When I go into any folder via cd and then press tab a whole list of options is displayed. How do I make the autocomplete local to the folder?

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2 Answers 2


If you want to see only binaries in the current folder, press ./tab (dot slash tab).

If you want to see all folders in the current folder, press cd tab

In your screenshot, pressingm tab is showing all binaries that start with m found in the path.

In all cases, pressing tab a second time will show all matches if there are more than one.


You're looking for bash-completion. This post describes how to get it (tl;dr - for an easy install you'll need a package manager like Homebrew or MacPorts) for example:

brew install bash_completion

With bash-completion, typing cd and then Tab the results you get should be limited to folders.

Out-of-the-box bash-completion covers a wide range of possible completions, but there may be more - check your package manager. For example, on Homebrew try this:

brew search completions

This returns additional completions for macOS tools like open and launchctl, virtualisation tools like docker and vagrant, and many others.

You can create your own completions, for example I use this one to show me only .png files for a script (png2icns) I hacked together.

complete -f -X '!*.png' png2icns

However this really isn't necessary for most cases - bash-completion will cover all the common uses.

For completeness I need to mention that fans of the zsh shell will no doubt tell you that zsh's support for completion is far superior to bash's! Personally, bash does what I need, albeit with a little help from brew.

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