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ZSH(1)                                                                  ZSH(1)

       zsh - the Z shell

       Because zsh contains many features, the zsh manual has been split into a number of sections:

       zsh          Zsh overview (this section)
       zshroadmap   Informal introduction to the manual
       zshmisc      Anything not fitting into the other sections
       zshexpn      Zsh command and parameter expansion
       zshparam     Zsh parameters
       zshoptions   Zsh options
       zshbuiltins  Zsh built-in functions
       zshzle       Zsh command line editing
       zshcompwid   Zsh completion widgets
       zshcompsys   Zsh completion system
       zshcompctl   Zsh completion control
       zshmodules   Zsh loadable modules
       zshcalsys    Zsh built-in calendar functions
       zshtcpsys    Zsh built-in TCP functions
       zshzftpsys   Zsh built-in FTP client
       zshcontrib   Additional zsh functions and utilities
       zshall       Meta-man page containing all of the above

       Zsh  is  a  UNIX command interpreter (shell) usable as an interactive login shell and as a shell script command
       processor.  Of the standard shells, zsh most closely resembles ksh but includes  many  enhancements.   Zsh  has
       command  line  editing,  builtin  spelling  correction,  programmable command completion, shell functions (with
       autoloading), a history mechanism, and a host of other features.

       Zsh was originally written by Paul Falstad <>.  Zsh is now maintained by the members of the zsh-work-
       ers  mailing  list  <>.   The  development  is  currently  coordinated  by  Peter Stephenson
       <>.  The coordinator can be contacted at <>, but matters  relating  to  the  code
       should generally go to the mailing list.

       Zsh  is  available  from the following anonymous FTP sites.  These mirror sites are kept frequently up to date.
       The sites marked with (H) may be mirroring instead of the primary site.

       Primary site
















       The up-to-date source code is available via  anonymous  CVS  and  Git  from  Sourceforge.   See  http://source-  for  details.   A summary of instructions for the CVS and Git archives can be found at

       Zsh has 3 mailing lists:

              Announcements about releases, major changes in the shell and the monthly posting of the Zsh FAQ.   (mod-

              User discussions.

              Hacking, development, bug reports and patches.

       To subscribe or unsubscribe, send mail to the associated administrative address for the mailing list.


       YOU  ONLY  NEED TO JOIN ONE OF THE MAILING LISTS AS THEY ARE NESTED.  All submissions to zsh-announce are auto-
       matically forwarded to zsh-users.  All submissions to zsh-users are automatically forwarded to zsh-workers.

       If you have problems subscribing/unsubscribing to any of the mailing lists, send mail to  <>.
       The mailing lists are maintained by Karsten Thygesen <>.

       The  mailing  lists  are  archived; the archives can be accessed via the administrative addresses listed above.
       There   is   also   a   hypertext   archive,   maintained   by   Geoff   Wing   <>,   available   at

       Zsh  has a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), maintained by Peter Stephenson <>.  It is regu-
       larly posted to the newsgroup and the zsh-announce mailing list.  The  latest  version  can  be
       found  at any of the Zsh FTP sites, or at  The contact address for FAQ-related matters
       is <>.

       Zsh has a web  page  which  is  located  at   This  is  maintained  by  Karsten  Thygesen
       <>, of SunSITE Denmark.  The contact address for web-related matters is <>.

       A  userguide is currently in preparation.  It is intended to complement the manual, with explanations and hints
       on issues where the manual can be cabbalistic, hierographic, or downright mystifying  (for  example,  the  word
       'hierographic'  does  not  exist).  It can be viewed in its current state at
       At the time of writing, chapters dealing with startup files and their contents and the  new  completion  system
       were essentially complete.

       A 'wiki' website for zsh has been created at  This is a site which can be added to and
       modified directly by users without any special permission.  You can add your own zsh tips and configurations.

       The following flags are interpreted by the shell when invoked to determine where the shell will  read  commands

       -c     Take  the first argument as a command to execute, rather than reading commands from a script or standard
              input.  If any further arguments are given, the first one is assigned to $0, rather than being used as a
              positional parameter.

       -i     Force shell to be interactive.  It is still possible to specify a script to execute.

       -s     Force  shell to read commands from the standard input.  If the -s flag is not present and an argument is
              given, the first argument is taken to be the pathname of a script to execute.

