Development of Sublime Text has moved on to version 3.

As a result, this branch for Sublime Text 2 will not be updated any more. Please select the latest branch in the panel on the bottom left and consider updating Sublime Text.

See also

Sublime Text Documentation
Official documentation on this topic.

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

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

  • Snippets
  • API-injected completions
  • Buffer contents

However, .sublime-completions files are the most explicit way Sublime Text provides you to feed it completions. This topic deals with the creation of .sublime-completions files as well as with the interaction between 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.

Here’s an example (with HTML completions):

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

                { "trigger": "a", "contents": "<a href=\"$1\">$0</a>" },
                { "trigger": "abbr", "contents": "<abbr>$0</abbr>" },
                { "trigger": "acronym", "contents": "<acronym>$0</acronym>" },
                { "trigger": "script\t<script src=\"...\" />",
                  "contents": "<script src=\"$1\" />" },

Determines when the completions list will be populated with this list of completions. See Scopes for more information.
Array of completions.

Types of Completions

Plain Strings

Plain strings are equivalent to an entry where the trigger is identical to the contents:

// is equivalent to:
{ "trigger": "foo", "contents": "foo" }

Trigger-based Completions

{ "trigger": "foo", "contents": "foobar" }

Text that will be displayed in the completions list and will cause the contents to be inserted when chosen.

You can use a \t tab character to separate the trigger from a brief description on what the completion is about, it will be displayed right-aligned and slightly grayed and does not affect the trigger itself.

Text to be inserted in the buffer. Can use Snippet Features.

Sources for Completions

These are the sources for completions the user can control:

Additionally, other completions are folded into the final list:

  • Words in the buffer

Priority of Sources for Completions

This is the order in which completions are prioritized:

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

Snippets will always win if the current prefix matches their tab trigger exactly. For the rest of the completions sources, a fuzzy match is performed. Also, snippets will always lose against a fuzzy match. Note that this is only relevant if the completion is going to be inserted automatically. When the completions list is shown, snippets will be listed along 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), and
  • by pressing Tab.

The Completions List

To use the completions list:

  • Press Ctrl+spacebar to open
  • Optionally, press Ctrl+spacebar again to select next entry or use up and down arrow keys
  • Press Enter or Tab to validate selection (depending on the auto_complete_commit_on_tab )


The current selection in the completions list can actually be validated with any punctuation sign that isn’t itself bound to a snippet (e.g. .).

The completions list may work in two ways: by bringing up a list of suggested words to be completed, or by inserting the best match directly. The automatic insertion will only be done if the list of completion candidates can be narrowed down to one unambiguous choice given the current prefix.

If the choice of best completion is ambiguous, an interactive list will be presented to the user. Unlike other items, snippets in this list are displayed in this format: tab_trigger\tname.

Completions with multiple cursors

Sublime Text can also handle completions with multiple cursors but will only open the completion list when all cursors share the same prefix.

Working example (| represents one cursor):

some text with l|
l| and.l|

Not working example:

some text with la|
l| andl|

Selections are essentially ignored, only the position of the cursor matters. Thus, e|[-some selection] example, with | as the cursor and [...] as the current selection, completes to example|[-some selection] example.

Tab-completed Completions

If you want to be able to tab-complete completions, the setting tab_completion must be set to true (default). Snippet tab-completion is unaffected by this setting: They will always be completed according to their tab trigger.

With tab_completion enabled, completion of items is always automatic, which means that, unlike in the case of the completions list, Sublime Text will always make a decision for you. The rules to select the best completion are the same as above, but in case of ambiguity, Sublime Text will still insert the item deemed most suitable.

Inserting a Literal Tab Character

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