In helm, when executing following code:

(let ((things (list "a" "aa" "aaaa")))
     (completing-read "Thing: " things))

... how can I exit the minibuffer and return "aaa"?

  • Dunno about for Helm, but for ordinary completing-read you just type aaa RET. The case you show uses lax completion (the REQUIRE-MATCH arg is absent, aka nil), so you can enter anything you want to: aaa, zz, whatever.
    – Drew
    Jun 3, 2017 at 21:38
  • The problem is that aaa RET will return "aaaa" when using helm. I know I can use helm-comp-read and get the desired behavior programatically but I need this to work for 3rd party packages as well. In essence I am looking for a command to quit the helm buffer with currently typed input.
    – mkcms
    Jun 3, 2017 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


EDIT: This issue was fixed in helm on June 6th, 2017. See commit 09b6fcd.

After hours spent on searching it seems to me that helm forces matching input with completing-read, so I wrote my own command to quit helm sessions without matching. It allows exiting helm sessions with whatever is in the minibuffer via M-# and works by advising completing-read.

(defvar accepted-minibuffer-contents nil
  "Minibuffer contents saved in `force-exit-minibuffer-now'.")

(defun force-exit-minibuffer-now ()
  "Exit minibuffer (successfully) with whatever contents are in it.
Exiting helm sessions via this function doesn't attempt to match
the minibuffer contents with candidates supplied to `completing-read'."
  (if minibuffer-completion-confirm
    (setq accepted-minibuffer-contents (minibuffer-contents))

(define-key helm-map (kbd "M-#") 'force-exit-minibuffer-now)

(defun my-completing-read (orig-fn &rest args)
  (let* ((accepted-minibuffer-contents nil)
     (result (apply orig-fn args)))
    (or accepted-minibuffer-contents result)))

(advice-add 'completing-read :around 'my-completing-read)

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