       If there are any remaining arguments after option processing, and neither of the options -c or -s was supplied,
       the  first  argument  is  taken  as the file name of a script containing shell commands to be executed.  If the
       option PATH_SCRIPT is set, and the file name does not contain a directory path (i.e. there is  no  '/'  in  the
       name),  first  the  current directory and then the command path given by the variable PATH are searched for the
       script.  If the option is not set or the file name contains a '/' it is used directly.

       After the first one or two arguments have been appropriated as described above,  the  remaining  arguments  are
       assigned to the positional parameters.

       For further options, which are common to invocation and the set builtin, see zshoptions(1).

       Options may be specified by name using the -o option.  -o acts like a single-letter option, but takes a follow-
       ing string as the option name.  For example,

              zsh -x -o shwordsplit scr

       runs the script scr, setting the XTRACE option by the corresponding letter '-x' and the SH_WORD_SPLIT option by
       name.   Options  may be turned off by name by using +o instead of -o.  -o can be stacked up with preceding sin-
       gle-letter options, so for example '-xo shwordsplit' or '-xoshwordsplit' is equivalent to '-x -o  shwordsplit'.

       Options  may also be specified by name in GNU long option style, '--option-name'.  When this is done, '-' char-
       acters in the option name are permitted: they are translated into '_', and thus ignored.  So, for example, 'zsh
       --sh-word-split'  invokes zsh with the SH_WORD_SPLIT option turned on.  Like other option syntaxes, options can
       be  turned  off  by  replacing  the  initial  '-'  with  a  '+';  thus  '+-sh-word-split'  is   equivalent   to
       '--no-sh-word-split'.   Unlike  other  option syntaxes, GNU-style long options cannot be stacked with any other
       options, so for example '-x-shwordsplit' is an error, rather than being treated like '-x --shwordsplit'.

       The special GNU-style option '--version' is handled; it sends to standard output the shell's  version  informa-
       tion,  then  exits  successfully.  '--help' is also handled; it sends to standard output a list of options that
       can be used when invoking the shell, then exits successfully.

       Option processing may be finished, allowing following arguments that start with '-' or '+'  to  be  treated  as
       normal  arguments,  in two ways.  Firstly, a lone '-' (or '+') as an argument by itself ends option processing.
       Secondly, a special option '--' (or '+-'), which may be specified on its  own  (which  is  the  standard  POSIX
       usage) or may be stacked with preceding options (so '-x-' is equivalent to '-x --').  Options are not permitted
       to be stacked after '--' (so '-x-f' is an error), but note the GNU-style option  form  discussed  above,  where
       '--shwordsplit' is permitted and does not end option processing.

       Except  when  the  sh/ksh  emulation single-letter options are in effect, the option '-b' (or '+b') ends option
       processing.  '-b' is like '--', except that further single-letter options can be stacked  after  the  '-b'  and
       will take effect as normal.

       Zsh  tries  to  emulate sh or ksh when it is invoked as sh or ksh respectively; more precisely, it looks at the
       first letter of the  name  by  which  it  was  invoked,  excluding  any  initial  'r'  (assumed  to  stand  for
       'restricted'),  and if that is 'b', 's' or 'k' it will emulate sh or ksh.  Furthermore, if invoked as su (which
       happens on certain systems when the shell is executed by the su command), the shell will try to find an  alter-
       native name from the SHELL environment variable and perform emulation based on that.

       In  sh  and  ksh compatibility modes the following parameters are not special and not initialized by the shell:
       ARGC, argv, cdpath, fignore, fpath, HISTCHARS, mailpath,  MANPATH,  manpath,  path,  prompt,  PROMPT,  PROMPT2,
       PROMPT3, PROMPT4, psvar, status, watch.

       The  usual  zsh  startup/shutdown  scripts  are  not  executed.   Login  shells source /etc/profile followed by
       $HOME/.profile.  If the ENV environment variable is set on  invocation,  $ENV  is  sourced  after  the  profile
       scripts.   The value of ENV is subjected to parameter expansion, command substitution, and arithmetic expansion
       before being interpreted as a pathname.  Note that the PRIVILEGED option also affects the execution of  startup

       The  following  options are set if the shell is invoked as sh or ksh: NO_BAD_PATTERN, NO_BANG_HIST, NO_BG_NICE,
       SH_OPTION_LETTERS, SH_WORD_SPLIT.  Additionally the BSD_ECHO and  IGNORE_BRACES  options  are  set  if  zsh  is
       options are set if zsh is invoked as ksh.

