The behavior I see happening is that when I type something partially and hit TAB, if there are multiple files/commands that match what I had typed in, only the first one is displayed. Further TAB hits result in other matches being shown. Instead, I want the auto-completion to fill till the first ambiguous character and then if I hit TAB again, display all possible choices (as in say Ubuntu terminal). This is what I have in my .inputrc:

set completion-ignore-case on
set show-all-if-ambiguous on 
TAB: menu-complete

The show-all-if-ambiguous seems to be what I am looking for, but it doesn't seem to work for me.

I actually want the behavior that this member doesn't:

Skip first terminal beep and to display ambiguous filename expansions

I like hearing the first BEEP (or stop) and then typing in some more characters to fix the ambiguity.

  • I think you need to disable menu complete.
    – mtklr
    Jan 19, 2016 at 13:25

2 Answers 2


Thanks to comment from mtklr. Many web pages that talk about Mac OS X Terminal auto-complete asks you to add the 3 lines I mention in my question. But if you want behavior as on say Ubuntu, you need just the first 2 lines:

set completion-ignore-case on
set show-all-if-ambiguous on 

Do not add TAB: menu-complete


On Big Sur, I got the best results with just the:

set show-all-if-ambiguous on 

Tab completion would work without it, but would not show the available options if there was more than one completion.

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