from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Auto-complete when editing a PHP file under Dreamweaver

Auto-completion or autocomplete (English. Autocomplete or word completion ) is a function that supplements user input in a meaningful way. The basis for completion is in any case a limited number of options, which are reduced in size equivalent to the progress and possibly the semantics of the user input. It is made available by many editors , integrated development environments or web applications .


There are different possibilities of realization through:

  • a combo box
  • displaying a possible text
  • the immediate insertion of a template text
  • repeated branching with unambiguous completion

Examples of this are procedures such as Text on 9 keys (T9) when writing SMS messages or input method editors , quick selections in the address book , additions to previous entries (e.g. in search bars, see suggestion search ), auto-completion in Office products, where there is depending on the program, among other things, dates or words completed, or command line completion in the command line , as is the case with some operating systems . The branching method shows in advance the next character to be typed with a clear continuation and thus corresponds to looking up in a Rolodex card index.


In integrated development environments , a syntactic and semantic check of the already entered source text supports the programmer with a list of suggestions for auto-completion. This list of source text suggestions includes, for example, previously declared variables , methods , functions and objects that can be accessed in the program context , as well as extensive templates of frequently used pieces of code ( templates and snippets). Microsoft refers to the road using the Visual Studios here as IntelliSense . In the Eclipse IDE it is called content assist .

Legal situation in Germany

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) announced a ruling on the so-called autocomplete function on May 14, 2013 (AZ VI ZR 269/12). Google has had this feature since 2009.

A businessman had sued Google. He felt that his personal rights and business reputation had been violated by automatically added search suggestions. When entering his full name, the search suggestions showed the autocompletions “ Scientology ” and “Fraud”, although he was in no way related to Scientology or was accused of fraud. He was right, so that Google is obliged to prevent such search suggestions in the future. This judgment also affects Bettina Wulff's lawsuit against Google.

With their ruling, the BGH judges overturned a different ruling by the Cologne Higher Regional Court. This now had to partially renegotiate the case and came to the judgment (Az. 15 U 199/11) that the disputed word combination had to be deleted by Google, but that the plaintiff was not entitled to compensation. With the deletion, Google complied with the plaintiff's request and there was no "particularly serious fault".

There have also been judgments against Google in other countries.

Individual evidence

  1. content assist in the Eclipse Platform Help. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  2. Federal Court of Justice : Federal Court of Justice decides on the admissibility of personal rights infringing search additions to "Google" on May 14, 2013. Accessed on July 16, 2013.
  3. Süddeutsche Zeitung : Google's Autocomplete violates personal rights on May 14, 2013. Accessed on December 3, 2013.
  4. Legal Tribune Online: Cologne Higher Regional Court on autocomplete function according to BGH judgment. Retrieved May 5, 2014 .
  5. Süddeutsche Zeitung : BGH judgment on search completion. Google filters itself on May 14, 2013. Retrieved on December 3, 2013.