How I am using fzf for every 5 min of my programming life

dineshba profile image Dinesh B Updated on ・2 min read

Installation for new users

$ brew install fzf
$ $(brew --prefix)/opt/fzf/install # useful key bindings and fuzzy completion

Note: Its better to use key bindings and fuzzy completion

Default options that I use

export FZF_DEFAULT_OPTS='--height 40% --reverse --border'

My usages

To Search in command history:


To Change directory:
cd + (CTRL + T) # type cd and then press CTRL plus T
cd ** + TAB
To find and open files in vim(or any editor):
vim $(fzf)
vim + (CTRL + T)
vim ** + TAB
vim $(fzf --preview 'cat {}')

You can even search and open multiple files using tab

To kill a process:
kill + TAB

Note: Think about the normal way. We have to ps aux to list processes and grep the required process then copy the correct column for pid, then call kill. Here just one step.

To ssh into a machine:
ssh ** + TAB
To get the glimse of a file
fzf --preview 'cat {}'


Fzf's usage is limitless. We can use it wherever we want to search and select one(or many) from a list

Case 1:
How will you jump to different directory?
- cd /path/to/your/project/path/to/your/service
Fzf way:
alias goproject="cd $(find path/to/your/project -type d -maxdepth 2 | fzf)"

You can have multiple alias for multiple projects or directories

Case 2:
How will you switch git branch? (select one branch from many)
    - git branch -a
    - copy the branch name
    - git checkout $new_branch_name
    - git checkout + TAB (auto completion feature)

    Both the above approches are not O(1) :-P. How can we optimize?
Fzf way:
alias gcx="git checkout \$(git branch -a | sed 's/remotes\/origin\///' | grep -v '\*|HEAD' | sort |uniq | fzf --select-1)"

Note: try in your terminal and feel the difference

Case 3:
How will you tmux workspaces? We are using tmuxp tool to do that.
- tmuxp load workspace_name
- tmuxp load ~/.tmuxp/workspace_name.yaml

First involes rembembering all workspace_names (Space Complexity != O(1)) and type correct and fastly (Time Complexity != O(1)). Second involes lot of TABs or searching from commit history (Time Complexity != O(1))

Fzf way:
alias ktx='tmuxp load $(ls ~/.tmuxp/*.yaml | grep ".*/.tmuxp/" -r "" | grep "\.yaml" -r "" | fzf) --yes'
Case 4:
Okay we created tmux workspaces easily using Case 3. How will kill tmux workspaces now?
- tmux kill-session workspace_name
Fzf way:
$ alias tkill="for s in \$(tmux list-sessions | awk '{print \$1}' | rg ':' -r '' | fzf -m); do tmux kill-session -t \$s; done;"
$ tkill

Note: We are giving fzf -m which means we can select multiple and pass to next stage (basically killing multiple sessions)

Other tools which use fzf effectively
  • kubectx
  • kubens
  • lazy-connect
  • may be your tool

replace grep with rg for better experience


Wherever we want search and select one/many from a list, then we can use fzf. So the options to use is limitless. If you are using fzf in a different way, please raise an issue or a PR here so that we can learn that. Thanks.


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