simplest  form  the  optspec  is just the
                            option name beginning with a minus or a plus sign,
                            such as `-foo'.  The first argument for the option
                            (if any) must follow as a separate  word  directly
                            after the option.

                            Either  of `-+optname' and `+-optname' can be used
                            to specify that -optname  and  +optname  are  both

                            In all the remaining forms, the leading `-' may be
                            replaced by or paired with `+' in this way.

                            The  first  argument  of  the  option  must   come
                            directly  after  the option name in the same word.
                            For  example,  `-foo-:...'  specifies   that   the
                            completed  option  and  argument  will  look  like

                            The first argument may  appear  immediately  after
                            optname  in  the  same  word,  or  may appear as a
                            separate word  after  the  option.   For  example,
                            `-foo+:...'  specifies  that  the completed option
                            and argument will look like  either  `-fooarg'  or
                            `-foo arg'.

                            The  argument  may  appear as the next word, or in
                            same word as the option name provided that  it  is
                            separated  from  it by an equals sign, for example
                            `-foo=arg' or `-foo arg'.

                            The argument to the option must  appear  after  an
                            equals sign in the same word, and may not be given
                            in the next argument.

                            An explanation string may be appended  to  any  of
                            the  preceding forms of optspec by enclosing it in
                            brackets, as in `-q[query operation]'.

                            The verbose style is used to  decide  whether  the
                            explanation  strings are displayed with the option
                            in a completion listing.

                            If no bracketed explanation string  is  given  but
                            the  auto-description  style  is  set and only one
                            argument is described for this optspec, the  value
                            of  the style is displayed, with any appearance of
                            the sequence `%d' in it replaced by the message of
                            the  first  optarg  that  follows the optspec; see

              It is possible for options with a literal `+' or `=' to  appear,
              but that character must be quoted, for example `-\+'.

              Each  optarg following an optspec must take one of the following

                     An argument to the option; message and action are treated
                     as  for  ordinary  arguments.   In  the  first  form, the
                     argument is mandatory, and  in  the  second  form  it  is

                     This  group  may  be  repeated  for  options  which  take
                     multiple      arguments.       In      other       words,
                     :message1:action1:message2:action2   specifies  that  the
                     option takes two arguments.

                     This describes multiple arguments.  Only the last  optarg
                     for  an  option taking multiple arguments may be given in
                     this form.  If the pattern is empty (i.e., :*:), all  the
                     remaining  words  on  the  line  are  to  be completed as
                     described by the action; otherwise, all the words  up  to
                     and  including  a  word  matching  the  pattern are to be
                     completed using the action.

                     Multiple colons are treated as for the `*:...' forms  for
                     ordinary  arguments:  when the message is preceded by two
                     colons, the words special array and the  CURRENT  special
                     parameter are modified during the execution or evaluation
                     of the action to  refer  only  to  the  words  after  the
                     option.  When preceded by three colons, they are modified
                     to refer only to the words covered by this description.

       Any literal colon in an optname, message, or action must be preceded by
       a backslash, `\:'.

       Each  of  the  forms  above may be preceded by a list in parentheses of
       option names and argument numbers.  If  the  given  option  is  on  the
       command  line,  the options and arguments indicated in parentheses will
       not be offered.  For example, `(-two -three 1)-one:...'  completes  the
       option  `-one';  if  this appears on the command line, the options -two
       and -three and the first ordinary argument will not be completed  after
       it.   `(-foo):...' specifies an ordinary argument completion; -foo will
       not be completed if that argument is already present.

       Other items may appear in the list  of  excluded  options  to  indicate
       various  other  items  that  should  not  be  applied  when the current
       specification is matched: a single star  (*)  for  the  rest  arguments
       (i.e.  a specification of the form `*:...'); a colon (:) for all normal
       (non-option-) arguments;  and  a  hyphen  (-)  for  all  options.   For
       example,  if  `(*)'  appears before an option and the option appears on
       the command line, the list of remaining arguments (those shown  in  the
       above table beginning with `*:') will not be completed.

       To aid in reuse of specifications, it is possible to precede any of the
       forms above with `!'; then  the  form  will  no  longer  be  completed,
       although  if  the  option  or argument appears on the command line they
       will be skipped as normal.  The main use for this is when the arguments
       are  given  by  an  array, and _arguments is called repeatedly for more
       specific contexts: on the first call  `_arguments  $global_options'  is
       used, and on subsequent calls `_arguments !$^global_options'.

       In each of the forms above the action determines how completions should
       be generated.  Except for the `->string' form below, the action will be
       executed by calling the _all_labels function to process all tag labels.
       No special handling of tags is needed unless a function call introduces
       a new one.

       The forms for action are as follows.

         (single unquoted space)
              This  is  useful  where  an  argument  is required but it is not
              possible or desirable to generate matches for it.   The  message
              will  be displayed but no completions listed.  Note that even in
              this case the colon at the end of the message is needed; it  may
              only be omitted when neither a message nor an action is given.

       (item1 item2 ...)
              One of a list of possible matches, for example:

                     :foo:(foo bar baz)

       ((item1\:desc1 ...))
              Similar  to  the  above, but with descriptions for each possible
              match.  Note the backslash before the colon.  For example,

                     :foo:((a\:bar b\:baz))

              The matches will be listed together with their  descriptions  if
              the description style is set with the values tag in the context.

              In this form, _arguments processes the arguments and options and
              then returns control to the calling function with parameters set
              to  indicate  the state of processing; the calling function then
              makes its own  arrangements  for  generating  completions.   For
              example,  functions  that implement a state machine can use this
              type of action.

              Where _arguments encounters a  `->string',  it  will  strip  all
              leading  and  trailing  whitespace from string and set the array
              state to the set of all stringss for which an action  is  to  be

              By  default and in common with all other well behaved completion
              functions, _arguments returns status zero if it was able to  add
              matches  and  non-zero  otherwise.  However, if the -R option is
              given, _arguments  will  instead  return  a  status  of  300  to
              indicate that $state is to be handled.

              In   addition   to  $state,  _arguments  also  sets  the  global
              parameters `context', `line' and `opt_args' as described  below,
              and  does  not  reset any changes made to the special parameters
              such as PREFIX and words.  This gives the calling  function  the
              choice  of  resetting these parameters or propagating changes in

              A  function  calling  _arguments  with  at  least   one   action
              containing a `->string' must therefore declare appropriate local

                     local context state line
                     typeset -A opt_args

              to prevent _arguments from altering the global environment.

