abbr - manage fish abbreviations


abbr --add NAME [--position command | anywhere] [-r | --regex PATTERN]
                [--set-cursor[=MARKER]] ([-f | --function FUNCTION] | EXPANSION)
abbr --erase NAME ...
abbr --rename OLD_WORD NEW_WORD
abbr --show
abbr --list
abbr --query NAME ...


abbr manages abbreviations - user-defined words that are replaced with longer phrases when entered.


Only typed-in commands use abbreviations. Abbreviations are not expanded in scripts.

For example, a frequently-run command like git checkout can be abbreviated to gco. After entering gco and pressing Space or Enter, the full text git checkout will appear in the command line. To avoid expanding something that looks like an abbreviation, the default Control+Space binding inserts a space without expanding.

An abbreviation may match a literal word, or it may match a pattern given by a regular expression. When an abbreviation matches a word, that word is replaced by new text, called its expansion. This expansion may be a fixed new phrase, or it can be dynamically created via a fish function. This expansion occurs after pressing space or enter.

Combining these features, it is possible to create custom syntaxes, where a regular expression recognizes matching tokens, and the expansion function interprets them. See the Examples section.

Changed in version 3.6.0: Previous versions of this allowed saving abbreviations in universal variables. That’s no longer possible. Existing variables will still be imported and abbr --erase will also erase the variables. We recommend adding abbreviations to by just adding the abbr --add command. When you run abbr, you will see output like this

> abbr
abbr -a -- foo bar # imported from a universal variable, see `help abbr`

In that case you should take the part before the # comment and save it in, then you can run abbr --erase to remove the universal variable:

> abbr >> ~/.config/fish/
> abbr --erase (abbr --list)

“add” subcommand

abbr [-a | --add] NAME [--position command | anywhere] [-r | --regex PATTERN]
     [--set-cursor[=MARKER]] ([-f | --function FUNCTION] | EXPANSION)

abbr --add creates a new abbreviation. With no other options, the string NAME is replaced by EXPANSION.

With --position command, the abbreviation will only expand when it is positioned as a command, not as an argument to another command. With --position anywhere the abbreviation may expand anywhere in the command line. The default is command.

With --regex, the abbreviation matches using the regular expression given by PATTERN, instead of the literal NAME. The pattern is interpreted using PCRE2 syntax and must match the entire token. If multiple abbreviations match the same token, the last abbreviation added is used.

With --set-cursor=MARKER, the cursor is moved to the first occurrence of MARKER in the expansion. The MARKER value is erased. The MARKER may be omitted (i.e. simply --set-cursor), in which case it defaults to %.

With -f FUNCTION or --function FUNCTION, FUNCTION is treated as the name of a fish function instead of a literal replacement. When the abbreviation matches, the function will be called with the matching token as an argument. If the function’s exit status is 0 (success), the token will be replaced by the function’s output; otherwise the token will be left unchanged. No EXPANSION may be given separately.


abbr --add gco git checkout

Add a new abbreviation where gco will be replaced with git checkout.

abbr -a --position anywhere -- -C --color

Add a new abbreviation where -C will be replaced with --color. The -- allows -C to be treated as the name of the abbreviation, instead of an option.

abbr -a L --position anywhere --set-cursor "% | less"

Add a new abbreviation where L will be replaced with | less, placing the cursor before the pipe.

function last_history_item
    echo $history[1]
abbr -a !! --position anywhere --function last_history_item

This first creates a function last_history_item which outputs the last entered command. It then adds an abbreviation which replaces !! with the result of calling this function. Taken together, this is similar to the !! history expansion feature of bash.

function vim_edit
    echo vim $argv
abbr -a vim_edit_texts --position command --regex ".+\.txt" --function vim_edit

This first creates a function vim_edit which prepends vim before its argument. It then adds an abbreviation which matches commands ending in .txt, and replaces the command with the result of calling this function. This allows text files to be “executed” as a command to open them in vim, similar to the “suffix alias” feature in zsh.

abbr 4DIRS --set-cursor=! "$(string join \n -- 'for dir in */' 'cd $dir' '!' 'cd ..' 'end')"

This creates an abbreviation “4DIRS” which expands to a multi-line loop “template.” The template enters each directory and then leaves it. The cursor is positioned ready to enter the command to run in each directory, at the location of the !, which is itself erased.

Other subcommands

abbr --rename OLD_NAME NEW_NAME

Renames an abbreviation, from OLD_NAME to NEW_NAME

abbr [-s | --show]

Show all abbreviations in a manner suitable for import and export

abbr [-l | --list]

Prints the names of all abbreviation

abbr [-e | --erase] NAME

Erases the abbreviation with the given name

abbr -q or --query [NAME...]

Return 0 (true) if one of the NAME is an abbreviation.

abbr -h or --help

Displays help for the abbr command.