Lesser known FZF tricks

junegunn/fzf is one of my absolute favorite terminal productivity tools.

It’s most common use is as a superpowered Ctrl+R (reverse isearch) to make finding and executing commands from your shell history fast and easy:

Using fzf to search through your shell history this way is pretty handy, but Ctrl+R isn’t the only thing fzf provides. Here’s some lesser known, but extremely useful keybindings that fzf ships with the default installation:

  1. Ctrl+T - bring up an fzf window to select a file or directory from the command line (relative to the current directory).
  2. **+<Tab> - similar to Ctrl+T, but lets you complete a partially typed path so that you can complete paths that are not in your current directory

    For example, if you’ve typed cd ~/some/dir/t** and then hit tab fzf will pop up a fuzzy selector of all the subdirs and files that start with t underneath ~/some/dir

  3. ! (while in in fzf selector window) - lets you filter (like grep -v) the results fzf shows you

  4. Alt+N - lets you complete a path to a directory from a partially typed command line.

You can actually use Ctrl+T or **+<Tab> to do this as well, but for folders with a lot of files in them Alt+N can be faster since it only searches over directories.

These are easier explained visually than verbally, so if you’d like more info on how and when to use these check out the video tutorial here:


If you have fzf installed but the keyboard shortcuts don’t work try re-installing fzf this way (from the ‘Using git’ section of fzf’s readme):

git clone --depth 1 https://github.com/junegunn/fzf.git ~/.fzf
~/.fzf/install