              A string in braces  is  evaluated  as  shell  code  to  generate
              matches.   If  the  eval-string  itself  does  not begin with an
              opening parenthesis or brace it is  split  into  separate  words
              before execution.

       = action
              If  the  action  starts  with `= ' (an equals sign followed by a
              space), _arguments will insert  the  contents  of  the  argument
              field  of  the  current  context as the new first element in the
              words special array and  increment  the  value  of  the  CURRENT
              special  parameter.   This  has  the effect of inserting a dummy
              word onto the completion command line  while  not  changing  the
              point at which completion is taking place.

              This is most useful with one of the specifiers that restrict the
              words on the command line on which the action is to operate (the
              two-  and  three-colon forms above).  One particular use is when
              an action itself causes _arguments on a restricted range; it  is
              necessary  to  use  this  trick to insert an appropriate command
              name into the range for the second call to _arguments to be able
              to parse the line.

              This  covers  all  forms  other than those above.  If the action
              starts with a space, the remaining list of words will be invoked

              Otherwise  it  will  be  invoked  with some extra strings placed
              after the first word; these are to be passed down as options  to
              the  compadd  builtin.   They ensure that the state specified by
              _arguments,  in  particular  the  descriptions  of  options  and
              arguments, is correctly passed to the completion command.  These
              additional arguments are taken from the array parameter  `expl';
              this will be set up before executing the action and hence may be
              referred to inside it, typically in an  expansion  of  the  form
              `$expl[@]' which preserves empty elements of the array.

       During  the  performance  of the action the array `line' will be set to
       the command name and normal arguments from the command line,  i.e.  the
       words  from the command line excluding all options and their arguments.
       Options are stored in the  associative  array  `opt_args'  with  option
       names as keys and their arguments as the values.  For options that have
       more than one argument these are given  as  one  string,  separated  by
       colons.   All  colons  in  the  original  arguments  are  preceded with

       The parameter `context' is set when returning to the  calling  function
       to  perform an action of the form `->string'.  It is set to an array of
       elements corresponding to the elements of $state.  Each  element  is  a
       suitable name for the argument field of the context: either a string of
       the form `option-opt-n' for the n'th argument of the option -opt, or  a
       string  of  the  form  `argument-n'  for the n'th argument.  For `rest'
       arguments, that is those  in  the  list  at  the  end  not  handled  by
       position,  n  is  the  string `rest'.  For example, when completing the
       argument of the -o option, the name  is  `option-o-1',  while  for  the
       second normal (non-option-) argument it is `argument-2'.

       Furthermore,  during  the  evaluation of the action the context name in
       the curcontext parameter is altered to append the same string  that  is
       stored in the context parameter.

       It  is  possible to specify multiple sets of options and arguments with
       the sets separated by single hyphens.  The  specifications  before  the
       first  hyphen (if any) are shared by all the remaining sets.  The first
       word in every other set provides a name for the set which may appear in
       exclusion  lists  in  specifications, either alone or before one of the
       possible values described above.  In  the  second  case  a  `-'  should
       appear between this name and the remainder.

       For example:

              _arguments \
                  -a \
                - set1 \
                  -c \
                - set2 \
                  -d \
                  ':arg:(x2 y2)'

       This defines two sets.  When the command line contains the option `-c',
       the `-d' option and  the  argument  will  not  be  considered  possible
       completions.   When  it  contains  `-d' or an argument, the option `-c'
       will not be considered.  However, after `-a' both sets  will  still  be
       considered valid.

       If the name given for one of the mutually exclusive sets is of the form
       `(name)' then only one value from each set will ever be completed; more
       formally,  all  specifications  are  mutually  exclusive  to  all other
       specifications in the same set.  This is useful for  defining  multiple
       sets  of  options which are mutually exclusive and in which the options
       are aliases for each other.  For example:

              _arguments \
                  -a -b \
                - '(compress)' \
                  {-c,--compress}'[compress]' \
                - '(uncompress)' \

       As the completion code has to parse the  command  line  separately  for
       each  set  this  form  of argument is slow and should only be used when
       necessary.  A useful alternative is often an option specification  with
       rest-arguments  (as  in `-foo:*:...'); here the option -foo swallows up
       all remaining arguments as described by the optarg definitions.

       The options -S and -A are available to simplify the specifications  for
       commands  with  standard  option  parsing.   With -S, no option will be
       completed after a `--' appearing on its own on the line; this  argument
       will otherwise be ignored; hence in the line

              foobar -a -- -b

       the  `-a'  is  considered  an  option  but  the  `-b'  is considered an
       argument, while the `--' is considered to be neither.

       With -A, no options  will  be  completed  after  the  first  non-option
       argument  on  the  line.  The -A must be followed by a pattern matching
       all strings which are not to be taken as arguments.   For  example,  to
       make   _arguments  stop  completing  options  after  the  first  normal
       argument, but ignoring all strings starting with a hyphen even if  they
       are not described by one of the optspecs, the form is `-A "-*"'.

       The option `-O name' specifies the name of an array whose elements will
       be passed as arguments to functions called  to  execute  actions.   For
       example,  this  can  be  used  to  pass the same set of options for the
       compadd builtin to all actions.

       The option `-M spec' sets a match specification to  use  to  completion
       option  names  and  values.   It  must appear before the first argument
       specification.  The default is `r:|[_-]=* r:|=*': this  allows  partial
       word  completion after `_' and `-', for example `-f-b' can be completed
       to `-foo-bar'.

       The option -C tells _arguments to modify the curcontext  parameter  for
       an  action  of the form `->state'.  This is the standard parameter used
       to keep track of the current context.  Here it  (and  not  the  context
       array)  should  be  made local to the calling function to avoid passing
       back the modified value and should be initialised to the current  value
       at the start of the function:

              local curcontext="$curcontext"

       This is useful where it is not possible for multiple states to be valid

       The option `--' allows _arguments to work out the names of long options
       that  support  the  `--help'  option  which  is  standard  in  many GNU
       commands.  The command word is called with the  argument  `--help'  and
       the  output examined for option names.  Clearly, it can be dangerous to
       pass this to  commands  which  may  not  support  this  option  as  the
       behaviour of the command is unspecified.

