How To Fix Zsh No Matches Found

Shell Programming

So, you’ve encountered the frustrating “zsh: no matches found” error message in your terminal. Don’t worry, I’ve been there too, and I know how it can be a real productivity killer. But fear not, I’m here to guide you through the process of fixing this issue.

Understanding the Problem

Before diving into the solution, let’s take a moment to understand what might be causing this error. In zsh, the “no matches found” error typically occurs when the shell fails to find any matching files or directories for a given input pattern. This can happen due to various reasons, such as incorrect syntax in the input, misconfiguration of zsh, or even issues with globbing.

Checking Input Syntax

The first thing to do when encountering this error is to double-check the syntax of the command or input that triggered the issue. Make sure that any wildcards or special characters are used correctly and that the pattern matches the intended files or directories.

Disabling Globbing

Sometimes, the “no matches found” error can be related to globbing, which is the process of expanding wildcards into a list of matching files or directories. If you suspect that globbing might be the culprit, you can try disabling it temporarily with the following command:

set -f

Checking zsh Options

zsh provides various options that control its behavior, including how it handles pattern matching. It’s worth inspecting the current options to see if any of them might be contributing to the “no matches found” error. You can view the active zsh options using the command:

set -o

Updating zsh Configuration

If none of the previous steps resolve the issue, it might be necessary to review and update your zsh configuration. Check for any custom settings, plugins, or themes that could be interfering with pattern matching. Additionally, updating zsh to the latest version or reinstalling it can sometimes fix underlying problems.


Dealing with the “zsh: no matches found” error can be frustrating, but with a systematic approach, it’s usually possible to identify and resolve the underlying cause. By double-checking input syntax, exploring globbing and zsh options, and reviewing your zsh configuration, you can often overcome this obstacle and get back to a smooth command-line experience.