A plugin manager for zsh, inspired by oh-my-zsh and vundle.

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Antigen v1

A plugin manager for zsh, inspired by oh-my-zsh and vundle.

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Antigen is a small set of functions that help you easily manage your shell (zsh) plugins, called bundles. The concept is pretty much the same as bundles in a typical vim+pathogen setup. Antigen is to zsh, what Vundle is to vim.

Antigen has reached a certain level of stability and has been used in the wild for around a couple of years. If you face any problems, please open an issue.

Antigen works with zsh versions >= 4.3.5.

Note: Please read the commit comments of the changesets when you pull a new version of antigen.

Show off

Enough talk. Let’s fight! – Po, Kung-fu Panda.

You’re going to experience antigen right in your open shell. No .zshrc tweaking and reading the rest of this documentation. Kinda like an ice-cream sample, if you will.

Get and load antigen.

curl > antigen.zsh
source antigen.zsh

There. You now have all the antigen goodies. Let’s try install some plugins. How about some color to start with. Get the syntax highlighting plugin by running

antigen bundle zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting

Now let it do its thing and once you’re back at your prompt, try and type a command. See that? Colors!

So, you do git? ruby? git and ruby? There are lots of awesome plugins over at oh-my-zsh. Treat yourself to some.

antigen bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh plugins/ruby
# Or for the lazy,
antigen bundle git

There are lots of plugins out there in the wild and people are writing zsh utilities as small scripts all the time. Antigen is compatible with all of them. The plugins and scripts don’t need any special handling to be compatible with antigen.

Another example, kennethreitz’s autoenv (or the zsh optimized version of it). Just a bundle command away.

antigen bundle kennethreitz/autoenv
# or `antigen bundle Tarrasch/zsh-autoenv`

And boom! you have all the autoenv goodness. Just remember how you used to do these before antigen, clone it, modify your zshrc to source it, load a new terminal, all just to test it out. Duh!

A subtle aspect of this is that you can tell antigen to grab just about anything from anyone’s dotfiles repo, as long as it is in a directory under any repo on github.

And themes? How would you like a fancy new prompt for yourself?

antigen theme funky

No? Not your taste? There are many themes available to you, check out the oh-my-zsh’s page on themes.

You can install themes from unofficial repos too!

antigen theme XsErG/zsh-themes themes/lazyuser

See? It’s easy! To see how that works, refer to the section on the antigen theme command further down.

Note: Many of those plugins and especially themes, assume you have the core library of oh-my-zsh loaded. So, if you want to experiment further, issue a

antigen use oh-my-zsh

and continue until you’re tired. At which point you can come back to this page ;)


So, now that you’re here, I suppose you are convinced and want antigen running your shell all the time. Sweet. Let’s do it.

There are several installation methods available in the Installation section or you can use git:

First, clone this repo, probably as a submodule if you have your dotfiles in a git repo,

git clone

The usage should be very familiar to you if you use Vundle. A typical .zshrc might look like this

source /path-to-antigen-clone/antigen.zsh

# Load the oh-my-zsh's library.
antigen use oh-my-zsh

# Bundles from the default repo (robbyrussell's oh-my-zsh).
antigen bundle git
antigen bundle heroku
antigen bundle pip
antigen bundle lein
antigen bundle command-not-found

# Syntax highlighting bundle.
antigen bundle zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting

# Load the theme.
antigen theme robbyrussell

# Tell antigen that you're done.
antigen apply

Open your zsh with this zshrc and you should see all the bundles you defined here, getting installed. Once its done, you are ready to roll. The complete syntax for the antigen bundle command is discussed further down on this page.

You can find more examples in the wiki: Antigen in the wild.


If you use zsh and oh-my-zsh, you know that having many different plugins that are developed by many different authors in a single (sub)repo is not very easy to maintain. There are some really fantastic plugins and utilities in oh-my-zsh, but having them all in a single repo doesn’t really scale well. And I admire robbyrussell’s efforts for reviewing and merging the gigantic number of pull requests the project gets. We need a better way of plugin management.