       In addition to options, `_arguments --' will try to deduce the types of
       arguments available for options when the form `--opt=val' is valid.  It
       is  also  possible  to  provide hints by examining the help text of the
       command and adding specifiers  of  the  form  `pattern:message:action';
       note  that  normal  _arguments specifiers are not used.  The pattern is
       matched against the help text for an option,  and  if  it  matches  the
       message  and  action  are  used  as for other argument specifiers.  For

              _arguments -- '*\*:toggle:(yes no)' \
                            '*=FILE*:file:_files' \
                            '*=DIR*:directory:_files -/' \
                            '*=PATH*:directory:_files -/'

       Here, `yes' and `no' will be completed as the argument of options whose
       description  ends  in  a star; file names will be completed for options
       that contain the substring `=FILE' in the description; and  directories
       will  be  completed  for  options  whose description contains `=DIR' or
       `=PATH'.  The last three are in fact the default and  so  need  not  be
       given  explicitly, although it is possible to override the use of these
       patterns.  A typical help text which uses this feature is:

                -C, --directory=DIR          change to directory DIR

       so that the above specifications will cause directories to be completed
       after `--directory', though not after `-C'.

       Note  also  that  _arguments  tries  to  find  out automatically if the
       argument for an option is optional.  This can be  specified  explicitly
       by doubling the colon before the message.

       If the pattern ends in `(-)', this will be removed from the pattern and
       the action will be used only directly after the `=', not  in  the  next
       word.  This is the behaviour of a normal specification defined with the
       form `=-'.

       The `_arguments --' can be followed by the option `-i patterns' to give
       patterns  for  options which are not to be completed.  The patterns can
       be given as the name of an array parameter or  as  a  literal  list  in
       parentheses.  For example,

              _arguments -- -i \

       will  cause  completion  to  ignore  the options `--enable-FEATURE' and
       `--disable-FEATURE' (this example is useful with GNU configure).

       The `_arguments --' form can also be followed by the option  `-s  pair'
       to  describe  option  aliases.   Each  pair consists of a pattern and a
       replacement.  For example, some configure-scripts describe options only
       as   `--enable-foo',   but   also  accept  `--disable-foo'.   To  allow
       completion of the second form:

              _arguments -- -s "(#--enable- --disable-)"

       Here is a more general example of the use of _arguments:

              _arguments '-l+:left border:' \
                         '-format:paper size:(letter A4)' \
                         '*-copy:output file:_files::resolution:(300 600)' \
                         ':postscript file:_files -g \*.\(ps\|eps\)' \
                         '*:page number:'

       This describes three options: `-l', `-format', and `-copy'.  The  first
       takes  one  argument described as `left border' for which no completion
       will be offered because of the empty action.   Its  argument  may  come
       directly  after  the  `-l'  or  it may be given as the next word on the

       The `-format' option takes one argument in the next word, described  as
       `paper  size'  for  which  only  the  strings `letter' and `A4' will be

       The `-copy' option may appear more than once on the  command  line  and
       takes two arguments.  The first is mandatory and will be completed as a
       filename.  The second is optional (because of the second  colon  before
       the  description  `resolution')  and will be completed from the strings
       `300' and `600'.

       The last two descriptions say what should be  completed  as  arguments.
       The first describes the first argument as a `postscript file' and makes
       files ending in `ps' or `eps' be completed.  The last description gives
       all  other  arguments the description `page numbers' but does not offer

       _cache_invalid cache_identifier
              This function returns  status  zero  if  the  completions  cache
              corresponding  to  the  given cache identifier needs rebuilding.
              It determines this by looking up the cache-policy style for  the
              current  context.   This should provide a function name which is
              run with the full path to the relevant cache file  as  the  only


                     _example_caching_policy () {
                         # rebuild if cache is more than a week old
                         local -a oldp
                         oldp=( "$1"(Nmw+1) )
                         (( $#oldp ))

       _call_function return name [ args ... ]
              If a function name exists, it is called with the arguments args.
              The return argument gives the name of a parameter in  which  the
              return status from the function name should be stored; if return
              is empty or a single hyphen it is ignored.

              The return status  of  _call_function  itself  is  zero  if  the
              function name exists and was called and non-zero otherwise.

       _call_program tag string ...
              This  function provides a mechanism for the user to override the
              use of an external command.  It looks up the command style  with
              the supplied tag.  If the style is set, its value is used as the
              command to execute.  The strings from the call to _call_program,
              or  from  the style if set, are concatenated with spaces between
              them and the resulting string is evaluated.  The  return  status
              is the return status of the command called.

       _combination [ -s pattern ] tag style spec ... field opts ...
              This  function  is used to complete combinations of values,  for
              example pairs of hostnames and usernames.   The  style  argument
              gives  the  style  which defines the pairs; it is looked up in a
              context with the tag specified.

              The style name consists of field names separated by hyphens, for
              example  `users-hosts-ports'.   For  each  field  for a value is
              already known, a spec of the form `field=pattern' is given.  For
              example,  if the command line so far specifies a user `pws', the
              argument `users=pws' should appear.

              The next argument with no equals sign is taken as  the  name  of
              the  field for which completions should be generated (presumably
              not one of the fields for which the value is known).

              The matches generated will be taken from the value of the style.
              These should contain the possible values for the combinations in
              the appropriate  order  (users,  hosts,  ports  in  the  example
              above).   The  different  fields  the  values  for the different
              fields are separated by colons.  This can be  altered  with  the
              option  -s to _combination which specifies a pattern.  Typically
              this is a character class, as for example  `-s  "[:@]"'  in  the
              case   of   the   users-hosts   style.     Each  `field=pattern'
              specification restricts the completions which apply to  elements
              of the style with appropriately matching fields.

              If no style with the given name is defined for the given tag, or
              if none of the strings in style's value match,  but  a  function
              name of the required field preceded by an underscore is defined,
              that function will be  called  to  generate  the  matches.   For
              example,  if  there  is  no  `users-hosts-ports'  or no matching
              hostname when a host is required,  the  function  `_hosts'  will
              automatically be called.

