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       zshcompctl - zsh programmable completion


       This  version  of zsh has two ways of performing completion of words on
       the command line.  New users of the shell may prefer to use  the  newer
       and more powerful system based on shell functions; this is described in
       zshcompsys(1), and the basic shell  mechanisms  which  support  it  are
       described  in  zshcompwid(1).   This  manual  entry describes the older
       compctl command.
       compctl [ -CDT ] options [ command ... ]
       compctl [ -CDT ] options [ -x pattern options - ... -- ] [ + options  [
       -x ... -- ] ... [+] ] [ command ... ]
       compctl -M match-specs ...
       compctl -L [ -CDTM ] [ command ... ]
       compctl + command ...

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

       -f     Filenames and file system paths.

       -/     Just file system paths.

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

       -F     Function names.

       -B     Names of builtin commands.

       -m     Names of external commands.

       -w     Reserved words.

       -a     Alias names.

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

       -G     Names of global aliases.

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

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

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

       -v     Names of any variable defined in the shell.

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

       -A     Array names.

       -I     Names of integer variables.

       -O     Names of read-only variables.

       -p     Names  of  parameters  used  by  the  shell  (including  special

       -Z     Names of shell special parameters.

       -E     Names of environment variables.

       -n     Named directories.

       -b     Key binding names.

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

       -r     Names of running jobs.

       -z     Names of suspended jobs.

       -u     User names.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                     compctl -D -f + -H 0 ''

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

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

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

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

                     compctl -j -P "%" kill

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

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

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

                     compctl -/ -W ~/Mail maildirs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

       Additional options are available that restrict completion to some  part
       of the command line; this is referred to as `extended completion'.


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

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

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

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

       The elements may be any of the following:

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

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

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

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

              Like c but using pattern matching instead.

              Matches  if  the  word  in  position  index  is  equal  to   the
              corresponding  string.   Note  that the word count is made after
              any alias expansion.

              Like w but using pattern matching instead.

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

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

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

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

              Matches if the total number of words lies between  min  and  max

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

              Like r but using pattern matching instead.

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


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

       This is to be interpreted as follows:

       If the current command is mail, then

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

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

              complete user names.

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