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
  3. Reload your terminal. You can close and then open a new terminal, or reload your setting with source ~/.bashrc command in your current terminal.


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, 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. After that, type source ~/.zshrc to bring the changes. To test whether it is successful, type docker ps and then press the Tab key.

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 \
        -o ~/.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

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