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fzf - a command-line fuzzy finder travis-ci

fzf is a general-purpose command-line fuzzy finder.

It's an interactive Unix filter for command-line that can be used with any list; files, command history, processes, hostnames, bookmarks, git commits, etc.


  • Portable, no dependencies
  • Blazingly fast
  • The most comprehensive feature set
  • Flexible layout
  • Batteries included
    • Vim/Neovim plugin, key bindings and fuzzy auto-completion

Table of Contents


fzf project consists of the following components:

  • fzf executable
  • fzf-tmux script for launching fzf in a tmux pane
  • Shell extensions
    • Key bindings (CTRL-T, CTRL-R, and ALT-C) (bash, zsh, fish)
    • Fuzzy auto-completion (bash, zsh)
  • Vim/Neovim plugin

You can download fzf executable alone if you don't need the extra stuff.

Using Homebrew or Linuxbrew

You can use Homebrew or Linuxbrew to install fzf.

brew install fzf

# To install useful key bindings and fuzzy completion:
$(brew --prefix)/opt/fzf/install

Using git

Alternatively, you can "git clone" this repository to any directory and run install script.

git clone --depth 1 ~/.fzf

As Vim plugin

Once you have fzf installed, you can enable it inside Vim simply by adding the directory to &runtimepath in your Vim configuration file as follows:

" If installed using Homebrew
set rtp+=/usr/local/opt/fzf

" If installed using git
set rtp+=~/.fzf

If you use vim-plug, the same can be written as:

" If installed using Homebrew
Plug '/usr/local/opt/fzf'

" If installed using git
Plug '~/.fzf'

But instead of separately installing fzf on your system (using Homebrew or "git clone") and enabling it on Vim (adding it to &runtimepath), you can use vim-plug to do both.

" PlugInstall and PlugUpdate will clone fzf in ~/.fzf and run install script
Plug 'junegunn/fzf', { 'dir': '~/.fzf', 'do': './install --all' }
  " Both options are optional. You don't have to install fzf in ~/.fzf
  " and you don't have to run install script if you use fzf only in Vim.

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S fzf


fzf is available in Fedora 26 and above, and can be installed using the usual method:

sudo dnf install fzf

Shell completion and plugins for vim or neovim are enabled by default. Shell key bindings are installed but not enabled by default. See Fedora's package documentation (/usr/share/doc/fzf/README.Fedora) for more information.


Pre-built binaries for Windows can be downloaded here. fzf is also available as a Chocolatey package.

choco install fzf

However, other components of the project may not work on Windows. Known issues and limitations can be found on the wiki page. You might want to consider installing fzf on Windows Subsystem for Linux where everything runs flawlessly.

Upgrading fzf

fzf is being actively developed and you might want to upgrade it once in a while. Please follow the instruction below depending on the installation method used.

  • git: cd ~/.fzf && git pull && ./install
  • brew: brew update; brew reinstall fzf
  • chocolatey: choco upgrade fzf
  • vim-plug: :PlugUpdate fzf

Building fzf



fzf will launch interactive finder, read the list from STDIN, and write the selected item to STDOUT.

find * -type f | fzf > selected

Without STDIN pipe, fzf will use find command to fetch the list of files excluding hidden ones. (You can override the default command with FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND)

vim $(fzf)

Using the finder

  • CTRL-J / CTRL-K (or CTRL-N / CTRL-P) to move cursor up and down
  • Enter key to select the item, CTRL-C / CTRL-G / ESC to exit
  • On multi-select mode (-m), TAB and Shift-TAB to mark multiple items
  • Emacs style key bindings
  • Mouse: scroll, click, double-click; shift-click and shift-scroll on multi-select mode


fzf by default starts in fullscreen mode, but you can make it start below the cursor with --height option.

vim $(fzf --height 40%)

Also check out --reverse and --layout options if you prefer "top-down" layout instead of the default "bottom-up" layout.

vim $(fzf --height 40% --reverse)

You can add these options to $FZF_DEFAULT_OPTS so that they're applied by default. For example,

export FZF_DEFAULT_OPTS='--height 40% --layout=reverse --border'

Search syntax

Unless otherwise specified, fzf starts in "extended-search mode" where you can type in multiple search terms delimited by spaces. e.g. ^music .mp3$ sbtrkt !fire

Token Match type Description
sbtrkt fuzzy-match Items that match sbtrkt
'wild exact-match (quoted) Items that include wild
^music prefix-exact-match Items that start with music
.mp3$ suffix-exact-match Items that end with .mp3
!fire inverse-exact-match Items that do not include fire
!^music inverse-prefix-exact-match Items that do not start with music
!.mp3$ inverse-suffix-exact-match Items that do not end with .mp3

If you don't prefer fuzzy matching and do not wish to "quote" every word, start fzf with -e or --exact option. Note that when --exact is set, '-prefix "unquotes" the term.

