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       zsh - the Z shell


       Because  zsh  contains  many  features,  the  zsh  manual  has been split into a number of

       zsh          Zsh overview (this section)
       zshroadmap   Informal introduction to the manual
       zshmisc      Anything not fitting into the other sections
       zshexpn      Zsh command and parameter expansion
       zshparam     Zsh parameters
       zshoptions   Zsh options
       zshbuiltins  Zsh built-in functions
       zshzle       Zsh command line editing
       zshcompwid   Zsh completion widgets
       zshcompsys   Zsh completion system
       zshcompctl   Zsh completion control
       zshmodules   Zsh loadable modules
       zshcalsys    Zsh built-in calendar functions
       zshtcpsys    Zsh built-in TCP functions
       zshzftpsys   Zsh built-in FTP client
       zshcontrib   Additional zsh functions and utilities
       zshall       Meta-man page containing all of the above


       Zsh is a UNIX command interpreter (shell) usable as an interactive login shell  and  as  a
       shell  script  command  processor.  Of the standard shells, zsh most closely resembles ksh
       but  includes  many  enhancements.   Zsh  has  command  line  editing,  builtin   spelling
       correction, programmable command completion, shell functions (with autoloading), a history
       mechanism, and a host of other features.


       Zsh was originally written by Paul Falstad <>.  Zsh is  now  maintained  by  the
       members  of  the  zsh-workers  mailing  list  <>.   The  development is
       currently coordinated by Peter Stephenson <>.  The coordinator can be contacted
       at  <>,  but  matters  relating  to the code should generally go to the
       mailing list.


       Zsh is available from the following anonymous FTP sites.   These  mirror  sites  are  kept
       frequently  up to date.  The sites marked with (H) may be mirroring instead
       of the primary site.

       Primary site



       The   up-to-date   source   code   is   available   via   Git   from   Sourceforge.    See  for  details.   A  summary  of  instructions for the
       archive can be found at


       Zsh has 3 mailing lists:

              Announcements about releases, major changes in the shell and the monthly posting of
              the Zsh FAQ.  (moderated)

              User discussions.

              Hacking, development, bug reports and patches.

       To  subscribe  or  unsubscribe, send mail to the associated administrative address for the
       mailing list.


       zsh-announce  are  automatically forwarded to zsh-users.  All submissions to zsh-users are
       automatically forwarded to zsh-workers.

       If you have problems subscribing/unsubscribing to any of the mailing lists, send  mail  to
       <>.    The   mailing   lists   are   maintained   by   Karsten  Thygesen

       The mailing lists are archived; the  archives  can  be  accessed  via  the  administrative
       addresses  listed  above.   There  is  also  a hypertext archive, maintained by Geoff Wing
       <>, available at


       Zsh has a list of  Frequently  Asked  Questions  (FAQ),  maintained  by  Peter  Stephenson
       <>.    It  is  regularly  posted  to  the  newsgroup  and  the
       zsh-announce mailing list.  The latest version can be found at any of the Zsh  FTP  sites,
       or   at    The  contact  address  for  FAQ-related  matters  is


       Zsh has a web page which is located at  This is maintained by Karsten
       Thygesen  <>,  of  SunSITE  Denmark.   The  contact  address for web-related
       matters is <>.


       A userguide is currently in preparation.  It is intended to complement  the  manual,  with
       explanations  and  hints  on  issues where the manual can be cabbalistic, hierographic, or
       downright mystifying (for example, the word `hierographic' does not  exist).   It  can  be
       viewed in its current state at  At the time of writing,
       chapters dealing with startup files and their contents and the new completion system  were
       essentially complete.


       A  `wiki'  website  for  zsh  has been created at  This is a site
       which can be added to and modified directly by users without any special permission.   You
       can add your own zsh tips and configurations.


       The following flags are interpreted by the shell when invoked to determine where the shell
       will read commands from:

       -c     Take the first argument as a command to execute, rather than reading commands  from
              a  script  or standard input.  If any further arguments are given, the first one is
              assigned to $0, rather than being used as a positional parameter.

       -i     Force shell to be interactive.  It  is  still  possible  to  specify  a  script  to

       -s     Force  shell  to  read  commands  from  the  standard input.  If the -s flag is not
              present and an argument is given, the first argument is taken to be the pathname of
              a script to execute.