       When the basename of the command used to invoke zsh starts with the letter 'r' or the '-r' command line  option
       is supplied at invocation, the shell becomes restricted.  Emulation mode is determined after stripping the let-
       ter 'r' from the invocation name.  The following are disabled in restricted mode:

       ?      changing directories with the cd builtin

       ?      changing or unsetting the PATH, path, MODULE_PATH, module_path, SHELL, HISTFILE,  HISTSIZE,  GID,  EGID,

       ?      specifying command names containing /

       ?      specifying command pathnames using hash

       ?      redirecting output to files

       ?      using the exec builtin command to replace the shell with another command

       ?      using jobs -Z to overwrite the shell process' argument and environment space

       ?      using the ARGV0 parameter to override argv[0] for external commands

       ?      turning off restricted mode with set +r or unsetopt RESTRICTED

       These  restrictions  are  enforced after processing the startup files.  The startup files should set up PATH to
       point to a directory of commands which can be safely invoked in the restricted environment.  They may also  add
       further restrictions by disabling selected builtins.

       Restricted  mode can also be activated any time by setting the RESTRICTED option.  This immediately enables all
       the restrictions described above even if the shell still has not processed all startup files.

       Commands are first read from /etc/zshenv; this cannot be overridden.  Subsequent behaviour is modified  by  the
       RCS  and GLOBAL_RCS options; the former affects all startup files, while the second only affects global startup
       files (those shown here with an path starting with a /).  If one of the options is unset at any point, any sub-
       sequent startup file(s) of the corresponding type will not be read.  It is also possible for a file in $ZDOTDIR
       to re-enable GLOBAL_RCS. Both RCS and GLOBAL_RCS are set by default.

       Commands are then read from $ZDOTDIR/.zshenv.  If the shell is a login shell, commands are read from /etc/zpro-
       file  and  then  $ZDOTDIR/.zprofile.   Then, if the shell is interactive, commands are read from /etc/zshrc and
       then $ZDOTDIR/.zshrc.  Finally, if the shell is a login shell, /etc/zlogin and $ZDOTDIR/.zlogin are read.

       When a login shell exits, the files $ZDOTDIR/.zlogout and then /etc/zlogout are read.  This happens with either
       an explicit exit via the exit or logout commands, or an implicit exit by reading end-of-file from the terminal.
       However, if the shell terminates due to exec'ing another process, the logout files are  not  read.   These  are
       also  affected  by the RCS and GLOBAL_RCS options.  Note also that the RCS option affects the saving of history
       files, i.e. if RCS is unset when the shell exits, no history file will be saved.

       If ZDOTDIR is unset, HOME is used instead.  Files listed above as being in /etc may be  in  another  directory,
       depending on the installation.

       As  /etc/zshenv is run for all instances of zsh, it is important that it be kept as small as possible.  In par-
       ticular, it is a good idea to put code that does not need to be run for every single shell behind a test of the
       form 'if [[ -o rcs ]]; then ...' so that it will not be executed when zsh is invoked with the '-f' option.

       Any  of  these files may be pre-compiled with the zcompile builtin command (see zshbuiltins(1)).  If a compiled
       file exists (named for the original file plus the .zwc extension) and it is newer than the original  file,  the
       compiled file will be used instead.

       ${TMPPREFIX}*   (default is /tmp/zsh*)
       /etc/zlogout    (installation-specific - /etc is the default)

       sh(1),  csh(1),  tcsh(1),  rc(1), bash(1), ksh(1), zshbuiltins(1), zshcompwid(1), zshcompsys(1), zshcompctl(1),
       zshexpn(1), zshmisc(1), zshmodules(1), zshoptions(1), zshparam(1), zshzle(1)

       IEEE Standard for information Technology - Portable Operating System Interface (POSIX)  -  Part  2:  Shell  and
       Utilities, IEEE Inc, 1993, ISBN 1-55937-255-9.

zsh 4.3.11                     December 20, 2010                        ZSH(1)