              If  the  same  name is used for more than one field, in both the
              `field=pattern' and the argument that  gives  the  name  of  the
              field  to  be  completed, the number of the field (starting with
              one) may be given after the fieldname, separated from  it  by  a

              All  arguments  after  the  required  field  name  are passed to
              compadd when generating matches from the style value, or to  the
              functions for the fields if they are called.

       _describe [ -oO | -t tag ] descr name1 [ name2 ] opts ... -- ...
              This   function   associates   completions   with  descriptions.
              Multiple groups separated by --  can  be  supplied,  potentially
              with different completion options opts.

              The  descr  is taken as a string to display above the matches if
              the format style for the  descriptions  tag  is  set.   This  is
              followed  by  one  or two names of arrays followed by options to
              pass  to  compadd.   The  first  array  contains  the   possible
              completions    with    their    descriptions    in    the   form
              `completion:description'.  Any literal colons in completion must
              be  quoted  with  a  backslash.   If a second array is given, it
              should have the same number of elements as the  first;  in  this
              case   the   corresponding   elements   are  added  as  possible
              completions instead of the completion  strings  from  the  first
              array.   The  completion  list will retain the descriptions from
              the first array.  Finally,  a  set  of  completion  options  can

              If  the  option  `-o'  appears  before  the  first argument, the
              matches added will be treated as names of command options  (N.B.
              not  shell  options),  typically following a `-', `--' or `+' on
              the  command  line.    In   this   case   _describe   uses   the
              prefix-hidden,  prefix-needed  and verbose styles to find out if
              the  strings  should  be  added  as  completions  and   if   the
              descriptions should be shown.  Without the `-o' option, only the
              verbose style is used to decide how descriptions are shown.   If
              `-O'  is  used instead of `-o', command options are completed as
              above but _describe will not handle the prefix-needed style.

              With the -t option a tag  can  be  specified.   The  default  is
              `values' or, if the -o option is given, `options'.

              If  selected  by  the  list-grouped style, strings with the same
              description will appear together in the list.

              _describe uses the _all_labels function to generate the matches,
              so it does not need to appear inside a loop over tag labels.

       _description [ -x ] [ -12VJ ] tag name descr [ spec ... ]
              This function is not to be confused with the previous one; it is
              used as a helper function for creating options to  compadd.   It
              is  buried  inside many of the higher level completion functions
              and so often does not need to be called directly.

              The styles listed below are tested in the current context  using
              the  given  tag.  The resulting options for compadd are put into
              the array named name (this is  traditionally  `expl',  but  this
              convention   is   not   enforced).    The  description  for  the
              corresponding set of matches is passed to the function in descr.

              The styles tested are: format, hidden, matcher, ignored-patterns
              and  group-name.  The format style is first tested for the given
              tag and then for the descriptions tag if  no  value  was  found,
              while  the  remainder  are  only tested for the tag given as the
              first argument.  The function also calls _setup which tests some
              more styles.

              The  string  returned  by  the  format  style  (if  any) will be
              modified so that the sequence `%d'  is  replaced  by  the  descr
              given  as  the  third  argument  without any leading or trailing
              white space.  If, after removing the white space, the  descr  is
              the  empty  string,  the  format  style will not be used and the
              options put into the name array will not contain an  explanation
              string to be displayed above the matches.

              If  _description  is  called with more than three arguments, the
              additional specs should be of the form `char:str'.  These supply
              escape   sequence  replacements  for  the  format  style:  every
              appearance of `%char' will be replaced by string.

              If the -x option is given, the description  will  be  passed  to
              compadd  using  the  -x  option instead of the default -X.  This
              means that the description will be displayed even if  there  are
              no corresponding matches.

              The  options  placed  in  the  array  name  take  account of the
              group-name style, so matches are  placed  in  a  separate  group
              where necessary.  The group normally has its elements sorted (by
              passing the option -J to compadd), but  if  an  option  starting
              with  `-V',  `-J', `-1', or `-2' is passed to _description, that
              option will be included in the array.  Hence it is possible  for
              the  completion  group to be unsorted by giving the option `-V',
              `-1V', or `-2V'.

              In most cases, the function will be used like this:

                     local expl
                     _description files expl file
                     compadd "$expl[@]" - "$files[@]"

              Note the use of the parameter expl, the hyphen, and the list  of
              matches.   Almost  all  calls  to  compadd within the completion
              system use a similar format; this  ensures  that  user-specified
              styles are correctly passed down to the builtins which implement
              the internals of completion.

       _dispatch context string ...
              This  sets  the  current  context  to  context  and  looks   for
              completion  functions  to handle this context by hunting through
              the list of command names  or  special  contexts  (as  described
              above  for  compdef)  given as string ....  The first completion
              function to be defined for one of the contexts in  the  list  is
              used  to  generate  matches.   Typically,  the  last  string  is
              -default- to cause the function for  default  completion  to  be
              used as a fallback.

              The  function  sets  the  parameter $service to the string being
              tried, and sets the context/command field (the  fourth)  of  the
              $curcontext   parameter  to  the  context  given  as  the  first

       _files The function _files calls _path_files with all the arguments  it
              was  passed  except for -g and -/.  The use of these two options
              depends on the setting of the  file-patterns style.

              This function  accepts  the  full  set  of  options  allowed  by
              _path_files, described below.

              This function is a simple wrapper around the _arguments function
              described above.  It can be used to determine automatically  the
              long  options  understood  by  commands that produce a list when
              passed the option `--help'.  It is intended  to  be  used  as  a
              top-level completion function in its own right.  For example, to
              enable option completion for the commands foo and bar, use

                     compdef _gnu_generic foo bar

              after the call to compinit.

              The completion system as supplied is conservative in its use  of
              this  function,  since  it  is  important to be sure the command
              understands the option `--help'.

       _guard [ options ] pattern descr
              This function is intended to be  used  in  the  action  for  the
              specifications  passed  to _arguments and similar functions.  It
              returns immediately with a non-zero return status if the  string
              to  be  completed  does  not  match the pattern.  If the pattern
              matches, the descr  is  displayed;  the  function  then  returns
              status  zero  if  the  word  to  complete is not empty, non-zero

              The pattern may be preceded by any of the options understood  by
              compadd  that  are passed down from _description, namely -M, -J,
              -V, -1, -2, -n, -F  and  -X.   All  of  these  options  will  be
              ignored.   This  fits  in conveniently with the argument-passing
              conventions of actions for _arguments.

