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Z(1) User Commands Z(1)
z - jump around
z [-chlrtx] [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, in
For example, z foo bar would match /foo/bar but not /bar/foo.
-c restrict matches to subdirectories of the current directory
-e echo the best match, don't cd
-h show a brief help message
-l list only
-r match by rank only
-t match by recent access only
-x remove the current directory from the datafile
z foo cd to most frecent dir matching foo
z foo bar cd to most frecent dir matching foo, then 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)
Put something like this in your $HOME/.bashrc or $HOME/.zshrc:
. /path/to/
cd around for a while to build up the db.
Set $_Z_CMD to change the command name (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 to handle PROMPT_COMMAND/precmd your-
Set $_Z_EXCLUDE_DIRS to an array of directory trees to exclude.
Set $_Z_OWNER to allow usage when in 'sudo -s' mode.
(These settings should go in .bashrc/.zshrc before the line
added above.)
Install the provided man page z.1 somewhere in your MANPATH,
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 over 9000, all ranks are multiplied
by 0.99. Entries with a rank lower than 1 are forgotten.
Frecency is a portmanteau of 'recent' and 'frequency'. It is a weighted
rank that depends on how often and how recently something occurred. 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.
The contents of the variable $_Z_CMD is aliased to _z 2>&1. If not set,
$_Z_CMD defaults to z.
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 appends a command to the PROMPT_COMMAND environment variable
to maintain its database. In zsh, z appends a function _z_precmd to the
precmd_functions array.
The environment variable $_Z_NO_PROMPT_COMMAND can be set if you want
to handle PROMPT_COMMAND or precmd yourself.
The environment variable $_Z_EXCLUDE_DIRS can be set to an array of
directory trees to exclude from tracking. $HOME is always excluded.
Directories must be full paths without trailing slashes.
The environment variable $_Z_OWNER can be set to your username, to
allow usage of z when your sudo environment keeps $HOME set.
Data is stored in $HOME/.z. This can be overridden by setting the
$_Z_DATA environment variable. When initialized, z will raise an error
if this path is a directory, and not function correctly.
A man page (z.1) is provided.
regex(7), pushd, popd, autojump, cdargs
Please file bugs at
z January 2013 Z(1)