ZSH port of the FISH shell's history search 🐠
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README.md

zsh-history-substring-search

This is a clean-room implementation of the Fish shell's history search feature, where you can type in any part of any command from history and then press chosen keys, such as the UP and DOWN arrows, to cycle through matches.

Requirements

  • ZSH 4.3 or newer

Install

Using the Homebrew package manager:

brew install zsh-history-substring-search
echo 'source /usr/local/share/zsh-history-substring-search/zsh-history-substring-search.zsh' >> ~/.zshrc

Using Oh-my-zsh:

  1. Clone this repository in oh-my-zsh's plugins directory:

     git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-history-substring-search ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-history-substring-search
    
  2. Activate the plugin in ~/.zshrc:

     plugins=( [plugins...] zsh-history-substring-search)
    
  3. Source ~/.zshrc to take changes into account:

     source ~/.zshrc
    

Usage

  1. Load this script into your interactive ZSH session:

    % source zsh-history-substring-search.zsh
    

    If you want to use zsh-syntax-highlighting along with this script, then make sure that you load it before you load this script:

    % source zsh-syntax-highlighting.zsh
    % source zsh-history-substring-search.zsh
    
  2. Bind keyboard shortcuts to this script's functions.

    Users typically bind their UP and DOWN arrow keys to this script, thus:

    • Run cat -v in your favorite terminal emulator to observe key codes.      (NOTE: In some cases, cat -v shows the wrong key codes. If the key codes shown by cat -v don't work for you, press <C-v><UP> and <C-v><DOWN> at your ZSH command line prompt for correct key codes.)

    • Press the UP arrow key and observe what is printed in your terminal.

    • Press the DOWN arrow key and observe what is printed in your terminal.

    • Press the Control and C keys simultaneously to terminate the cat -v.

    • Use your observations from the previous steps to create key bindings. For example, if you observed ^[[A for UP and ^[[B for DOWN, then:

      bindkey '^[[A' history-substring-search-up
      bindkey '^[[B' history-substring-search-down
      

      You might also want to bind the Control-P/N keys for use in EMACS mode:

      bindkey -M emacs '^P' history-substring-search-up
      bindkey -M emacs '^N' history-substring-search-down
      

      You might also want to bind the k and j keys for use in VI mode:

      bindkey -M vicmd 'k' history-substring-search-up
      bindkey -M vicmd 'j' history-substring-search-down
      
  3. Type any part of any previous command and then:

    • Press the history-substring-search-up key, which was configured in step 2 above, to select the nearest command that (1) contains your query and (2) is also older than the current command in your command history.

    • Press the history-substring-search-down key, which was configured in step 2 above, to select the nearest command that (1) contains your query and (2) is also newer than the current command in your command history.

    • Press ^U the Control and U keys simultaneously to abort the search.

  4. If a matching command spans more than one line of text, press the LEFT arrow key to move the cursor away from the end of the command, and then:

    • Press the history-substring-search-up key, which was configured in step 2 above, to move the cursor to the line above the cursored line. When the cursor reaches the first line of the command, pressing the history-substring-search-up key again will cause this script to perform another search.

    • Press the history-substring-search-down key, which was configured in step 2 above, to move the cursor to the line below the cursored line. When the cursor reaches the last line of the command, pressing the history-substring-search-down key, which was configured in step 2 above, again will cause this script to perform another search.

Configuration

This script defines the following global variables. You may override their default values only after having loaded this script into your ZSH session.

  • HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_HIGHLIGHT_FOUND is a global variable that defines how the query should be highlighted inside a matching command. Its default value causes this script to highlight using bold, white text on a magenta background. See the "Character Highlighting" section in the zshzle(1) man page to learn about the kinds of values you may assign to this variable.

  • HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_HIGHLIGHT_NOT_FOUND is a global variable that defines how the query should be highlighted when no commands in the history match it. Its default value causes this script to highlight using bold, white text on a red background. See the "Character Highlighting" section in the zshzle(1) man page to learn about the kinds of values you may assign to this variable.

  • HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_GLOBBING_FLAGS is a global variable that defines how the command history will be searched for your query. Its default value causes this script to perform a case-insensitive search. See the "Globbing Flags" section in the zshexpn(1) man page to learn about the kinds of values you may assign to this variable.

  • HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_FUZZY is a global variable that defines how the command history will be searched for your query. If set to a non-empty value, causes this script to perform a fuzzy search by words, matching in given order e.g. ab c will match *ab*c*

  • HISTORY_SUBSTRING_SEARCH_ENSURE_UNIQUE is a global variable that defines whether all search results returned are unique. If set to a non-empty value, then only unique search results are presented. This behaviour is off by default. An alternative way to ensure that search results are unique is to use setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS. If this configuration variable is off and setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS is unset, then setopt HIST_FIND_NO_DUPS is still respected and it makes this script skip duplicate adjacent search results as you cycle through them, but this does not guarantee that search results are unique: if your search results were "Dog", "Dog", "HotDog", "Dog", then cycling them gives "Dog", "HotDog", "Dog". Notice that the "Dog" search result appeared twice as you cycled through them. If you wish to receive globally unique search results only once, then use this configuration variable, or use setopt HIST_IGNORE_ALL_DUPS.

History

  • September 2009: Peter Stephenson originally wrote this script and it published to the zsh-users mailing list.

  • January 2011: Guido van Steen (@guidovansteen) revised this script and released it under the 3-clause BSD license as part of fizsh, the Friendly Interactive ZSHell.

  • January 2011: Suraj N. Kurapati (@sunaku) extracted this script from fizsh 1.0.1, refactored it heavily, and finally repackaged it as an oh-my-zsh plugin and as an independently loadable ZSH script.

  • July 2011: Guido van Steen, Suraj N. Kurapati, and Sorin Ionescu (@sorin-ionescu) further developed it with Vincent Guerci (@vguerci).

  • March 2016: Geza Lore (@gezalore) greatly refactored it in pull request #55.