              As an example, consider a command  taking  the  options  -n  and
              -none,  where -n must be followed by a numeric value in the same
              word.  By using:

                     _arguments '-n-: :_guard "[0-9]#" "numeric value"' '-none'

              _arguments can be made to  both  display  the  message  `numeric
              value'  and  complete  options  after `-n<TAB>'.  If the `-n' is
              already followed by one or more digits (the  pattern  passed  to
              _guard)  only  the  message  will  be  displayed; if the `-n' is
              followed by another character, only options are completed.

       _message [ -r12 ] [ -VJ group ] descr
       _message -e [ tag ] descr
              The descr is used in the same way as the third argument  to  the
              _description  function,  except  that  the resulting string will
              always be shown whether or not matches were generated.  This  is
              useful  for  displaying  a  help  message  in  places  where  no
              completions can be generated.

              The format style is examined with the messages  tag  to  find  a
              message;  the usual tag, descriptions, is used only if the style
              is not set with the former.

              If the -r option is given, no style is used; the descr is  taken
              literally  as  the  string to display.  This is most useful when
              the descr comes from a pre-processed argument list which already
              contains an expanded description.

              The  -12VJ options and the group are passed to compadd and hence
              determine the group the message string is added to.

              The second form gives a description for completions with the tag
              tag  to be shown even if there are no matches for that tag.  The
              tag can be omitted and if so the tag is taken from the parameter
              $curtag;  this  is maintained by the completion system and so is
              usually correct.

       _multi_parts sep array
              The argument sep is a separator character.   The  array  may  be
              either  the name of an array parameter or a literal array in the
              form `(foo bar)', a parenthesised list  of  words  separated  by
              whitespace.   The  possible completions are the strings from the
              array.  However, each chunk delimited by sep will  be  completed
              separately.  For example, the _tar function uses `_multi_parts /
              patharray' to complete partial file paths from the  given  array
              of complete file paths.

              The  -i option causes _multi_parts to insert a unique match even
              if that requires multiple separators to be  inserted.   This  is
              not  usually  the expected behaviour with filenames, but certain
              other types of completion, for example those with a fixed set of
              possibilities, may be more suited to this form.

              Like  other  utility  functions, this function accepts the `-V',
              `-J', `-1', `-2', `-n', `-f',  `-X',  `-M',  `-P',  `-S',  `-r',
              `-R', and `-q' options and passes them to the compadd builtin.

       _next_label [ -x ] [ -12VJ ] tag name descr [ options ... ]
              This  function  is used to implement the loop over different tag
              labels for a particular tag as described above for the tag-order
              style.   On each call it checks to see if there are any more tag
              labels; if there is it returns status zero, otherwise  non-zero.
              As  this  function  requires  a  current  tag to be set, it must
              always follow a call to _tags or _requested.

              The -x12VJ options and the first three arguments are  passed  to
              the  _description  function.   Where appropriate the tag will be
              replaced by a tag label in this call.  Any description given  in
              the  tag-order  style  is  preferred  to  the  descr  passed  to

              The options given after the descr are set in the parameter given
              by  name,  and  hence  are  to  be passed to compadd or whatever
              function is called to add the matches.

              Here is a typical use of this function for  the  tag  foo.   The
              call to _requested determines if tag foo is required at all; the
              loop over _next_label handles any labels defined for the tag  in
              the tag-order style.

                     local expl ret=1
                     if _requested foo; then
                       while _next_label foo expl '...'; do
                         compadd "$expl[@]" ... && ret=0
                     return ret

              This  is  the  standard  function  called  to  handle completion
              outside any special -context-.  It is called  both  to  complete
              the  command  word and also the arguments for a command.  In the
              second case, _normal looks for a  special  completion  for  that
              command,  and  if  there  is none it uses the completion for the
              -default- context.

              A second use is to reexamine the command line specified  by  the
              $words  array  and  the $CURRENT parameter after those have been
              modified.   For  example,  the   function   _precommand,   which
              completes  after  pre-command  specifiers such as nohup, removes
              the first word from the  words  array,  decrements  the  CURRENT
              parameter,  then calls _normal again.  The effect is that `nohup
              cmd ...' is treated in the same way as `cmd ...'.

              If the command name matches one of the patterns given by one  of
              the  options  -p  or -P to compdef, the corresponding completion
              function is called and then the parameter _compskip is  checked.
              If  it  is set completion is terminated at that point even if no
              matches have been found.  This is the  same  effect  as  in  the
              -first- context.

              This  can  be  used  to complete the names of shell options.  It
              provides a matcher specification that ignores  a  leading  `no',
              ignores underscores and allows upper-case letters to match their
              lower-case  counterparts   (for   example,   `glob',   `noglob',
              `NO_GLOB'  are  all completed).  Any arguments are propagated to
              the compadd builtin.

       _options_set and _options_unset
              These functions complete only set or  unset  options,  with  the
              same matching specification used in the _options function.

              Note   that   you   need   to  uncomment  a  few  lines  in  the
              _main_complete function for these functions  to  work  properly.
              The  lines  in question are used to store the option settings in
              effect before the completion widget locally sets the options  it
              needs.   Hence  these  functions  are  not generally used by the
              completion system.

              This is used to complete the names of shell parameters.

              The option `-g pattern'  limits  the  completion  to  parameters
              whose type matches the pattern.  The type of a parameter is that
              shown by `print ${(t)param}', hence  judicious  use  of  `*'  in
              pattern is probably necessary.

              All other arguments are passed to the compadd builtin.

              This  function  is  used  throughout  the  completion  system to
              complete filenames.  It allows completion of partial paths.  For
              example,   the   string   `/u/i/s/sig'   may   be  completed  to

              The options accepted by both _path_files and _files are:

              -f     Complete all filenames.  This is the default.

              -/     Specifies that only directories should be completed.

              -g pattern
                     Specifies that only files matching the pattern should  be

              -W paths
                     Specifies  path  prefixes that are to be prepended to the
                     string from the command line to  generate  the  filenames
                     but  that should not be inserted as completions nor shown
                     in completion listings.  Here, paths may be the  name  of
                     an  array  parameter, a literal list of paths enclosed in
                     parentheses or an absolute pathname.

              -F ignored-files
                     This behaves as  for  the  corresponding  option  to  the
                     compadd  builtin.   It  gives  direct  control over which
                     filenames should  be  ignored.   If  the  option  is  not
                     present, the ignored-patterns style is used.