A single bar character term acts as an OR operator. For example, the following query matches entries that start with core and end with either go, rb, or py.

^core go$ | rb$ | py$

Environment variables

    • Default command to use when input is tty
    • e.g. export FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND='fd --type f'
    • Default options
    • e.g. export FZF_DEFAULT_OPTS="--layout=reverse --inline-info"


See the man page (man fzf) for the full list of options.


Many useful examples can be found on the wiki page. Feel free to add your own as well.

fzf-tmux script

fzf-tmux is a bash script that opens fzf in a tmux pane.

# usage: fzf-tmux [-u|-d [HEIGHT[%]]] [-l|-r [WIDTH[%]]] [--] [FZF OPTIONS]
#        (-[udlr]: up/down/left/right)

# select git branches in horizontal split below (15 lines)
git branch | fzf-tmux -d 15

# select multiple words in vertical split on the left (20% of screen width)
cat /usr/share/dict/words | fzf-tmux -l 20% --multi --reverse

It will still work even when you're not on tmux, silently ignoring -[udlr] options, so you can invariably use fzf-tmux in your scripts.

Alternatively, you can use --height HEIGHT[%] option not to start fzf in fullscreen mode.

fzf --height 40%

Key bindings for command line

The install script will setup the following key bindings for bash, zsh, and fish.

  • CTRL-T - Paste the selected files and directories onto the command line
    • Set FZF_CTRL_T_COMMAND to override the default command
    • Set FZF_CTRL_T_OPTS to pass additional options
  • CTRL-R - Paste the selected command from history onto the command line
    • If you want to see the commands in chronological order, press CTRL-R again which toggles sorting by relevance
    • Set FZF_CTRL_R_OPTS to pass additional options
  • ALT-C - cd into the selected directory
    • Set FZF_ALT_C_COMMAND to override the default command
    • Set FZF_ALT_C_OPTS to pass additional options

If you're on a tmux session, you can start fzf in a split pane by setting FZF_TMUX to 1, and change the height of the pane with FZF_TMUX_HEIGHT (e.g. 20, 50%).

If you use vi mode on bash, you need to add set -o vi before source ~/.fzf.bash in your .bashrc, so that it correctly sets up key bindings for vi mode.

More tips can be found on the wiki page.

Fuzzy completion for bash and zsh

Files and directories

Fuzzy completion for files and directories can be triggered if the word before the cursor ends with the trigger sequence which is by default **.

# Files under current directory
# - You can select multiple items with TAB key
vim **<TAB>

# Files under parent directory
vim ../**<TAB>

# Files under parent directory that match `fzf`
vim ../fzf**<TAB>

# Files under your home directory
vim ~/**<TAB>

# Directories under current directory (single-selection)
cd **<TAB>

# Directories under ~/github that match `fzf`
cd ~/github/fzf**<TAB>

Process IDs

Fuzzy completion for PIDs is provided for kill command. In this case there is no trigger sequence, just press tab key after kill command.

# Can select multiple processes with <TAB> or <Shift-TAB> keys
kill -9 <TAB>

Host names

For ssh and telnet commands, fuzzy completion for host names is provided. The names are extracted from /etc/hosts and ~/.ssh/config.

ssh **<TAB>
telnet **<TAB>

Environment variables / Aliases

unset **<TAB>
export **<TAB>
unalias **<TAB>


# Use ~~ as the trigger sequence instead of the default **

# Options to fzf command
export FZF_COMPLETION_OPTS='+c -x'

# Use fd ( instead of the default find
# command for listing path candidates.
# - The first argument to the function ($1) is the base path to start traversal
# - See the source code (completion.{bash,zsh}) for the details.
_fzf_compgen_path() {
  fd --hidden --follow --exclude ".git" . "$1"

# Use fd to generate the list for directory completion
_fzf_compgen_dir() {
  fd --type d --hidden --follow --exclude ".git" . "$1"

Supported commands

On bash, fuzzy completion is enabled only for a predefined set of commands (complete | grep _fzf to see the list). But you can enable it for other commands as well like follows.

complete -F _fzf_path_completion -o default -o bashdefault ag
complete -F _fzf_dir_completion -o default -o bashdefault tree

Vim plugin


Advanced topics


fzf is fast, and is getting even faster. Performance should not be a problem in most use cases. However, you might want to be aware of the options that affect the performance.

