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Get identifiers, names, paths, URLs and words from the previous command output and use them for the next command in xonsh.

Save time. Forget about using mouse, touchpad or trackball to get any words from output to the next command. Secure. The xontrib-output-search is not writing any output on the hard disk. Only latest not empty output stored in the memory. It works the same way as xonsh shell and the security level is the same. Universal. Forget about searching autocomplete plugins for every app you use and get the identifiers from the output.

If you like the idea click ⭐ on the repo and and tweet.


xpip install -U xontrib-output-search

Before usage

After xonsh release 0.10.0 (4283) you should set $XONSH_CAPTURE_ALWAYS=True in your ~/.xonshrc to make output capturable. This approach has issues and we decided that the best solution for output search is to use the terminal window managers and we support tmux. In this case the output will be captured from the screen.

So you have three ways to use output search:

  • Recommended. Use tmux to run xonsh and use output search.
  • Not recommended. Set $XONSH_CAPTURE_ALWAYS=True and be ready some tools will freeze because of capturing e.g. git config --help.
  • Alternative. You can add support any terminal emulator or terminal window manager like tmux that can capture the content of the terminal. PR is welcome!


The recommended way as described above:

alias tx="tmux new-session xonsh ';' set -g status off"  # add alias to run xonsh in tmux without bottom status bar
tx  # run xonsh in tmux
xontrib load output_search

After loading you can select tokens from latest not empty output:

  • Windows/Linux: Press Alt + f hotkeys after getting the output of the previous command.
  • Mac: Press Control + f hotkeys after getting the output of the previous command.
  • Any OS: Type f__ or f__<beginning of the word you want> and press Tab.

If you use this key combination for another function and your muscle memory is strong just change the key combination before loading the xontrib:

# Alt+i combination. Meaning for prompt-toolkit: @bindings.add('escape', 'i')
xontrib load output_search
# This approach is recommended for Mac users because `c-<key>` is represented 
# the Control key that has less intersections with other Mac hotkeys. 
# Control+g combination. Meaning for prompt-toolkit: @bindings.add('c-g')
xontrib load output_search
# Right+Left combination. Meaning for prompt-toolkit: @bindings.add('right', 'left')
$XONTRIB_OUTPUT_SEARCH_KEY='left'  # the text placeholder will be `left__`
xontrib load output_search

In tmux there is the tmux fallback in case the output of last cmd is not available.

Use cases

Get URL from output

echo "Try"
# Try
git clone xx<Alt+F>
git clone

Get key or value from JSON, Python dict and JavaScript object

echo '{"Try": "xontrib-output-search"}'
# {"Try": "xontrib-output-search"}
echo I should try se<Alt+F>
echo I should try xontrib-output-search

Get the path from environment

env | grep ^PATH=
# PATH=/one/two:/three/four
ls fo<Alt+F>
ls /three/four  

Complete the complex prefix

Get the URL from previous output after typing git+:

echo "Try"
# Try

pip install git+xo<Alt+F>
pip install git+

Get the port number from previous output while typing the URL:

echo "The port number is 4242"
# The port number is 4242


Get arguments from command help

lolcat -h
# ...
lolcat --s<Alt+F>
lolcat --seed=SEED

Use tokenize-output as a tool

$(echo 'Hello "world"!' | tokenize-output -p).split()
# ['Hello', 'world']


The xontrib-output-search is using tokenize-output for tokenizing.

Checking that output_search xontrib has been loaded:

xontrib list output_search
# output_search  installed  loaded

completer list | grep output_search
# xontrib_output_search

Known issues

Alt+F may not working in PyCharm terminal

Workaround: f__ + Tab.

Alt+F in the readline is to move forward

Workaround: set $XONTRIB_OUTPUT_SEARCH_KEY='i' before xontrib load output_search.

Not working after xonsh 0.10.0 (4283)

Workaround: Check XONSH_CAPTURE_ALWAYS environment variable to bring the capturing of the output back i.e. $XONSH_CAPTURE_ALWAYS=True.

cat file is not captured (xonsh/issues/3744)

Workaround: cat file | head or cat file | grep text.

The readline shell type was not tested

We're using the xonsh recommended prompt-toolkit shell type to test the output search xontrib. There could be the issues in the readline shell type. PRs are welcome!