Generate possible completion matches for word according to
the options, which may be any option accepted by the
builtin with the exception of -p and -r, and write
the matches to the standard output.
When using the -F or -C options, the various shell variables
set by the programmable completion facilities, while available, will not
have useful values.
The matches will be generated in the same way as if the programmable
completion code had generated them directly from a completion specification
with the same flags.
If word is specified, only those completions matching word
will be displayed.
The return value is true unless an invalid option is supplied, or no
matches were generated.
complete [-abcdefgjksuv] [-o comp-option
] [-A action
] [-G globpat
] [-W wordlist
] [-S suffix
] [-X filterpat
] [-F function
complete -pr [name
Specify how arguments to each name should be completed.
If the -p option is supplied, or if no options are supplied, existing
completion specifications are printed in a way that allows them to be
reused as input.
The -r option removes a completion specification for
each name, or, if no names are supplied, all
The process of applying these completion specifications when word completion
is attempted is described above (see Programmable Completion).
Other options, if specified, have the following meanings.
The arguments to the -G, -W, and -X options
(and, if necessary, the -P and -S options)
should be quoted to protect them from expansion before the
complete builtin is invoked.
- The comp-option controls several aspects of the compspec's behavior
beyond the simple generation of completions.
comp-option may be one of:
- Perform the rest of the default Bash completions if the compspec
generates no matches.
- Use Readline's default filename completion if the compspec generates
- Perform directory name completion if the compspec generates no matches.
- Tell Readline that the compspec generates filenames, so it can perform any
filename-specific processing (like adding a slash to directory names or
suppressing trailing spaces). This option is intended to be used with
shell functions specified with -F.
- Tell Readline not to append a space (the default) to words completed at
the end of the line.
- After any matches defined by the compspec are generated,
directory name completion is attempted and any
matches are added to the results of the other actions.
- The action may be one of the following to generate a list of possible
- Alias names. May also be specified as -a.
- Array variable names.
- Readline key binding names (see Bindable Readline Commands).
- Names of shell builtin commands. May also be specified as -b.
- Command names. May also be specified as -c.
- Directory names. May also be specified as -d.
- Names of disabled shell builtins.
- Names of enabled shell builtins.
- Names of exported shell variables. May also be specified as -e.
- File names. May also be specified as -f.
- Names of shell functions.
- Group names. May also be specified as -g.
- Help topics as accepted by the
help builtin (see Bash Builtins).
- Hostnames, as taken from the file specified by the
HOSTFILE shell variable (see Bash Variables).
- Job names, if job control is active. May also be specified as -j.
- Shell reserved words. May also be specified as -k.
- Names of running jobs, if job control is active.
- Service names. May also be specified as -s.
- Valid arguments for the -o option to the
(see The Set Builtin).
- Shell option names as accepted by the
(see Bash Builtins).
- Signal names.
- Names of stopped jobs, if job control is active.
- User names. May also be specified as -u.
- Names of all shell variables. May also be specified as -v.
- The filename expansion pattern globpat is expanded to generate
the possible completions.
- The wordlist is split using the characters in the
IFS special variable as delimiters, and each resultant word
The possible completions are the members of the resultant list which
match the word being completed.
- command is executed in a subshell environment, and its output is
used as the possible completions.
- The shell function function is executed in the current shell
When it finishes, the possible completions are retrieved from the value
of the COMPREPLY array variable.
- filterpat is a pattern as used for filename expansion.
It is applied to the list of possible completions generated by the
preceding options and arguments, and each completion matching
filterpat is removed from the list.
A leading ‘!’ in filterpat negates the pattern; in this
case, any completion not matching filterpat is removed.
- prefix is added at the beginning of each possible completion
after all other options have been applied.
- suffix is appended to each possible completion
after all other options have been applied.
The return value is true unless an invalid option is supplied, an option
other than -p or -r is supplied without a name
argument, an attempt is made to remove a completion specification for
a name for which no specification exists, or
an error occurs adding a completion specification.