Command-line completion

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Compose comes with command completion for the bash and zsh shell.

Installing Command Completion


Make sure bash completion is installed.

  • On a current Linux OS (in a non-minimal installation), bash completion should be available.

  • On a Mac, install with brew install bash-completion.

Place the completion script in /etc/bash_completion.d/ (or /usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d/ on a Mac):

curl -L -o /etc/bash_completion.d/docker-compose

On a Mac, add the following to your ~/.bash_profile:

if [ -f $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion ]; then
. $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion

You can source your ~/.bash_profile or launch a new terminal to utilize completion.

MacPorts Bash Completion

If you’re using MacPorts you’ll need to slightly modify your steps to the following:

Run sudo port install bash-completion to install bash completion. Add the following lines to ~/.bash_profile:

if [ -f /opt/local/etc/profile.d/ ]; then
    . /opt/local/etc/profile.d/

You can source your ~/.bash_profile or launch a new terminal to utilize completion.


Place the completion script in your /path/to/zsh/completion, using e.g. ~/.zsh/completion/:

$ mkdir -p ~/.zsh/completion
$ curl -L > ~/.zsh/completion/_docker-compose

Include the directory in your $fpath, e.g. by adding in ~/.zshrc:

fpath=(~/.zsh/completion $fpath)

Make sure compinit is loaded or do it by adding in ~/.zshrc:

autoload -Uz compinit && compinit -i

Then reload your shell:

exec $SHELL -l

Available completions

Depending on what you typed on the command line so far, it will complete:

  • available docker-compose commands
  • options that are available for a particular command
  • service names that make sense in a given context (e.g. services with running or stopped instances or services based on images vs. services based on Dockerfiles). For docker-compose scale, completed service names will automatically have “=” appended.
  • arguments for selected options, e.g. docker-compose kill -s will complete some signals like SIGHUP and SIGUSR1.

Enjoy working with Compose faster and with less typos!

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