              Both  _path_files  and  _files also accept the following options
              which are passed to compadd: `-J', `-V', `-1', `-2', `-n', `-X',
              `-M', `-P', `-S', `-q', `-r', and `-R'.

              Finally,  the  _path_files  function   uses  the  styles expand,
              ambiguous, special-dirs, list-suffixes and  file-sort  described

       _pick_variant [ -c command ] [ -r name ] label=pattern ... label [ args
       ... ]
              This function is used  to  resolve  situations  where  a  single
              command  name  requires  more  than one type of handling, either
              because it has more than one variant or because there is a  name
              clash between two different commands.

              The  command to run is taken from the first element of the array
              words unless this is overridden by the option -c.  This  command
              is  run  and  its  output is compared with a series of patterns.
              Arguments to be passed to the command can be  specified  at  the
              end after all the other arguments.  The patterns to try in order
              are given by the  arguments  label=pattern;  if  the  output  of
              `command  args  ...' contains pattern, then label is selected as
              the label for the command variant.   If  none  of  the  patterns
              match,  the  final  command  label  is  selected and status 1 is

              If the `-r name' is given, the label picked  is  stored  in  the
              parameter named name.

              The  results  are  also  cached  in the _cmd_variant associative
              array indexed by the name of the command run.

       _regex_arguments name spec ...
              This function generates a completion function name which matches
              the  specifications  spec  ...,  a set of regular expressions as
              described below.  After running _regex_arguments,  the  function
              name  should  be  called  as  a normal completion function.  The
              pattern to be matched is given by  the  contents  of  the  words
              array  up  to  the  current cursor position joined together with
              null characters; no quotation is applied.

              The arguments are grouped as sets of alternatives  separated  by
              `|',  which  are  tried  one  after the other until one matches.
              Each alternative consists of a one or more specifications  which
              are  tried  left  to  right,  with  each  pattern  matched being
              stripped in turn from the command line being tested,  until  all
              of  the  group  succeeds or until one fails; in the latter case,
              the next alternative is tried.  This structure can  be  repeated
              to  arbitrary depth by using parentheses; matching proceeds from
              inside to outside.

              A special procedure is applied  if  no  test  succeeds  but  the
              remaining   command  line  string  contains  no  null  character
              (implying the remaining word is the one  for  which  completions
              are  to  be  generated).  The completion target is restricted to
              the  remaining  word  and  any  actions  for  the  corresponding
              patterns  are  executed.  In this case, nothing is stripped from
              the command line string.  The order of evaluation of the actions
              can  be  determined  by the tag-order style; the various formats
              supported by _alternative can be used in action.  The  descr  is
              used for setting up the array parameter expl.

              Specification  arguments  take  one of following forms, in which
              metacharacters such as `(', `)', `#' and `|' should be quoted.

              /pattern/ [%lookahead%] [-guard] [:tag:descr:action]
                     This is a single primitive component.  The function tests
                     whether           the           combined          pattern
                     `(#b)((#B)pattern)lookahead*' matches  the  command  line
                     string.   If  so,  `guard'  is  evaluated  and its return
                     status  is  examined  to  determine  if  the   test   has
                     succeeded.   The  pattern string `[]' is guaranteed never
                     to match.  The lookahead is not stripped from the command
                     line before the next pattern is examined.

                     The  argument  starting with : is used in the same manner
                     as an argument to _alternative.

                     A component is used as follows: pattern is tested to  see
                     if  the component already exists on the command line.  If
                     it does, any following  specifications  are  examined  to
                     find  something  to  complete.  If a component is reached
                     but no such pattern exists yet on the command  line,  the
                     string  containing the action is used to generate matches
                     to insert at that point.

              /pattern/+ [%lookahead%] [-guard] [:tag:descr:action]
                     This is similar to `/pattern/ ...' but the left  part  of
                     the command line string (i.e. the part already matched by
                     previous  patterns)  is  also  considered  part  of   the
                     completion target.

              /pattern/- [%lookahead%] [-guard] [:tag:descr:action]
                     This is similar to `/pattern/ ...' but the actions of the
                     current and previously matched patterns are ignored  even
                     if the following `pattern' matches the empty string.

              ( spec )
                     Parentheses  may  be  used  to  groups  specs;  note each
                     parenthesis is a single argument to _regex_arguments.

              spec # This allows any number of repetitions of spec.

              spec spec
                     The two specs are to be matched one after  the  other  as
                     described above.

              spec | spec
                     Either of the two specs can be matched.

              The  function  _regex_words  can be used as a helper function to
              generate matches for a set of alternative  words  possibly  with
              their own arguments as a command line argument.


                     _regex_arguments _tst /$'[^\0]#\0'/ \
                     /$'[^\0]#\0'/ :'compadd aaa'

              This  generates  a  function _tst that completes aaa as its only
              argument.  The tag and description  for  the  action  have  been
              omitted for brevity (this works but is not recommended in normal
              use).  The first component matches the command  word,  which  is
              arbitrary; the second matches  any argument.  As the argument is
              also arbitrary, any following component would not depend on  aaa
              being present.

                     _regex_arguments _tst /$'[^\0]#\0'/ \
                     /$'aaa\0'/ :'compadd aaa'

              This  is  a  more  typical use; it is similar, but any following
              patterns would only match  if  aaa  was  present  as  the  first

                     _regex_arguments _tst /$'[^\0]#\0'/ \( \
                     /$'aaa\0'/ :'compadd aaa' \
                     /$'bbb\0'/ :'compadd bbb' \) \#

              In  this  example, an indefinite number of command arguments may
              be completed.  Odd arguments  are  completed  as  aaa  and  even
              arguments  as  bbb.   Completion fails unless the set of aaa and
              bbb arguments before the current one is matched correctly.

                     _regex_arguments _tst /$'[^\0]#\0'/ \
                     \( /$'aaa\0'/ :'compadd aaa' \| \
                     /$'bbb\0'/ :'compadd bbb' \) \#

              This is similar, but either aaa or bbb may be completed for  any
              argument.  In this case _regex_words could be used to generate a
              suitable expression for the arguments.

