I recently noticed 2 features in Fish and was wondering if anyone knew if these were also available in Bash?

Syntax highlighting

ss #1


  • You'll quickly notice that fish performs syntax highlighting as you type. Invalid commands are colored red by default:
  • A command may be invalid because it does not exist, or refers to a file that you cannot execute. When the command becomes valid, it is shown in a different color
  • fish will underline valid file paths as you type them
  • This tells you that there exists a file that starts with 'somefi', which is useful feedback as you type.


ss #2


  • fish suggests commands as you type, and shows the suggestion to the right of the cursor, in gray.
  • It knows about paths and options
  • To accept the autosuggestion, hit right arrow or Control-F. If the autosuggestion is not what you want, just ignore it.
  • 4
    About the closest analog that bash has is autocompletion. Unfortunately, fish's scripting is so elementary that it's a very poor substitute for the sort of things I do routinely with bash.
    – DopeGhoti
    Jan 15, 2014 at 2:08
  • 1
    @DopeGhoti - hence my asking the Q 8-)
    – slm
    Jan 15, 2014 at 2:10
  • 3
    Try it over a high latency ssh link, you will come to hate the inline features pretty fast.
    – llua
    Jan 15, 2014 at 5:40
  • 1
    @slm Most of those are corner cases, some nastier than others, but it can be pretty bad when you are deployed in a lot of environments. The "killer features" for 4.3 are cd -@, wait -n, globasciiranges, and $BASH_COMPAT, which a lot of people wanted. Almost all the rest is just firefighting.
    – Chris Down
    Jan 15, 2014 at 5:58
  • 1
    @strugee, there is a zsh syntax highlighter - github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting, I found it through the very cool oh-my-zsh.
    – Joe Block
    Feb 17, 2014 at 3:02

3 Answers 3


As mentioned in here, it can be achieved through ble.sh

# Quick TRIAL without installation
# requires the commands git, make (GNU make), and gawk

git clone --recursive https://github.com/akinomyoga/ble.sh.git
make -C ble.sh
source ble.sh/out/ble.sh

Here is a quick demo of Bash with blesh.

enter image description here

For more details see: README of Ble.sh


Unfortunatly not. But I predict, that bash will massively slow down if you try to implement these features. Perhaps that's why noone "ported" these features yet.

The nearest I found was https://github.com/dvorka/hstr, a shell suggestion box

aside bash:

I didn't tested it, but the only "ported alternative" that I found was written for zsh: https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions

Some qwant'ing also lead me to https://websetnet.com/shell-packs-power-python-bash/ and https://github.com/xonsh/xonsh alias http://xon.sh, perhaps it also supports that out of the box

... but, I'm quite sure you're not interested in other alternatives to bash, because then you could just switch to fish ;)

  • I don't agree about alternatives, in fact while switching from bash to fish implies using a quite different syntax for scripting, zsh basically supports the same syntax as bash, and so switching to it is quite straight forward.
    – Treviño
    Jun 19, 2020 at 18:39

I'm not sure about Bash highlighting but Bash's Auto-Complete feature is likely to Auto-Suggesting as you mentioned.

Even though Bash's Auto-Complete couldn't show suggestions as you want, but it actually does fill the content when you press [TAB]. If there are many choices for completing content, you press [TAB] twice and it shows all the options.

For example:

$ cat /etc/pa[TAB]

=> nothing happens

$ cat /etc/pa[TAB][TAB]
pam.d/       passwd       paths        paths.d/

=> shows all files/dirs start with "/etc/pa"

You can configure to make auto-complete with any command, parameters, files/directories..., or play with it like programming
More information at: http://www.linuxjournal.com/content/more-using-bash-complete-command

If you want to jump to a past command, press ^R then type some chars:

(reverse-i-search)`cd': cd ..

=> jump to last command start with "cd"

I know this is not exactly you want but that nearly do the same and help you convenience enough.

  • 10
    Thank you for taking the time to answer this and offer this suggestion. I'm familiar with this feature and use it daily, the feature I wanted was that it would do it dynamically w/o the need to hit the [TAB][TAB] to initiate it.
    – slm
    Feb 20, 2014 at 16:07

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