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ZIM - Zsh IMproved FrameWork
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What is Zim?

Zim is a Zsh configuration framework that bundles a plugin manager, useful modules, and a wide variety of themes, without compromising on speed.

Check how Zim compares to other frameworks and plugin managers:

Table of Contents


Installing Zim is easy. You can choose either the automatic or manual method below:

Automatic installation

This will install a predefined set of modules and a theme for you.

  • With curl:

    curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/zimfw/install/master/install.zsh | zsh
  • With wget:

    wget -nv -O - https://raw.githubusercontent.com/zimfw/install/master/install.zsh | zsh

Restart your terminal and you're done. Enjoy your Zsh IMproved! Take some time to tweak your ~/.zshrc file, and to also check the available modules and themes you can add to your ~/.zimrc.

Manual installation

  1. Set Zsh as the default shell, if you haven't done so already:

    chsh -s $(which zsh)
  2. Set up your ~/.zshrc file

  3. Create your ~/.zimrc file

  4. Restart your terminal and you're done. Enjoy your Zsh IMproved!

Set up ~/.zshrc

Add the lines below to your ~/.zshrc file, in the following order:

  1. To use our degit tool by default to install modules:

    zstyle ':zim:zmodule' use 'degit'

    This is optional, and only required if you don't have git installed (yes, Zim works even without git!)

  2. To set where the directory used by Zim will be located:


    The value of ZIM_HOME can be any directory your user has write access to. You can even set it to a cache directory like ${XDG_CACHE_HOME}/zim or ~/.cache/zim if you also include the step below, that automatically downloads the zimfw plugin manager.

  3. To automatically download the zimfw plugin manager if missing:

    # Download zimfw plugin manager if missing.
    if [[ ! -e ${ZIM_HOME}/zimfw.zsh ]]; then
      curl -fsSL --create-dirs -o ${ZIM_HOME}/zimfw.zsh \

    Or if you use wget instead of curl:

    # Download zimfw plugin manager if missing.
    if [[ ! -e ${ZIM_HOME}/zimfw.zsh ]]; then
      mkdir -p ${ZIM_HOME} && wget -nv -O ${ZIM_HOME}/zimfw.zsh \

    This is optional. If you choose to not include this step, you should manually download the zimfw.zsh script once and keep it at ${ZIM_HOME}.

  4. To automatically install missing modules and update the static initialization script if missing or outdated:

    # Install missing modules, and update ${ZIM_HOME}/init.zsh if missing or outdated.
    if [[ ! ${ZIM_HOME}/init.zsh -nt ${ZDOTDIR:-${HOME}}/.zimrc ]]; then
      source ${ZIM_HOME}/zimfw.zsh init -q

    This step is optional, but highly recommended. If you choose to not include it, you must remember to manually run zimfw install every time after you update your ~/.zimrc file.

  5. To source the static script, that will initialize your modules:

    # Initialize modules.
    source ${ZIM_HOME}/init.zsh

Create ~/.zimrc

You must create your .zimrc file at ~/.zimrc, if the ZDOTDIR environment variable is not defined. Otherwise, it must be at ${ZDOTDIR}/.zimrc. It's referred to as ~/.zimrc in the documentation for the sake of simplicity.

You can start with just:

zmodule zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting
zmodule zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions

If you also want one of our prompt themes:

zmodule asciiship
zmodule zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting
zmodule zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions

If you want to use our completion module too, instead of using compinit directly:

zmodule asciiship
zmodule zsh-users/zsh-completions --fpath src
zmodule completion
zmodule zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting
zmodule zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions

The completion module calls compinit for you. You should remove any compinit calls from your ~/.zshrc when you use this module. The modules will be initialized in the order they are defined, and completion must be initialized after all modules that add completion definitions, so it must come after zsh-users/zsh-completions.

Check the zmodule usage below for more examples on how to use it to define the modules you want to use.


The zimfw plugin manager installs your modules at ${ZIM_HOME}/modules, and builds a static script at ${ZIM_HOME}/init.zsh that will initialize them. Your modules are defined in your ~/.zimrc file.

The ~/.zimrc file must contain zmodule calls to define the modules to be initialized. The initialization will be done in the same order it's defined.

The ~/.zimrc file is not sourced during Zsh startup, and it's only used to configure the zimfw plugin manager.

Check examples of ~/.zimrc files above.