This was discussed on a few issues, but it doesn’t look like there was any progress made. So, I’m trying to start this off with antigen, hoping to better this situation. Please note that I’m by no means a zsh or any shell script expert (far from it).

Inspired by vundle, antigen can pull oh-my-zsh style plugins from various github repositories. You are not limited to use plugins from the oh-my-zsh repository only and you don’t need to maintain your own fork and pull from upstream every now and then. I actually encourage you to grab plugins and scripts from various sources, straight from the authors, before they even submit it to oh-my-zsh as a pull request.

Antigen also lets you switch the prompt theme with one command, just like that

antigen theme candy

and your prompt is changed, just for this session of course (unless you put this line in your .zshrc).


antigen bundle

This command tells antigen to install (if not already installed) and load the given plugin. The simplest usage follows the following syntax.

antigen bundle <plugin-name>

This will install and load the plugins/<name> directory from robbyrussell’s oh-my-zsh (can be changed by setting ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL).

However, the above is just syntax sugar for the extended syntax of the antigen bundle command.

antigen bundle [<url> [<loc>]]

where <url> is the repository url and it defaults to robbyrussell’s oh-my-zsh repo (can be changed by setting ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL discussed further down). <loc> is the path under this repository which has the zsh plugin. This is typically the directory that contains a *.plugin.zsh file, but it could contain a completion file or just many *.zsh files to be sourced, or it could simply be a file (with any extension) that you want to source. <loc> defaults to /, which indicates the repository itself is a plugin.

An example invocation would be

# The following is the same as `antigen bundle ant`. But for demonstration
# purposes, we use the extended syntax here.
antigen bundle plugins/ant

This would install the ant plugin from robbyrussell’s oh-my-zsh repo. Of course, github url’s can be shortened.

antigen bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh plugins/ant

And since this repo is the default, even that isn’t necessary. But we can’t specify the loc without giving the first argument.

For this and a few other reasons, antigen bundle also supports a simple keyword argument syntax, using which we can rewrite the above as

antigen bundle --loc=plugins/ant

Which picks up the default for the url argument, and uses the loc given to it.

Note that you can mix and match positional and keyword arguments. But you can’t have positional arguments after keyword arguments.

antigen bundle robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh --loc=plugins/ant

And keyword arguments don’t care about the order in which the arguments are specified. The following is perfectly valid.

antigen bundle --loc=plugins/ant --url=robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh

You can also specify a local directory on your file system as a bundle. In this case, make sure the path you give is the absolute path (i.e., starts with a /). Relative paths are not supported. If the repo you gave is a local directory path, then it is not necessary that this path is a git repo. Please refer to the notes on --no-local-clone below.

This command can also be used from your shell environment. This allows you to install plugins on the fly and try them out. Of course if you want a bundle to be available every time you open a shell, put it in your .zshrc.

Other keyword-only arguments accepted:

--branch={git-branch-name} — Specify the branch of the git repo to be used for this bundle (without the braces of course). The default is whatever branch the clone comes with, which is usually master. For example,

antigen bundle github-user/repo --branch=develop

This will get the plugin as in the branch develop.

Note that if you specify two plugins to be loaded from the same git repo, but different branches, then two separate clones of this repo will be maintained. This is a small implementation detail and shouldn’t influence you in any way.

--no-local-clone — This command can be useful if you are developing a plugin and already have a clone on your local file system. If this argument is not given, even if the given repo url is a local path, a clone is made in the $ADOTDIR/repos, and the plugin is loaded from that clone. But, if you give this argument, the plugin is sourced straight from the repo location, without creating a clone. For example,

antigen bundle /absolute/path/to/the/plugin --no-local-clone

Note that if the repo url is not an absolute local path or a branch has been specified with the --branch option, this argument has no effect. That is, for this option to have any affect, the repo url must be an absolute local path and no --branch should be specified.

Also, if the local path given as the url is not a git repo, then this argument is forced as it doesn’t makes sense to clone something that’s not a git repo. This property can be used to load any utility scripts you have in your dotfiles repo. For example,

antigen bundle $HOME/dotfiles/oh-my-zsh/custom

In addition to the above discussed arguments, antigen bundle also takes a btype keyword-only argument, that is used internally. You shouldn’t be concerned with this argument, its only used internally and will probably go away in the future. It indicates whether the bundle is a theme or a simple plugin.