       If  there  are any remaining arguments after option processing, and neither of the options
       -c or -s was supplied, the first argument is taken as the file name of a script containing
       shell  commands  to be executed.  If the option PATH_SCRIPT is set, and the file name does
       not contain a directory path (i.e. there is  no  `/'  in  the  name),  first  the  current
       directory  and  then  the  command  path  given  by the variable PATH are searched for the
       script.  If the option is not set or the file name contains a `/' it is used directly.

       After the first one or two arguments  have  been  appropriated  as  described  above,  the
       remaining arguments are assigned to the positional parameters.

       For   further   options,  which  are  common  to  invocation  and  the  set  builtin,  see

       Options may be specified by name using the  -o  option.   -o  acts  like  a  single-letter
       option, but takes a following string as the option name.  For example,

              zsh -x -o shwordsplit scr

       runs  the  script  scr, setting the XTRACE option by the corresponding letter `-x' and the
       SH_WORD_SPLIT option by name.  Options may be turned off by name by using  +o  instead  of
       -o.   -o  can  be  stacked  up  with  preceding single-letter options, so for example `-xo
       shwordsplit' or `-xoshwordsplit' is equivalent to `-x -o shwordsplit'.

       Options may also be specified by name in GNU long  option  style,  `--option-name'.   When
       this  is  done,  `-' characters in the option name are permitted: they are translated into
       `_', and thus ignored.  So, for  example,  `zsh  --sh-word-split'  invokes  zsh  with  the
       SH_WORD_SPLIT  option turned on.  Like other option syntaxes, options can be turned off by
       replacing  the  initial  `-'  with  a  `+';  thus  `+-sh-word-split'  is   equivalent   to
       `--no-sh-word-split'.   Unlike  other  option  syntaxes,  GNU-style long options cannot be
       stacked with any other options, so for example `-x-shwordsplit' is an error,  rather  than
       being treated like `-x --shwordsplit'.

       The  special  GNU-style  option  `--version'  is  handled; it sends to standard output the
       shell's version information, then exits successfully.  `--help' is also handled; it  sends
       to  standard output a list of options that can be used when invoking the shell, then exits

       Option processing may be finished, allowing following arguments that start with `-' or `+'
       to  be  treated  as  normal  arguments,  in  two ways.  Firstly, a lone `-' (or `+') as an
       argument by itself ends option processing.  Secondly, a special  option  `--'  (or  `+-'),
       which  may  be  specified on its own (which is the standard POSIX usage) or may be stacked
       with preceding options (so `-x-' is equivalent to `-x --').  Options are not permitted  to
       be  stacked  after  `--'  (so  `-x-f'  is  an  error),  but note the GNU-style option form
       discussed above, where `--shwordsplit' is permitted and does not end option processing.

       Except when the sh/ksh emulation single-letter options are in effect, the option `-b'  (or
       `+b')  ends  option  processing.   `-b'  is  like  `--', except that further single-letter
       options can be stacked after the `-b' and will take effect as normal.


       Zsh tries to emulate sh or ksh when  it  is  invoked  as  sh  or  ksh  respectively;  more
       precisely, it looks at the first letter of the name by which it was invoked, excluding any
       initial `r' (assumed to stand for `restricted'), and if that is `b', `s' or  `k'  it  will
       emulate  sh  or ksh.  Furthermore, if invoked as su (which happens on certain systems when
       the shell is executed by the su command), the shell will try to find an  alternative  name
       from the SHELL environment variable and perform emulation based on that.

       In  sh  and  ksh  compatibility  modes  the  following  parameters are not special and not
       initialized by the  shell:  ARGC,  argv,  cdpath,  fignore,  fpath,  HISTCHARS,  mailpath,
       MANPATH, manpath, path, prompt, PROMPT, PROMPT2, PROMPT3, PROMPT4, psvar, status, watch.

       The usual zsh startup/shutdown scripts are not executed.  Login shells source /etc/profile
       followed by $HOME/.profile.  If the ENV environment variable is set on invocation, $ENV is
       sourced  after the profile scripts.  The value of ENV is subjected to parameter expansion,
       command substitution, and arithmetic expansion before being  interpreted  as  a  pathname.
       Note that the PRIVILEGED option also affects the execution of startup files.

