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ZSHCOMPCTL(1)							 ZSHCOMPCTL(1)

NAME
       zshcompctl - zsh	programmable completion

SYNOPSIS
       This  version  of zsh has two ways of performing	completion of words on
       the command line.  New users of the shell may prefer to use  the	 newer
       and more	powerful system	based on shell functions; this is described in
       zshcompsys(1), and the basic shell  mechanisms  which  support  it  are
       described in zshcompwid(1).  This manual	entry describes	the older com-
       pctl command.

DESCRIPTION
       compctl [ -CDT ]	options	[ command ... ]
       compctl [ -CDT ]	options	[ -x pattern options - ... -- ]	[ + options  [
       -x ... -- ] ... [+] ] [ command ... ]
       compctl -M match-specs ...
       compctl -L [ -CDTM ] [ command ... ]
       compctl + command ...

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

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

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

	      Any  of the command strings may be patterns of the form normally
	      used for filename	generation.  These should be be	quoted to pro-
	      tect  them  from	immediate  expansion;  for example the command
	      string 'foo*' arranges for completion of the words of  any  com-
	      mand beginning with foo.	When completion	is attempted, all pat-
	      tern completions are tried in the	reverse	order of their defini-
	      tion until one matches.  By default, completion then proceeds as
	      normal, i.e. the shell will try to generate more matches for the
	      specific	command	on the command line; this can be overridden by
	      including	-tn in the flags for the pattern completion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       -f     Filenames	and filesystem paths.

       -/     Just filesystem paths.

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

       -F     Function names.

       -B     Names of builtin commands.

       -m     Names of external	commands.

       -w     Reserved words.

       -a     Alias names.

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

       -G     Names of global aliases.

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

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

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

       -v     Names of any variable defined in the shell.

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

       -A     Array names.

       -I     Names of integer variables.

       -O     Names of read-only variables.

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

       -Z     Names of shell special parameters.

       -E     Names of environment variables.

       -n     Named directories.

       -b     Key binding names.

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

       -r     Names of running jobs.

       -z     Names of suspended jobs.

       -u     User names.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

		     compctl -D	-f + -H	0 ''

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

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

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

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

		     compctl -j	-P "%" kill

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

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

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

		     compctl -/	-W ~/Mail maildirs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

	      The sequences  %B,  %b,  %S,  %s,	 %U,  and  %u  specify	output
	      attributes  (bold,  standout,  and underline) and	%{...%}	can be
	      used to include literal escape sequences as in prompts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       The elements may	be any of the following:

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

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

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

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

       C[offset,pattern]...
	      Like c but using pattern matching	instead.

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

       W[index,pattern]...
	      Like w but using pattern matching	instead.

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

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

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

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

       m[min,max]...
	      Matches  if  the	total number of	words lies between min and max
	      inclusive.

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

       R[str1,str2]...
	      Like r but using pattern matching	instead.

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

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

       This is to be interpreted as follows:

       If the current command is mail, then

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

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

	      complete user names.

zsh 4.0.6			August 14, 2002			 ZSHCOMPCTL(1)

NAME | SYNOPSIS | DESCRIPTION | COMMAND FLAGS | OPTION FLAGS | ALTERNATIVE COMPLETION | EXTENDED COMPLETION | EXAMPLE

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