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Fzf Z

Plugin for zsh to integrate fzf and various 'frecency' plugins, including - enables easy switching between recent dirs in zsh

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Note: Personally I am no longer using this plugin actively, so I have archived it. If you're interested in taking it over, please let me know.

This plugin was originally inspired as a mashup between fzf, and oh-my-zsh's z plugin, which allows you to track recently and commonly used directories. The z plugin does a great job of allowing you to switch between frequently-used directories just by typing z *somedirectorysubstring*, but it doesn't really easily allow you to browse those directories, with partial-string search. This plugin was invented to solve that problem, using fzf as a front-end. Since then, it's been extended to support fasd and autojump, other 'frecency' plugins, as alternatives to z.


You can install fzf-z like any other zsh plugin. If you're not familiar with zsh plugins, using a plugin manager is the easiest way to install one. You can find information on some popular choices here. oh-my-zsh and other configuration frameworks do not by themselves allow you to add custom plugins such as fzf-z; you'll likely need a plugin manager in addition.


You must have one of these installed:

  • The z plugin.

  • The fasd tool (my personal choice, and recommended if you are not already using one of these tools).

  • The autojump tool.

These tools must be in your $PATH. These have to be installed irrespective of how you use fzf-z.

You must also have fzf installed. You can set the full path to fzf binary with environment variable FZF_BIN_PATH, or it uses the one found in your $PATH.

Note: When you first use fzf-z, if you have configured FZFZ_RECENT_DIRS_TOOL to use z (which is the default), it will dynamically download for its own internal use. You still need to have the z plugin installed anyway.

Sources of information

Since the original version, I've extended fzf-z to support other sources of information about the directories you might be interested in, which are all mixed into the same list delivered through fzf. In priority order (the order in which they are shown in fzf, first to last):

  1. Directories under the current directory. The number of these shown in fzf is limited by the FZFZ_SUBDIR_LIMIT environment variable, which defaults to 50. If you don't want those to be shown, simply set this to 0.

  2. Recently used dirs. By default, these are provided by the z command from the z plugin (the original purpose of this plugin). The order shown is the order given by z -l. However, if you want to use fasd (preferred) or autojump instead, set FZFZ_RECENT_DIRS_TOOL to fasd or autojump respectively.

  3. All subdirectories in all directories listed in the FZFZ_EXTRA_DIRS environment variables. These directories are space-separated, so for example:

    export FZFZ_EXTRA_DIRS="~/MyDocuments '~/Desktop/Some Other Stuff'"

Ways to use fzf-z

As a zsh plugin

Treat this plugin like any other zsh plugin and install using a zsh plugin manager. For example:

Once the plugin is installed, simply hit <CTRL-g> on the zsh command-line, and it will bring up a list of directories according to the sources of information listed above. Select one, perhaps typing to filter the list, and hit Enter - the path to the selected directory will be inserted into the command line. If you started with an empty command line, and you have the AUTO_CD zsh option turned on you'll change to that directory instantly.

This is similar to the default Ctrl-T binding already provided by the fzf zsh key-bindings file. At the moment, this plugin doesn't allow the Ctrl-G keybinding to be customized, but you can change by simply forking the plugin and editing the file if you want.

As a command

New: this plugin repository also now includes fzfz as a standalone command (although it depends on the provided script also). You can run this as an alternative to using this as a plugin, and it will print the selected directory to stdout, which you can use to embed this in other tools.

Customizing and Options

If you set the FZFZ_EXCLUDE_PATTERN environment variable to a regex (matched with egrep) it will exclude any directory which matches it from appearing in the subdirectory results (it isn't applied to the z/fasd/autojump results, since it's assumed any directory you've navigated to before is one you might be interested in). By default this variable is set to filter out anything in a .git directory.

You can also set FZFZ_EXTRA_OPTS to add any additional options you like to the fzf command - for example, -e will turn exact matching on by default.

By default, fzf-z will filter out duplicates in its list so directories found via multiple methods don't appear twice; however, this does slow it down. If you don't care about that and want to speed it up, set FZFZ_UNIQUIFIER="cat".

If you want to change the preview command used by fzfz (currently tree by default if it's installed, or ls if not), set FZFZ_PREVIEW_COMMAND to something like ls {} ({} is replaced with the directory currently selected).


If it's installed and in your PATH, fzf-z will use fd. If not, it'll fall back to find, which is slower. The behaviour is slightly differently also; fd will exclude files ignored by .gitignore or similar, which find will not do, so you will get less results. Generally, this is what you want, though.