For details on what constitutes a valid bundle and how Antigen handles different types of bundles, see the Notes on writing plugins section.

antigen bundles

If you have a fair number of bundles, using the antigen bundle command can look cumbersome. You can use the antigen bundles command to bulk define bundles instead of individual calls to antigen bundle.

Usage is pretty straightforward. Just pipe the bundle specifications, just as you would give to the antigen bundle command, one per line, into the antigen bundles command. The easiest way to do this, is using the heredoc syntax.

antigen bundles <<EOBUNDLES
  # Guess what to install when running an unknown command.

  # The heroku tool helper plugin.

This is equivalent to

antigen bundle command-not-found
antigen bundle heroku

Of course, as you can see, from the lines piped to antigen bundles, empty lines and those starting with a # are ignored. The rest are passed to antigen bundle without any quoting rules applied. They are actually eval-ed with the antigen bundle command. See the source if you want to really understand how it works. Its a very small function.

Note: Indenting the contents inside the EOBUNDLES heredoc is not required for antigen-bundles to work. Its allowed (and encouraged) to improve readability.

Another thing to take into account is that variables (ex. environment variables) and especial builtin characters (~, .) won’t work inside a heredoc, so you may have to change a antigen-bundle syntax to work with antigen-bundles.

antigen init

Makes usage of caching in order to quickly load bundles. Improves performance greatly and it’s recommened if you have an stable set of bundles. See wiki’s cookbook section for further details.

antigen init /path/to/.antigenrc

Where .antigenrc contains your antigen configuration (antigen bundle, antigen bundles, antigen theme, etc).

This command is available only with cache enabled, ie: _ANTIGEN_CACHE_ENABLED=true.

antigen update

This is something you might not want to put in your .zshrc. Instead, run it occasionally to update all your plugins. It doesn’t take any arguments.

antigen update

Please note that the updates that are downloaded are not immediately available. You have to open a new shell to be able to see the changes. This is a limitation by design since reloading all the plugins might have some nasty side effects that may not be immediately apparent. Let’s just say it can make your shell act real quirky.

Please note: This command is not for updating antigen itself. Its for updating the bundles you are using with antigen. To update your copy of antigen, use the selfupdate command described further below.

antigen revert α

Reverts the state of all your plugins to how they were before the last antigen update. This command is currently experimental, so don’t rely too much on it. There is a test for it, and it passes, so it should work fine though.

Takes no options.

Insider detail: The information for reverting is stored in $ADOTDIR/revert-info file. If its not present, reverting is not possible.

antigen list

Use this command to list out the currently loaded plugins. Keep in mind that this includes any bundles installed on-the-fly.

antigen list [--short]

Without arguments it gives out four entries per line of output, denoting the following fields of each bundle.

<repo-url> <loc> <btype> <has-local-clone?>

The btype field is an internal detail, that specifies if the bundle is a plugin or a theme.

The final field is true or false reflecting whether there is a local clone for this bundle.

With --short argument it will only print short bundle names only.

antigen cleanup

Used to clean up the clones of repos which are not used by any plugins currently loaded. It takes no arguments. When run, it lists out the repo-clones that are available but are not used by any plugin currently loaded.

This command, by default asks for confirmation before deleting the unused clones. If the --force argument is given, then this confirmation is not asked. It straight away deletes all the unused clones. This option makes this command usable in a non-interactive fashion.

antigen purge

This command removes a bundle from filesystem. Usage:

antigen purge example/bundle [--force]

Where example/bundle is the bundle you want to purge from filesystem.

Take into account that the bundle will be removed from filesystem but next time you open up a shell, if you have an antigen bundle example/bundle line laying around, the bundle will be installed again.

This command, by default asks for confirmation before deleting bundles. If the --force argument is given, then this confirmation is not asked.

antigen reset

If cache is enabled this command will clean the generated cache. This is useful if you are using antigen-init command in order to reload bundle configuration changes.


antigen reset

Takes no further arguments.

antigen use

This command lets you load any (supported) zsh pre-packaged framework, like oh-my-zsh, as well as any library from custom url. Usage is

antigen use oh-my-zsh

Additional arguments may be present depending on the framework you are use-ing. Here are the supported frameworks.


