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Sep 22, 2018



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fzf.kak is a plugin for Kakoune editor, that brings integration with fzf tool. This plugin is being tested against Kakoune master branch. fzf.kak also supports skim, which can be used via fzf_implementation option.



With plug.kak (recommended)

Recommended way to install is to use plug.kak plugin manager. You can install fzf.kak by adding this to your kakrc:

plug "andreyorst/fzf.kak"

Then reload Kakoune config or restart Kakoune and run :plug-install. Now you can proceed to the configuration section.

Without plugin manager

This plugin consists of several parts which are "modules", that provide different functions to plugin. There's central module that must be loaded before any other module, named fzf.kak, so in order to properly load fzf.kak plugin, you need to source it in your kakrc.

source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/fzf.kak" # loading base fzf module

This will load base fzf module, but It can't do anything on it's own. You can load only needed modules, to keep your configuration rather simple, or load every module if you need all plugin abilities:

source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/fzf-file.kak"   # fzf file chooser
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/fzf-buffer.kak" # switching buffers with fzf
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/fzf-search.kak" # search within file contents
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/fzf-cd.kak"     # change server's working directory
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/fzf-ctags.kak"  # search for tag in your project ctags file

The same principle is applied to handling different version control systems. You need a base module for fzf, called fzf-vcs.kak and its sub-modules for each VCS. There are plenty of version control systems, so modules come in handy.

source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/fzf-vcs.kak" # VCS base module

So if you never work with, say, GNU Bazaar, or Mercurial you can remove them from your configuration.

source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/VCS/fzf-bzr.kak" # GNU Bazaar support
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/VCS/fzf-git.kak" # Git support module
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/VCS/fzf-hg.kak"  # Mercurial VCS
source "/path/to/fzf.kak/rc/modules/VCS/fzf-svn.kak" # Subversion module

Order of sourcing files should not matter, but it is preferable to source main script first, and then the modules. This may look complex, but it makes plugin more versatile. And plugin managers, like plug.kak for example, just does all those steps for you.

By the way, this structure makes it easy to extend plugin with new modules, and you can add modules on your own!


There's no default key binding to invoke fzf, but fzf.kak provides a fzf-mode command that can be mapped to preferred key. You can set your own mapping to invoke fzf-mode:

map global normal <c-p> ': fzf-mode<ret>'

Note that space between colon and command is intentional and will strip this command from command history.

Each fzf module defines mnemonic mapping, like f for opening files, t for tags, s for search, and so on. Available mappings:

  • b - Select buffer.
  • c - Switch server's working directory.
  • f - Search for file and open it.
  • v - Edit file in version control system tree.
  • Alt+v - Explicitly select which VCS command to run.
  • s - Search over buffer contents and jump to result line.
  • t - Browse ctags tags.
  • Alt+t - Select tag kind filter on per language basis.
  • g - Interactive grep.
  • p - Project selector.
  • Alt+p - Project related commands.

So for example pressing Ctrl+p f will open fzf window, showing you all files from current directory recursively.

When Kakoune is being run in Tmux, fzf.kak will use bottom split to display fzf. Additional keybindings are available to open file in vertical or horizontal split. When Kakoune is used in plain terminal, the terminal command is being used to create new windows.


fzf.kak features a lot of settings via options that can be altered to change how fzf.kak behaves. All settings belong to fzf module, so in order to change variable values use defer "fzf %{ ... }" if you're using plug.kak, and if not, use hook global ModuleLoaded fzf %{ ... }, or simply require-module fzf before configuring options. Same goes for fzf_vcs module.

From now on I assume that you're using one of the methods listed above for all configurations below.

Default query

fzf.kak by default will use main selection as default query for fzf, if the selection more than 1 character long (because cursor is simply 1-char selection). You can disable this behavior by setting fzf_use_main_selection to false.


If you're using Tmux, you do not have to worry about windowing, since fzf.kak automatically creates all needed Tmux splits and panes for you. However in case you're not using Tmux, fzf.kak uses fzf_terminal_command option to call windowing command to create new windows. By default it is set to use terminal alias: terminal kak -c %val{session} -e "%arg{@}", but some terminals can provide other aliases or commands, like terminal-tab in Kitty. You may want to edit this variable accordingly to your personal preferences.


You can define what keys to use in fzf window via these options:

  • fzf_window_map - mapping to perform an action in new window,
  • fzf_vertical_map - mapping to perform an action in new vertical split (Tmux),
  • fzf_horizontal_map - mapping to perform an action in new horizontal split.

These options should be set to work with fzf --expect parameter, so check out fzf documentation on this.