       _regex_words tag description spec ...
              This  function  can  be  used  to  generate  arguments  for  the
              _regex_arguments  command  which  may  be  inserted at any point
              where a set of rules is expected.  The tag and description  give
              a  standard  tag  and  description  pertaining  to  the  current
              context.  Each spec contains two or three arguments separated by
              a colon: note that there is no leading colon in this case.

              Each  spec  gives one of a set of words that may be completed at
              this  point,  together  with  arguments.   It  is  thus  roughly
              equivalent  to  the  _arguments  function  when  used  in normal
              (non-regex) completion.

              The part of the spec before the first colon is the  word  to  be
              completed.   This  may  contain a *; the entire word, before and
              after the * is completed, but only the  text  before  the  *  is
              required  for  the  context  to  be  matched,  so  that  further
              arguments may be completed after the abbreviated form.

              The second part of spec is a  description  for  the  word  being

              The  optional  third  part  of  the  spec  describes  how  words
              following  the  one  being  completed  are  themselves   to   be
              completed.  It will be evaluated in order to avoid problems with
              quoting.  This means that typically it contains a  reference  to
              an array containing previously generated regex arguments.

              The  option  -t term specifies a terminator for the word instead
              of the usual space.  This is handled as an auto-removable suffix
              in the manner of the option -s sep to _values.

              The  result  of  the processing by _regex_words is placed in the
              array reply, which should be made local to the calling function.
              If the set of words and arguments may be matched repeatedly, a #
              should be appended to the generated array at that point.

              For example:

                     local -a reply
                     _regex_words mydb-commands 'mydb commands' \
                       'add:add an entry to mydb:$mydb_add_cmds' \
                       'show:show entries in mydb'
                     _regex_arguments _mydb "$reply[@]"
                     _mydb "$@"

              This shows a completion function for a command mydb which  takes
              two  command  arguments, add and show.  show takes no arguments,
              while the arguments for add have already  been  prepared  in  an
              array  mydb_add_cmds,  quite  possibly  by  a  previous  call to

       _requested [ -x ] [ -12VJ ] tag [ name descr [ command args ... ] ]
              This  function  is  called  to  decide  whether  a  tag  already
              registered  by a call to _tags (see below) has been requested by
              the user and hence completion should be performed  for  it.   It
              returns  status  zero  if  the  tag  is  requested  and non-zero
              otherwise.  The function is typically used as  part  of  a  loop
              over different tags as follows:

                     _tags foo bar baz
                     while _tags; do
                       if _requested foo; then
                         ... # perform completion for foo
                       ... # test the tags bar and baz in the same way
                       ... # exit loop if matches were generated

              Note  that  the  test  for whether matches were generated is not
              performed until the end of the _tags loop.  This is so that  the
              user  can set the tag-order style to specify a set of tags to be
              completed at the same time.

              If name and descr are given, _requested calls  the  _description
              function  with  these arguments together with the options passed
              to _requested.

              If command is given, the _all_labels  function  will  be  called
              immediately with the same arguments.  In simple cases this makes
              it possible to perform the test for the tag and the matching  in
              one go.  For example:

                     local expl ret=1
                     _tags foo bar baz
                     while _tags; do
                       _requested foo expl 'description' \
                           compadd foobar foobaz && ret=0
                       (( ret )) || break

              If  the command is not compadd, it must nevertheless be prepared
              to handle the same options.

       _retrieve_cache cache_identifier
              This function retrieves completion  information  from  the  file
              given  by  cache_identifier,  stored in a directory specified by
              the cache-path  style  which  defaults  to  ~/.zcompcache.   The
              return status is zero if retrieval was successful.  It will only
              attempt retrieval if the use-cache style is set, so you can call
              this  function without worrying about whether the user wanted to
              use the caching layer.

              See _store_cache below for more details.

              This function is passed alternating  arrays  and  separators  as
              arguments.   The arrays specify completions for parts of strings
              to be separated by the separators.  The arrays may be the  names
              of  array  parameters  or a quoted list of words in parentheses.
              For  example,  with  the  array  `hosts=(ftp  news)'  the   call
              `_sep_parts  '(foo  bar)' @ hosts' will complete the string  `f'
              to `foo' and the string `b@n' to `bar@news'.

              This function accepts the  compadd  options  `-V',  `-J',  `-1',
              `-2',  `-n',  `-X',  `-M',  `-P', `-S', `-r', `-R', and `-q' and
              passes them on to the compadd builtin used to add the matches.

       _setup tag [ group ]
              This function  sets  up  the  special  parameters  used  by  the
              completion  system  appropriately for the tag given as the first
              argument.   It  uses  the   styles   list-colors,   list-packed,
              list-rows-first, last-prompt, accept-exact, menu and force-list.

              The  optional  group supplies the name of the group in which the
              matches will be placed.  If it is not given, the tag is used  as
              the group name.

              This  function  is  called  automatically  from _description and
              hence is not normally called explicitly.

       _store_cache cache_identifier params ...
              This function, together with _retrieve_cache and _cache_invalid,
              implements  a  caching layer which can be used in any completion
              function.  Data obtained by  costly  operations  are  stored  in
              parameters;  this  function  then  dumps  the  values  of  those
              parameters to a file.  The data can then  be  retrieved  quickly
              from  that file via _retrieve_cache, even in different instances
              of the shell.

              The cache_identifier specifies the file which the data should be
              dumped  to.   The file is stored in a directory specified by the
              cache-path style which defaults to ~/.zcompcache.  The remaining
              params arguments are the parameters to dump to the file.

              The  return  status  is  zero  if  storage  was successful.  The
              function will only attempt storage if  the  use-cache  style  is
              set,  so  you  can  call  this  function  without worrying about
              whether the user wanted to use the caching layer.

              The completion function may avoid calling  _retrieve_cache  when
              it  already  has  the  completion  data available as parameters.
              However, in that case it should  call  _cache_invalid  to  check
              whether  the  data  in the parameters and in the cache are still

              See the _perl_modules completion function for a  simple  example
              of the usage of the caching layer.

       _tags [ [ -C name ] tags ... ]
              If  called  with  arguments,  these are taken to be the names of
              tags valid for completions in the current context.   These  tags
              are stored internally and sorted by using the tag-order style.

