Zed supports ways to spawn (and rerun) commands using its integrated terminal to output the results. These commands can read a limited subset of Zed state (such as a path to the file currently being edited or selected text).

    "label": "Example task",
    "command": "for i in {1..5}; do echo \"Hello $i/5\"; sleep 1; done",
    //"args": [],
    // Env overrides for the command, will be appended to the terminal's environment from the settings.
    "env": { "foo": "bar" },
    // Current working directory to spawn the command into, defaults to current project root.
    //"cwd": "/path/to/working/directory",
    // Whether to use a new terminal tab or reuse the existing one to spawn the process, defaults to `false`.
    "use_new_terminal": false,
    // Whether to allow multiple instances of the same task to be run, or rather wait for the existing ones to finish, defaults to `false`.
    "allow_concurrent_runs": false,
    // What to do with the terminal pane and tab, after the command was started:
    // * `always` — always show the terminal pane, add and focus the corresponding task's tab in it (default)
    // * `never` — avoid changing current terminal pane focus, but still add/reuse the task's tab there
    "reveal": "always"

There are two actions that drive the workflow of using tasks: task: spawn and task: rerun task: spawn opens a modal with all available tasks in the current file. task: rerun reruns the most-recently spawned task. You can also rerun tasks from task modal.

Task templates

Tasks can be defined:

  • in global tasks.json file; such tasks are available in all Zed projects you work on. You can edit them by using zed: open tasks action.
  • in worktree-specific (local) tasks.json file; such tasks are available only when working on a project with that worktree included. You can edit worktree-specific tasks by using zed: open local tasks.
  • on the fly with oneshot tasks. These tasks are project-specific and do not persist across sections.
  • by language extension.


Zed tasks act just like your shell; that also means that you can reference environmental variables via sh-esque $VAR_NAME syntax. A couple of additional environmental variables are set for your convenience. These variables allow you to pull information from the current editor and use it in your tasks. The following variables are available:

  • ZED_COLUMN: current line column
  • ZED_ROW: current line row
  • ZED_FILE: absolute path of the currently opened file (e.g. /Users/my-user/path/to/project/src/main.rs)
  • ZED_FILENAME: filename of the currently opened file (e.g. main.rs)
  • ZED_DIRNAME: absolute path of the currently opened file with file name stripped (e.g. /Users/my-user/path/to/project/src)
  • ZED_RELATIVE_FILE: path of the currently opened file, relative to ZED_WORKTREE_ROOT (e.g. src/main.rs)
  • ZED_STEM: stem (filename without extension) of the currently opened file (e.g. main)
  • ZED_SYMBOL: currently selected symbol; should match the last symbol shown in a symbol breadcrumb (e.g. mod tests > fn test_task_contexts)
  • ZED_SELECTED_TEXT: currently selected text
  • ZED_WORKTREE_ROOT: absolute path to the root of the current worktree. (e.g. /Users/my-user/path/to/project)
  • ZED_CUSTOM_RUST_PACKAGE: (Rust-specific) name of the parent package of $ZED_FILE source file.

To use a variable in a task, prefix it with a dollar sign ($):

  "label": "echo current file's path",
  "command": "echo $ZED_FILE"

You can also use verbose syntax that allows specifying a default if a given variable is not available: ${ZED_FILE:default_value}

These environmental variables can also be used in tasks cwd, args and label fields.

Oneshot tasks

The same task modal opened via task: spawn supports arbitrary bash-like command execution: type a command inside the modal text field, and use opt-enter to spawn it.

Task modal will persist list of those command for current Zed session, task: rerun will also rerun such tasks if they were the last ones spawned.

You can also adjust currently selected task in a modal (opt-e is a default key binding). Doing so will put it's command into a prompt that can then be edited & spawned as an oneshot task.

Ephemeral tasks

You can use cmd modifier when spawning a task via a modal; tasks spawned this way will not have their usage count increased (thus, they will not be respawned with task: rerun and they won't be have a high rank in task modal). The intended use of ephemeral tasks is to stay in the flow with continuous task: rerun usage.

Custom keybindings for tasks

You can define your own keybindings for your tasks via additional argument to task::Spawn. If you wanted to bind the aforementioned echo current file's path task to alt-g, you would add the following snippet in your keymap.json file:

  "context": "Workspace",
  "bindings": {
    "alt-g": ["task::Spawn", { "task_name": "echo current file's path" }]

Binding runnable tags to task templates

Zed supports overriding default action for inline runnable indicators via workspace-local and global tasks.json file with the following precedence hierarchy:

  1. Workspace tasks.json
  2. Global tasks.json
  3. Language-provided tag bindings (default).

To tag a task, add the runnable tag name to tags field on task template:

  "label": "echo current file's path",
  "command": "echo $ZED_FILE",
  "tags": ["rust-test"]

In doing so, you can change which task is shown in runnables indicator.