Tech Tips

Autocomplete in iTerm2

This is a really quick tip that could save you tons of time in iTerm2. If you use any auto-completion you know how important it is to your workflow. Personally, I rely heavily on omni and generic completion in Vim.

In Vim CTRL-N is the key combination I use after I start typing a word that I know exists somewhere else in the buffer. It pops open a menu where I can choose the match I want. For example, if I have a function called “agileadam_foo”, I can quickly retype that string by typing part of the string (e.g., agi) followed by CTRL-N. If it’s the only match it’ll complete the string, otherwise I can choose which string I want, or type another letter or two and try again. It all happens very quickly, and is almost always faster than typing the string in its entirety.

You can achieve the same functionality in iTerm2 without any special configuration. The built-in key combination is CMD-; (command + semicolon). Here’s the description of the feature from iTerm’s Highlights for New Users guide:

Any text that exists in a tab or its scrollback buffer can be autocompleted in that tab. To use autocomplete, type the beginning of a word and then press cmd-;. An autocomplete window opens showing the top 20 choices for words beginning what what you have entered. The list can be filtered by typing a subsequence. The filter can be reset by pressing backspace. If you make a selection and press return, it will be entered for you. If you make a selection and press tab, your autocomplete will be extended with the selection.

I had a [not-so-] brilliant idea of mapping, in the Keys preference pane for the app,  CTRL-N to Select Menu Item… » Open Autocomplete… so that it mimics Vim. Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it overrode the CTRL-N mapping in Vim. I guess I’ll stick to the default CMD-; for now.

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