Emacs: Icomplete, Minibuffer Name Completion

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page is for Emacs 28 (Released 2022-04) or later.

What is icomplete-mode

icomplete-mode enhances emacs's name completion when in minibuffer prompts.

icomplete does completion for any command that prompts for a list of choices, such as opening a file, switch buffer, calling a command by name.

Examples of commands that icomplete has effect:

Alt+x icomplete-mode

Turn on or off enhanced completion in minibuffer.

  • Press Tab to complete.
  • press Ctrl+j to select current choice and submit.
  • press Enter to submit what's in minibuffer.
emacs 29 icomplete mode 2023-08-24 rWGf
emacs 29 icomplete mode 2023-08-24 rWGf


Alt+x icomplete-vertical-mode
  • Activates icomplete-mode
  • Change settings to show choices vertically.
  • Call again to toggle vertical display to horizontal.

icomplete-vertical-mode is new in Emacs 28 (Released 2022-04)

emacs 29 icomplete vertical mode 2023-08-24
emacs 29 icomplete vertical mode 2023-08-24

icomplete keys

Complete what you typed.
Complete up to a word.
Use what you typed so far.
Use first choice and exit.
complete backward
complete forward

History of Icomplete Mode

icomplete is originally written by Ken Manheimer, first released in 1993. (Ken Manheimer's home page: http://myriadicity.net/https://twitter.com/myriadicity )

Emacs, minibuffer name completion

Emacs, name completion