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Z(1) User Commands Z(1)
z - jump around
z [-h] [-l] [-r] [-t] [regex1 regex2 ... regexn]
bash, zsh
Tracks your most used directories, based on 'frecency'.
After a short learning phase, z will take you to the most 'frecent'
directory that matches ALL of the regexes given on the command line.
-h show a brief help message
-l list only
-r match by rank only
-t match by recent access only
z foo cd to most frecent dir matching foo
z foo bar cd to most frecent dir matching foo and bar
z -r foo cd to highest ranked dir matching foo
z -t foo cd to most recently accessed dir matching foo
z -l foo list all dirs matching foo (by frecency)
Set $_Z_CMD in .bashrc/.zshrc to change the command (default z).
Set $_Z_DATA to change the datafile (default $HOME/.z).
Set $_Z_NO_RESOLVE_SYMLINKS to prevent symlink resolution.
Set $_Z_NO_PROMPT_COMMAND if you're handling PROMPT_COMMAND yourself.
(These settings should go before the lines below.)
Put something like this in your $HOME/.bashrc:
. /path/to/
Put something like this in your $HOME/.zshrc:
. /path/to/
function precmd () {
_z --add "$(pwd -P)"
cd around for a while to build up the db.
Install the provided man page z.1 somewhere like /usr/local/man/man1.
The rank of directories maintained by z undergoes aging based on a sim‐
ple formula. The rank of each entry is incremented every time it is
accessed. When the sum of ranks is greater than 1000, all ranks are
multiplied by 0.9. Entries with a rank lower than 1 are forgotten.
Frecency is a portmantaeu of 'recent' and 'frequency'. It is a weighted
rank that depends on how often and how recently something occured. As
far as I know, Mozilla came up with the term.
To z, a directory that has low ranking but has been accessed recently
will quickly have higher rank than a directory accessed frequently a
long time ago.
Frecency is determined at runtime.
When multiple directories match all queries, and they all have a common
prefix, z will cd to the shortest matching directory, without regard to
priority. This has been in effect, if undocumented, for quite some
time, but should probably be configurable or reconsidered.
Tab Completion
z supports tab completion. After any number of arguments, press TAB to
complete on directories that match each argument. Due to limitations of
the completion implementations, only the last argument will be com‐
pleted in the shell.
Internally, z decides you've requested a completion if the last argu‐
ment passed is an absolute path to an existing directory. This may
cause unexpected behavior if the last argument to z begins with /.
A function _z() is defined.
An alias $_Z_CMD='_z 2>&1' is defined. If not set, $_Z_CMD defaults to
The environment variable $_Z_DATA can be used to control the datafile
location. If it is not defined, the location defaults to $HOME/.z.
The environment variable $_Z_NO_RESOLVE_SYMLINKS can be set to prevent
resolving of symlinks. If it is not set, symbolic links will be
resolved when added to the datafile.
In bash, z uses the PROMPT_COMMAND environment variable to maintain its
database. Specifically it prepends:
_z --add "$(pwd -P 2>/dev/null)" 2>/dev/null;
to any existing PROMPT_COMMAND. zsh users need to manually set precmd()
as described in the installation instructions.
The environment variable $_Z_NO_PROMPT_COMMAND can be set if you want
to handle PROMPT_COMMAND yourself.
Data is stored in $HOME/.z. This can be overridden by setting the
$_Z_DATA environment variable.
A man page (z.1) is provided.
regex(7), cdargs, pushd, popd, autojump, cdargs
Please file bugs at
z February 2011 Z(1)
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