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Completions

See also

Reference for completions
Complete documentation on all available options.
Sublime Text Documentation
Official documentation on this topic.

In the spirit of IDEs, completions suggest terms and insert snippets. Completions work through the completions list or, optionally, by pressing Tab.

Note that, in the broader sense of words that Sublime Text will look up and insert for you, completions aren’t limited to completions files, because other sources contribute to the list of words to be completed, namely:

  • Snippets
  • API-injected completions
  • Buffer contents

However, the most explicit way Sublime Text provides you to feed it completions is by means of .sublime-completions files. This topic deals with the creation of a .sublime-completions file as well as with the interactions among all sources for completions.

File Format

Completions are JSON files with the .sublime-completions extension. Entries in completions files can contain either snippets or plain strings.

Example

Here’s an excerpt from Sublime Text’s HTML completions:

{
        "scope": "text.html - source - meta.tag, punctuation.definition.tag.begin",

        "completions":
        [
                { "trigger": "a", "contents": "<a href=\"$1\">$0</a>" },
                { "trigger": "abbr", "contents": "<abbr>$0</abbr>" },
                { "trigger": "acronym", "contents": "<acronym>$0</acronym>" }
        ]
}
scope
Determines when the completions list will be populated with this list of completions. See Scopes for more information.

In the example above, we’ve only used trigger-based completions, but completions files support simple completions too. Simple completions are just plain strings. Expanding our example with a few simple completions results in a list like this:

{
        "scope": "text.html - source - meta.tag, punctuation.definition.tag.begin",

        "completions":
        [
                { "trigger": "a", "contents": "<a href=\"$1\">$0</a>" },
                { "trigger": "abbr", "contents": "<abbr>$0</abbr>" },
                { "trigger": "acronym", "contents": "<acronym>$0</acronym>" },

                "ninja",
                "robot",
                "pizza"
        ]
}

Sources for Completions

Completions not only originate in .sublime-completions files. Here is the exhaustive list of sources for completions:

  • Snippets
  • API-injected completions
  • .sublime-completions files
  • Words in buffer

Priority of Sources for Completions

This is the order in which completions are prioritized:

  • Snippets
  • API-injected completions
  • .sublime-completions files
  • Words in the buffer

Snippets will always win if the current prefix matches their tab trigger exactly. For the rest of the completion sources, a fuzzy match is performed. Furthermore, snippets always lose with fuzzy matches.

But this is relevant only when the completion is inserted automatically. When a list of completions is shown, snippets will still be listed alongside the other items, even if the prefix only partially matches the snippets’ tab triggers.

How to Use Completions

There are two methods for using completions. Even though, when screening them, the priority given to completions always stays the same, the two methods produce different results, as explained next.

Completions can be inserted in two ways:

  • Through the completions list (Ctrl+spacebar).
  • By pressing Tab.

The Completions List

The completions list (Ctrl+spacebar) does its work in two ways: by bringing up a list of suggested words to be completed, or by inserting the best match directly.

If the choice of best completion is ambiguous, an interactive list will be presented to the user, who then will have to select an item himself. Unlike other items, snippets in this list are displayed in the format: <tab_trigger> : <name>, where <tab_trigger> and <name> are variable.

Using Ctrl+spacebar, the completion choice will be automatic only if the list of completion candidates can be narrowed down to one unambiguous choice, given the current prefix.

Tab-Completed Completions

If you want to be able to tab-complete completions, the setting tab_completion must be true, which is the default. Snippets’ tab-completion is unaffected by this setting: they always will be completed, or not, according to their tab trigger.

With tab_completion enabled, completion of items is always automatic. This means, unlike the case of the completions list, that Sublime Text will always make the decision for you. The rules for selecting the best completion are the same as described above, but in case of ambiguity, Sublime Text will insert the item it deems most suitable.

Inserting a Literal Tab Character

When tab_completion is enabled, you can press Shift+Tab to insert a literal tab character.

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