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       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
       ·      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

       ·      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:
       ·      those beginning `comp' are to be called directly; there are only
              a few of these;

       ·      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  [ -ane ] 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
              almost  any  shell  code.  If the string contains an equal sign,
              the above will take precedence.  The option -e may  be  used  to
              specify the first argument is to be evaluated as shell code even
              if it contains an equal sign.  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:

       ·      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.

       ·      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.

       ·      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.

       ·      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.

       ·      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.

       ·      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 -- local-directories  is  used  instead
              when  completing  arguments  of  cd and related builtin commands
              when the cdpath array is set

              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) -- when the cdpath
              array is unset, directories is used instead

              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 ':completion:*: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', all words on the line except for the current  one  will
              be excluded from the possible completions.

              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 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 style is also relevant 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.

              The  style  is  applicable  to  the  options,   signals,   jobs,
              functions, and parameters completion tags.

              For  command  options,  this means that the initial `-', `+', or
              `--' must be  typed  explicitly  before  option  names  will  be

              For signals, an initial `-' is required before signal names will
              be completed.

              For jobs, an initial `%' is required before job  names  will  be

              For  function  and  parameter  names,  an  initial `_' or `.' is
              required before function or parameter names starting with  those
              characters will be completed.

              The  default  value  for  this style is `false' for function and
              parameter completions, and  `true' otherwise.

              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 urls tag by functions completing

              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).

       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 [ -O name ] [ -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.

              The  option  `-O  name'  is  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.

              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 action in the `->string' format, it
              will strip all leading and trailing whitespace from  string  and
              set  the  array  state  to  the  set of all strings for which an
              action  is  to  be  performed.   The  elements  of   the   array
              state_descr  are  assigned  the corresponding message field from
              each optarg containing such an action.

              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 and $state_descr, _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 them.

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

                     local context state state_descr 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"(Nm+7) )
                         (( $#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 [ -b builtin-label ] [ -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 `-b builtin-label' is given, the command is tested to see
              if  it  is  provided as a shell builtin, possibly autoloaded; if
              so, the label builtin-label is selected as  the  label  for  the

              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,
              state_descr, line, context and val_args:

                     local context state state_descr 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 that for _values,  the  state
              and  state_descr  are scalars rather than arrays.  Only a single
              matching state is returned.

              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
              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.