              Next, _tags is called repeatedly without arguments from the same
              completion  function.   This  successively  selects  the  first,
              second,  etc.  set  of  tags  requested by the user.  The return
              status is zero if at least one of  the  tags  is  requested  and
              non-zero otherwise.  To test if a particular tag is to be tried,
              the _requested function should be called (see above).

              If `-C name'  is  given,  name  is  temporarily  stored  in  the
              argument  field  (the  fifth)  of  the context in the curcontext
              parameter during the call to _tags; the  field  is  restored  on
              exit.   This allows _tags to use a more specific context without
              having to change and reset the curcontext parameter  (which  has
              the same effect).

       _values [ -O name ] [ -s sep ] [ -S sep ] [ -wC ] desc spec ...
              This  is  used to complete arbitrary keywords (values) and their
              arguments, or lists of such combinations.

              If the first argument is the option `-O name', it will  be  used
              in  the same way as by the _arguments function.  In other words,
              the elements of the name array will be passed  to  compadd  when
              executing an action.

              If the first argument (or the first argument after `-O name') is
              `-s', the next argument is used as the character that  separates
              multiple  values.   This  character is automatically added after
              each value in an auto-removable fashion (see below); all  values
              completed by `_values -s' appear in the same word on the command
              line, unlike completion using _arguments.  If this option is not
              present, only a single value will be completed per word.

              Normally,  _values  will  only use the current word to determine
              which values are already present on the command line  and  hence
              are not to be completed again.  If the -w option is given, other
              arguments are examined as well.

              The first non-option argument is used as a string to print as  a
              description before listing the values.

              All  other  arguments  describe  the  possible  values and their
              arguments in the same format used for the description of options
              by  the  _arguments  function (see above).  The only differences
              are that no minus or plus sign is  required  at  the  beginning,
              values  can  have  only  one  argument,  and the forms of action
              beginning with an equal sign are not supported.

              The character separating a value from its argument  can  be  set
              using  the  option -S (like -s, followed by the character to use
              as the separator in the next argument).  By default  the  equals
              sign will be used as the separator between values and arguments.


                     _values -s , 'description' \
                             '*foo[bar]' \
                             '(two)*one[number]:first count:' \
                             'two[another number]::second count:(1 2 3)'

              This  describes  three possible values: `foo', `one', and `two'.
              The first is described as  `bar',  takes  no  argument  and  may
              appear more than once.  The second is described as `number', may
              appear  more  than  once,  and  takes  one  mandatory   argument
              described  as  `first count'; no action is specified, so it will
              not be completed.  The `(two)' at the beginning says that if the
              value  `one'  is  on the line, the value `two' will no longer be
              considered a  possible  completion.   Finally,  the  last  value
              (`two')  is  described as `another number' and takes an optional
              argument described as `second count' for which  the  completions
              (to  appear  after  an  `=') are `1', `2', and `3'.  The _values
              function will  complete  lists  of  these  values  separated  by

              Like  _arguments, this function temporarily adds another context
              name component to the  arguments  element  (the  fifth)  of  the
              current  context  while executing the action.  Here this name is
              just the name of the value for which the argument is completed.

              The style verbose is used to decide if the descriptions for  the
              values (but not those for the arguments) should be printed.

              The  associative  array  val_args  is  used to report values and
              their  arguments;  this  works   similarly   to   the   opt_args
              associative  array  used  by  _arguments.   Hence  the  function
              calling _values should declare the local parameters state, line,
              context and val_args:

                     local context state line
                     typeset -A val_args

              when using an action of the form `->string'.  With this function
              the context parameter will be set to the name of the value whose
              argument is to be completed.

              Note  also  that _values normally adds the character used as the
              separator between values as an auto-removable suffix (similar to
              a  `/'  after a directory).  However, this is not possible for a
              `->string' action as the matches for the argument are  generated
              by  the  calling  function.  To get the usual behaviour, the the
              calling function can add the separator x as a suffix by  passing
              the options `-qS x' either directly or indirectly to compadd.

              The option -C is treated in the same way as it is by _arguments.
              In that case the  parameter  curcontext  should  be  made  local
              instead of context (as described above).

       _wanted [ -x ] [ -C name ]  [ -12VJ ] tag name descr command args ...
              In  many  contexts,  completion can only generate one particular
              set of matches, usually corresponding to a single tag.  However,
              it  is  still  necessary  to  decide  whether  the user requires
              matches of this type.  This function is useful in such a case.

              The arguments to _wanted are the same as  those  to  _requested,
              i.e.  arguments  to be passed to _description.  However, in this
              case the command is not optional;  all the processing  of  tags,
              including  the  loop  over  both  tags  and  tag  labels and the
              generation of matches, is carried out automatically by _wanted.

              Hence  to  offer  only  one  tag   and   immediately   add   the
              corresponding matches with the given description:

                     local expl
                     _wanted tag expl 'description' \
                         compadd matches...

              Note that, as for _requested, the command must be able to accept
              options to be passed down to compadd.

              Like _tags this function  supports  the  -C  option  to  give  a
              different  name  for  the argument context field.  The -x option
              has the same meaning as for _description.


       In  the  source  distribution,  the  files  are  contained  in  various
       subdirectories  of  the  Completion  directory.   They  may  have  been
       installed in the same structure, or into one single function directory.
       The  following  is  a  description  of  the files found in the original
       directory structure.  If you wish to alter an installed file, you  will
       need  to  copy it to some directory which appears earlier in your fpath
       than the standard directory where it appears.

       Base   The core functions and special completion widgets  automatically
              bound  to  keys.   You will certainly need most of these, though
              will probably not  need  to  alter  them.   Many  of  these  are
              documented above.

       Zsh    Functions for completing arguments of shell builtin commands and
              utility functions for this.  Some of  these  are  also  used  by
              functions from the Unix directory.

       Unix   Functions  for  completing  arguments  of  external commands and
              suites of commands.  They may need modifying  for  your  system,
              although  in  many  cases  some  attempt is made to decide which
              version of a command is present.  For  example,  completion  for
              the  mount  command  tries to determine the system it is running
              on, while completion for many  other  utilities  try  to  decide
              whether  the  GNU  version  of  the command is in use, and hence
              whether the --help option is supported.

       X, AIX, BSD, ...
              Completion and utility function for commands available  only  on
              some  systems.   These  are not arranged hierarchically, so, for
              example, both the Linux and Debian directories, as well as the X
              directory, may be useful on your system.