Below are some usage examples:

  • A module from the @zimfw organization: zmodule archive
  • A module from another GitHub organization: zmodule StackExchange/blackbox
  • A module with a custom URL: zmodule https://gitlab.com/Spriithy/basher.git
  • A module at an absolute path, that is already installed: zmodule /usr/local/share/zsh-autosuggestions
  • A module with a custom fpath: zmodule zsh-users/zsh-completions --fpath src
  • A module with a custom initialization file, and with git submodules disabled: zmodule spaceship-prompt/spaceship-prompt --source spaceship.zsh --no-submodules or zmodule spaceship-prompt/spaceship-prompt --name spaceship --no-submodules
  • A module with two custom initialization files: zmodule sindresorhus/pure --source async.zsh --source pure.zsh. Separate zmodule calls can also be used. In this equivalent example, the second call automatically discovers the second file to be sourced:
    zmodule sindresorhus/pure --source async.zsh
    zmodule sindresorhus/pure
  • A module with a custom initialization command: zmodule skywind3000/z.lua --cmd 'eval "$(lua {}/z.lua --init zsh enhanced once)"'
  • A module with an on-pull command. It can be used to create a cached initialization script: zmodule skywind3000/z.lua --on-pull 'lua z.lua --init zsh enhanced once >! init.zsh'
  • A module with a big git repository: zmodule romkatv/powerlevel10k --use degit
  • A module with a custom root subdirectory: zmodule ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh --root plugins/vim-interaction
  • A module with multiple roots:
    zmodule sorin-ionescu/prezto --root modules/command-not-found
    zmodule sorin-ionescu/prezto --root modules/gnu-utility
    zmodule ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh --root plugins/perl
    zmodule ohmyzsh/ohmyzsh --root plugins/vim-interaction
Want help with the complete zmodule usage?
Usage: zmodule <url> [-n|--name <module_name>] [-r|--root <path>] [options]

Add zmodule calls to your ~/.zimrc file to define the modules to be initialized. The initiali-
zation will be done in the same order it's defined.

  <url>                      Module absolute path or repository URL. The following URL formats
                             are equivalent: foo, zimfw/foo, https://github.com/zimfw/foo.git.
                             If an absolute path is given, the module is considered externally
                             installed, and won't be installed or updated by zimfw.
  -n|--name <module_name>    Set a custom module name. Use slashes inside the name to organize
                             the module into subdirectories. The module will be installed at
                             ${ZIM_HOME}/<module_name>. Default: the last component in <url>.
  -r|--root <path>           Relative path to the module root.

Per-module options:
  -b|--branch <branch_name>  Use specified branch when installing and updating the module.
                             Overrides the tag option. Default: the repository default branch.
  -t|--tag <tag_name>        Use specified tag when installing and updating the module. Over-
                             rides the branch option.
  -u|--use <git|degit>       Install and update the module using the defined tool. Default is
                             either defined by zstyle ':zim:zmodule' use '<git|degit>', or git
                             if none is provided.
                             git requires git itself. Local changes are preserved on updates.
                             degit requires curl or wget, and currently only works with GitHub
                             URLs. Modules install faster and take less disk space. Local
                             changes are lost on updates. Git submodules are not supported.
  --no-submodules            Don't install or update git submodules.
  -z|--frozen                Don't install or update the module.

  The per-module options above are carried over multiple zmodule calls for the same module.
  Modules are uniquely identified by their name.

Per-module-root options:
  --on-pull <command>        Execute command after installing or updating the module. The com-
                             mand is executed in the module root directory.
  -d|--disabled              Don't initialize the module root or uninstall the module.

  The per-module-root options above are carried over multiple zmodule calls for the same mod-
  ule root.

Per-call initialization options:
  -f|--fpath <path>          Will add specified path to fpath. The path is relative to the
                             module root directory. Default: functions, if the subdirectory
                             exists and is non-empty.
  -a|--autoload <func_name>  Will autoload specified function. Default: all valid names inside
                             the functions subdirectory, if any.
  -s|--source <file_path>    Will source specified file. The path is relative to the module
                             root directory. Default: init.zsh, if a non-empty functions sub-
                             directory exists, else the largest of the files matching the glob
                             (init.zsh|<root_tail>.(zsh|plugin.zsh|zsh-theme|sh)), if any.
  -c|--cmd <command>         Will execute specified command. Occurrences of the {} placeholder
                             in the command are substituted by the module root directory path.
                             I.e., -s 'foo.zsh' and -c 'source {}/foo.zsh' are equivalent.

  Setting any per-call initialization option above will disable the default values from the
  other per-call initialization options, so only your provided values will be used. I.e. these
  values are either all automatic, or all manual in each zmodule call. To use default values
  and also provided values, use separate zmodule calls.


The Zim plugin manager:

  • Added new modules to ~/.zimrc? Run zimfw install.
  • Removed modules from ~/.zimrc? Run zimfw uninstall.
  • Want to update your modules to their latest revisions? Run zimfw update.
  • Want to upgrade zimfw to its latest version? Run zimfw upgrade.
  • For more information about the zimfw plugin manager, run zimfw help.


Modules are installed using git by default. If you don't have git installed, or if you want to take advantage of our degit tool for faster and lighter module installations, you can set degit as the default tool with:

zstyle ':zim:zmodule' use 'degit'

By default, zimfw will check if it has a new version available every 30 days. This can be disabled with:

zstyle ':zim' disable-version-check yes


The best way to remove Zim is to manually delete ~/.zim, ~/.zimrc, and remove the initialization lines from your ~/.zshenv, ~/.zshrc and ~/.zlogin.