File command

You can configure what command to use to search for files, and it's arguments. Supported tools are GNU Find, The Silver Searcher, ripgrep, fd. GNU find is used by default, but you can switch to another one. There are some default values for those, so you can just state the name of the tool:

set-option global fzf_file_command 'rg' # 'ag', 'fd', or 'find'

Or if you don't like default arguments, which for find are find -type f, and would like to disable searching in, say .svn and .git directories you can set option like this:

set-option global fzf_file_command "find . \( -path '*/.svn*' -o -path '*/.git*' \) -prune -o -type f -print"

This can give you the idea of how this plugin can be customized. Most of fzf.kak modules provide settings for their commands, so you should check all fzf-optionname available in prompt mode. All such options are well documented, so listing those in readme would make it unnecessary long.


fzf.kak tries to automatically detect where to show preview window, depending on aspect ratio of new terminal window. By default if the doubled height is bigger than the width, preview occupies upper 60% of space. If height is smaller than the width, preview is shown at the right side.

You can configure the amount of space for preview window with these options: fzf_preview_height and fzf_preview_width.

When using fzf.kak inside tmux, bottom pane is used for all fzf commands, and preview window is displayed on the right side. When preview is turned on, height of tmux split is increased to provide more space. You can configure split height with fzf_preview_tmux_height

Amount of lines in preview window can be changed with fzf_preview_lines option.

If you don't want preview feature you can disable it by setting fzf_preview option to false.

Highlighting preview window

You also can highlight contents of the file displayed within preview window. To do so, you can specify which highlighter to use with fzf_highlight_command option. Supported highlighters are:

Although other tools are not supported by the script, then should work fine as long as they work with fzf.


This script supports these version control systems: Git, Subversion, GNU Bazaar, and Mercurial. By default v mapping from fzf mode will detect your version control system and open fzf window for you. If you wish to explicitly use some particular VCS command, you can use Alt+v mapping, which includes all supported VCS shortcuts.

You also able to set parameters to VCS command to use to provide project files. Supported options:

  • fzf_git_command
  • fzf_svn_command
  • fzf_bzr_command
  • fzf_hg_command

Other VCS are not supported officially. Open a feature request if you want some unsupported VCS to be included. You also can change one of options to contain your VCS command, and use this command explicitly from VCS sub-mode.


When using inside tmux, fzf will use bottom split. Height of this split can be changed with fzf_tmux_height option. fzf_tmux_height_file_preview option is used to control height of the split when you do file searching with file-preview turned on.


fzf.kak can store and load your projects. For that It creates a hidden file in your %val{config} called .fzf-projects. You can change the location of this file and its name with fzf_project_file option. You also can choose which method to use when storing projects. You can either convert your $HOME to ~/ or use plain $HOME in your path. This behavior is configured with fzf_project_use_tilda option, which accepts true and false values.

fzf command

fzf command can be used from prompt mode and for scripting. It supports these arguments:

  • -kak-cmd: A Kakoune command that is applied to fzf resulting value, e.g. edit -existing, change-directory, e.t.c.
  • -multiple-cmd: A Kakoune command that is applied when multiple items selected to every item but the first one.
  • -items-cmd: A command that is used as a pipe to provide list of values to fzf. For example, if we want to pass list of all files recursively in current directory, we would use -items-cmd %{find .} which will be piped to fzf tool.
  • -fzf-impl: Override fzf implementation variable. Can be used if command needs to provide a different arguments to fzf. See sk-grep.kak as example.
  • -fzf-args: Additional flags for fzf program.
  • -preview-cmd: A preview command. Can be used to override default preview handling.
  • -preview: If specified, command will ask for preview.
  • -filter: A pipe which will be applied to result provided by fzf. For example, if we are returning such line 3 hello, world! from fzf, and we are interested only in the first field which is 3, we can use -filter %{cut -f 1}. Basically everything what fzf returns is piped to this filter command. See fzf-search.kak as example.
  • -post-action: Extra commands that are preformed after -kak-cmd command.


If you want to contribute to fzf.kak by adding a module, you can submit one by providing a pull request, or just open a feature request and we'll see what can be done.

Writing a module

You can write a module for fzf.kak. To create one, simply define a function in separate file, located in rc/modules/, and named after the function. fzf.kak provides a general purpose command, that can be called with some Kakoune command as first parameter, and command that provides list of items for fzf as a second parameter. Third optional parameter is for defining extra arguments for fzf itself, like additional keybindings.

Overall module structure is:

  • Define a fzf-command command
  • Prepare list of items for fzf, or define an item command
  • call fzf command and pass needed arguments to it.

Of course modules can and will be more complex, since a good module checks if command for providing item list is available on user's machine, and supports various settings inside it. Feel free to look how existing modules are made.

External modules

Support for yank-ring.kak was externalized to separate plugin fzf-yank-ring.kak