This is (almost) the same as

antigen bundle --loc=lib

So, it basically installs the oh-my-zsh’s library as a bundle.

One other thing it does is that some oh-my-zsh plugins expect a $ZSH set to the full path of the oh-my-zsh clone being used. This is also set to the correct path, if not already set to something else.

Please note that this assumes that the ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL is set to the oh-my-zsh repo or a fork of that repo. If you want to specify the url too, then you can’t use the antigen use oh-my-zsh short cut. You have to do that directly with the antigen bundle command.


antigen use oh-my-zsh

in your .zshrc, before any antigen bundle declarations. It takes no further arguments.



antigen use prezto 

in your .zshrc, before any antigen bundle declarations. It takes no further arguments.

That is, it initializes the canonical repo of the prezto framework, Your .zshrc file could look like this:

antigen use prezto
antigen bundle sorin-ionescu/prezto modules/helper  # required for Git module
antigen bundle sorin-ionescu/prezto modules/editor
antigen bundle sorin-ionescu/prezto modules/git
antigen bundle sorin-ionescu/prezto modules/prompt
antigen apply

Please note that Prezto support is new and experimental. If you find any bugs, please report over on github issues. Also note that due to how Prezto is implemented Antigen has to alter ZDOTDIR environment variable, which is restored immediately after antigen apply command.

custom library


antigen use

in your .zshrc, before any antigen bundle declarations. It take all arguments antigen-bundle command does.

antigen theme

Used for switching the prompt theme. Invoke it with the name of the theme you want to use.

antigen theme fox

This will get the theme file located at themes/fox.zsh-theme in the repo specified by ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL.

To pull themes from other repositories, use antigen theme just like antigen bundle. Exactly the same, just make sure the url and loc combination point to a theme file, having a .zsh-theme extension.

For example,

antigen theme robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh themes/apple

Will pull the apple theme from the canonical oh-my-zsh repo. Also, note that the .zsh-theme extension is not present. It can be given, its optional.

To get themes from arbitrary git repos (such as gists) use,

antigen theme agnoster

in which case there is a file called agnoster.zsh-theme present in the gist at

You can use this command to change your theme on the fly in your shell. Go on, try out a few themes in your shell before you set it in your .zshrc.

Note: Some themes use functions that are loaded by antigen use oh-my-zsh. So, to avoid any trouble, run antigen use oh-my-zsh if you haven’t already before experimenting with themes. If you have antigen use oh-my-zsh in your .zshrc, you’re covered.

Note: Do not provide the --btype argument to antigen theme. Its an internal argument.

For the interested, you can read more details on the purpose & workings of the theme command on the comments of issue #78.

antigen apply

You have to add this command after defining all bundles you need, in your zshrc. The completions defined by your bundles will be loaded at this step.

It is possible to load completions as and when a bundle is specified with the bundle command, in which case this command would not be necessary. But loading the completions is a time-consuming process, so if the completions were loaded at every call to antigen bundle, your shell will start noticeably slow when you have a good number of bundle specifications.

However, if you can suggest a way so that this would not be necessary, I am very interested in discussing it. Please open up an issue with your details. Thanks.

antigen snapshot α

Creates a snapshot of all the clones you currently have active including the git version hash they are at and save it to a snapshot file. Active means, the clones for those listed by antigen cleanup are not included in the snapshot.

Takes one optional argument, the file name in which the snapshot is to be saved. Defaults to antigen snapshot.

Note: The snapshot currently only contains the details of those bundles that have a clone. That is, bundles that have --no-local-clone set or are directly sourced from your file system (without a git repo), are not recorded in the snapshot file.

antigen restore α

Restore the bundles state as specified in the snapshot. Takes one required argument, the snapshot file name to read.

Although it restores the clones of the repos specified in the snapshot file, any other clones present in your environment are not touched. This behavior may change in the future.

antigen selfupdate

Use this command to update your copy of antigen. It basically does a git pull on your antigen’s clone, if it is a git clone. Otherwise, it doesn’t do anything.