       The  following  options  are  set  if  the  shell is invoked as sh or ksh: NO_BAD_PATTERN,
       SH_OPTION_LETTERS, SH_WORD_SPLIT.  Additionally the BSD_ECHO and IGNORE_BRACES options are
       set if zsh is invoked as sh.   Also,  the  KSH_OPTION_PRINT,  LOCAL_OPTIONS,  PROMPT_BANG,
       PROMPT_SUBST and SINGLE_LINE_ZLE options are set if zsh is invoked as ksh.


       When the basename of the command used to invoke zsh starts with the letter `r' or the `-r'
       command line option is supplied at invocation, the shell  becomes  restricted.   Emulation
       mode is determined after stripping the letter `r' from the invocation name.  The following
       are disabled in restricted mode:

       •      changing directories with the cd builtin

       •      changing or unsetting the PATH, path, MODULE_PATH,  module_path,  SHELL,  HISTFILE,
              LD_PRELOAD and  LD_AOUT_PRELOAD parameters

       •      specifying command names containing /

       •      specifying command pathnames using hash

       •      redirecting output to files

       •      using the exec builtin command to replace the shell with another command

       •      using jobs -Z to overwrite the shell process' argument and environment space

       •      using the ARGV0 parameter to override argv[0] for external commands

       •      turning off restricted mode with set +r or unsetopt RESTRICTED

       These restrictions are enforced after processing the startup  files.   The  startup  files
       should  set up PATH to point to a directory of commands which can be safely invoked in the
       restricted environment.  They may also add  further  restrictions  by  disabling  selected

       Restricted  mode  can  also  be activated any time by setting the RESTRICTED option.  This
       immediately enables all the restrictions described above even if the shell still  has  not
       processed all startup files.


       Commands are first read from /etc/zshenv; this cannot be overridden.  Subsequent behaviour
       is modified by the RCS and GLOBAL_RCS options; the former affects all startup files, while
       the  second only affects global startup files (those shown here with an path starting with
       a /).  If one of the options is unset at any point, any subsequent startup file(s) of  the
       corresponding  type  will  not  be  read.   It  is also possible for a file in $ZDOTDIR to
       re-enable GLOBAL_RCS. Both RCS and GLOBAL_RCS are set by default.

       Commands are then read from $ZDOTDIR/.zshenv.  If the shell is a login shell, commands are
       read  from  /etc/zprofile and then $ZDOTDIR/.zprofile.  Then, if the shell is interactive,
       commands are read from /etc/zshrc and then $ZDOTDIR/.zshrc.  Finally, if the  shell  is  a
       login shell, /etc/zlogin and $ZDOTDIR/.zlogin are read.

       When  a  login  shell  exits,  the files $ZDOTDIR/.zlogout and then /etc/zlogout are read.
       This happens with either an explicit exit via the exit or logout commands, or an  implicit
       exit  by  reading  end-of-file from the terminal.  However, if the shell terminates due to
       exec'ing another process, the logout files are not read.  These are also affected  by  the
       RCS  and  GLOBAL_RCS options.  Note also that the RCS option affects the saving of history
       files, i.e. if RCS is unset when the shell exits, no history file will be saved.

       If ZDOTDIR is unset, HOME is used instead.  Files listed above as being in /etc may be  in
       another directory, depending on the installation.

       As  /etc/zshenv  is run for all instances of zsh, it is important that it be kept as small
       as possible.  In particular, it is a good idea to put code that does not need  to  be  run
       for  every  single  shell behind a test of the form `if [[ -o rcs ]]; then ...' so that it
       will not be executed when zsh is invoked with the `-f' option.

       Any  of  these  files  may  be  pre-compiled  with  the  zcompile  builtin  command   (see
       zshbuiltins(1)).   If  a  compiled  file exists (named for the original file plus the .zwc
       extension) and it is newer than the original file, the compiled file will be used instead.


       ${TMPPREFIX}*   (default is /tmp/zsh*)
       /etc/zlogout    (installation-specific - /etc is the default)


       sh(1),  csh(1),  tcsh(1),   rc(1),   bash(1),   ksh(1),   zshbuiltins(1),   zshcompwid(1),
       zshcompsys(1),   zshcompctl(1),   zshexpn(1),  zshmisc(1),  zshmodules(1),  zshoptions(1),
       zshparam(1), zshzle(1)

       IEEE Standard for information Technology - Portable Operating System Interface  (POSIX)  -
       Part 2: Shell and Utilities, IEEE Inc, 1993, ISBN 1-55937-255-9.