Command-line completion

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

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

Install command completion


Make sure bash completion is installed.


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

  2. Place the completion script in /etc/bash_completion.d/.

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


Install via Homebrew
  1. Install with brew install bash-completion.
  2. After the installation, Brew displays the installation path. Make sure to place the completion script in the path.

    For example, when running this command on Mac 10.13.2, place the completion script in /usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d/.

     sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/etc/bash_completion.d/docker-compose
  3. Add the following to your ~/.bash_profile:

     if [ -f $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion ]; then
     . $(brew --prefix)/etc/bash_completion
  4. You can source your ~/.bash_profile or launch a new terminal to utilize completion.
Install via MacPorts
  1. Run sudo port install bash-completion to install bash completion.

  2. Add the following lines to ~/.bash_profile:

     if [ -f /opt/local/etc/profile.d/ ]; then
     . /opt/local/etc/profile.d/
  3. You can source your ~/.bash_profile or launch a new terminal to utilize completion.


Make sure you have installed oh-my-zsh on your computer.

With oh-my-zsh shell

Add docker and docker-compose to the plugins list in ~/.zshrc to run autocompletion within the oh-my-zsh shell. In the following example, ... represent other Zsh plugins you may have installed.

plugins=(... docker docker-compose

Without oh-my-zsh shell

  1. Place the completion script in your /path/to/zsh/completion (typically ~/.zsh/completion/):

     $ mkdir -p ~/.zsh/completion
     $ curl -L > ~/.zsh/completion/_docker-compose
  2. Include the directory in your $fpath by adding in ~/.zshrc:

     fpath=(~/.zsh/completion $fpath)
  3. Make sure compinit is loaded or do it by adding in ~/.zshrc:

     autoload -Uz compinit && compinit -i
  4. Then reload your shell:

     exec $SHELL -l

Available completions

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

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

Enjoy working with Compose faster and with fewer typos!

Compose documentation

fig, composition, compose, docker, orchestration, cli, reference