Takes no options.

antigen help

This exists so that there can be some help right in the command line. Currently it doesn’t provide much help other than redirecting you to the project page for documentation. It is intended to provide more meaning and sub-command specific help in the future.

I could use some help here as I’m not that good at writing documentation that looks good as output on the command line.


Install Antigen from our main repository for the latests and greatests version available:

curl > antigen.zsh

Or using your system package manager:


apt-get install zsh-antigen


brew install antigen


yaourt -S antigen-git

Remember that your package manager may install an older Antigen version.


The following environment variables can be set to customize the behavior of antigen. Make sure you set them before source-ing antigen.zsh.

ANTIGEN_DEFAULT_REPO_URL — This is the default repository url that is used for bundle commands. The default value is robbyrussell’s oh-my-zsh repo, but you can set this to the fork url of your own fork.

ADOTDIR — This directory is used to store all the repo clones, your bundles, themes, caches and everything else antigen requires to run smoothly. Defaults to $HOME/.antigen.

Note: ANTIGEN_REPO_CACHE & ANTIGEN_BUNDLE_DIR — These variables were used previously but are now removed. Please use ADOTDIR instead, as mentioned above.

Running the tests

All the tests are in the tests folder and are run using the cram test system. The latest version on that website, as of today is v0.5, which does not have the --shell argument which is required to run our tests. So, to get the correct version of cram, run

pip install cram==0.0.6

With that, once you have cram installed, you can run the tests as

make tests PYENV= SHELL=zsh

If you are making a feature addition, I’d really appreciate if you can add a test for your feature. Even if you can add a test for an existing feature, that would be great as the tests are currently seriously lagging behind the full functionality of antigen.

Notes on writing plugins

Most shell utilities/plugins are made up of just one file. For a plugin called awesomeness, create a awesomeness.plugin.zsh and code away.

That said, even if you write a single file as a .sh file with the goodness you want to create, antigen will work just fine with it. The *.plugin.zsh way is recommended by antigen, because it is widely used because of the oh-my-zsh project.

If you want to know how antigen loads the plugins, do continue.

Firstly, antigen looks for a *.plugin.zsh file in the plugin directory. If present, it will source only this script. Nothing else is sourced. This is for oh-my-zsh style plugins.

Secondly, it looks for a init.zsh file in the plugin directory. If present, Prezto will attempt to load the plugin with pmodload, removing “modules/” from the beginning of the plugin path if present. If pmodload is not available, Antigen will source only init.zsh and nothing else. This is for Prezto-style modules.

Otherwise, it looks for *.zsh files and if there are any, all of them are sourced. The order in which they are sourced is not currently defined. Please don’t rely on this order. Nothing else is sourced after all the *.zsh scripts.

If no *.zsh files are present, it finally looks for any *.sh files and sources all of them. Again, the order in which they are sourced in not currently defined.

No matter which (or none) of the above happen to be sourced, this plugin directory is added to the zsh’s function path ($fpath) so that any completions in it are loaded.

One exception to this rule is that if this plugin is a theme. In which case the theme script is just sourced and nothing else is done. Not even adding to $fpath.

A note on external zsh plugins

Antigen downloads zsh scripts and sources them, according to your specifications. As such, these scripts are capable of doing some real damage to your system. If you are only downloading scripts from oh-my-zsh and/or prezto, you’re probably fine, since there is a second level of manual checking before a script gets into the framework.

But, if you are adding a script from any other source, please check the source code of the plugin to see its not doing anything malicious, before adding it to your .zshrc.


Helping out

Antigen is licensed with the MIT License.

To contribute, please read the contributing wiki page before sending pull requests. If its a long/complicated change, please consider opening an issue first so we can discuss it out. Thanks!

Feedback please

Any comments/suggestions/feedback welcome. Please say hello to us on gitter. Or open an issue to discuss something (anything!) about the project ;).


These are some external articles wrote by Antigen users.

Plugins and Alternatives

The awesome-zsh-plugins list is a directory of plugins, themes and alternatives that you may find useful.