  • --ansi tells fzf to extract and parse ANSI color codes in the input and it makes the initial scanning slower. So it's not recommended that you add it to your $FZF_DEFAULT_OPTS.
  • --nth makes fzf slower as fzf has to tokenize each line.
  • --with-nth makes fzf slower as fzf has to tokenize and reassemble each line.
  • If you absolutely need better performance, you can consider using --algo=v1 (the default being v2) to make fzf use faster greedy algorithm. However, this algorithm is not guaranteed to find the optimal ordering of the matches and is not recommended.

Executing external programs

You can set up key bindings for starting external processes without leaving fzf (execute, execute-silent).

# Press F1 to open the file with less without leaving fzf
# Press CTRL-Y to copy the line to clipboard and aborts fzf (requires pbcopy)
fzf --bind 'f1:execute(less -f {}),ctrl-y:execute-silent(echo {} | pbcopy)+abort'

See KEY BINDINGS section of the man page for details.

Preview window

When --preview option is set, fzf automatically starts external process with the current line as the argument and shows the result in the split window.

# {} is replaced to the single-quoted string of the focused line
fzf --preview 'cat {}'

Since preview window is updated only after the process is complete, it's important that the command finishes quickly.

# Use head instead of cat so that the command doesn't take too long to finish
fzf --preview 'head -100 {}'

Preview window supports ANSI colors, so you can use programs that syntax-highlights the content of a file.

# Try highlight, coderay, rougify in turn, then fall back to cat
fzf --preview '[[ $(file --mime {}) =~ binary ]] &&
                 echo {} is a binary file ||
                 (highlight -O ansi -l {} ||
                  coderay {} ||
                  rougify {} ||
                  cat {}) 2> /dev/null | head -500'

You can customize the size and position of the preview window using --preview-window option. For example,

fzf --height 40% --reverse --preview 'file {}' --preview-window down:1

For more advanced examples, see Key bindings for git with fzf.


Respecting .gitignore

You can use fd, ripgrep, or the silver searcher instead of the default find command to traverse the file system while respecting .gitignore.

# Feed the output of fd into fzf
fd --type f | fzf

# Setting fd as the default source for fzf
export FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND='fd --type f'

# Now fzf (w/o pipe) will use fd instead of find

# To apply the command to CTRL-T as well

If you want the command to follow symbolic links, and don't want it to exclude hidden files, use the following command:

export FZF_DEFAULT_COMMAND='fd --type f --hidden --follow --exclude .git'

git ls-tree for fast traversal

If you're running fzf in a large git repository, git ls-tree can boost up the speed of the traversal.

  (git ls-tree -r --name-only HEAD ||
   find . -path "*/\.*" -prune -o -type f -print -o -type l -print |
      sed s/^..//) 2> /dev/null'

Fish shell

Fish shell before version 2.6.0 doesn't allow reading from STDIN in command substitution, which means simple vim (fzf) doesn't work as expected. The workaround for fish 2.5.0 and earlier is to use the read fish command:

fzf | read -l result; and vim $result

or, for multiple results:

fzf -m | while read -l r; set result $result $r; end; and vim $result

The globbing system is different in fish and thus ** completion will not work. However, the CTRL-T command will use the last token on the commandline as the root folder for the recursive search. For instance, hitting CTRL-T at the end of the following commandline

ls /var/

will list all files and folders under /var/.

When using a custom FZF_CTRL_T_COMMAND, use the unexpanded $dir variable to make use of this feature. $dir defaults to . when the last token is not a valid directory. Example:

set -g FZF_CTRL_T_COMMAND "command find -L \$dir -type f 2> /dev/null | sed '1d; s#^\./##'"


The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2017 Junegunn Choi