Emacs: File Management (dired tutorial)

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Emacs is a excellent tool for file management. For example, listing files, copy/delete files, rename files, moving files, creating/deleting directory. Once you become familiar with it, you almost never go back to shell or the OS desktop for these tasks.

emacs dired
A Screenshot of emacs's feature for file management.

“dired” is short for Directory Edit. It is a old term for file management.

{Copy, Delete, Rename} File

To start viewing directory, called diredCtrl+x d】. Or, use the menu 〖File ▸ Open Directory…〗.

Here's a list of common basic commands:

Enter ↵Open the file
qClose the dir
CCopy file
RRename/move file
DDelete file
+create a new dir
Zcompress/decompress the file by gzip
the Operate menu in Emacs's dired mode
Emacs's dired mode's Operate menu.

Mark/Unmark Multiple Files

Sometimes you want to copy or delete many files. You can mark the files, then apply a command on all marked files. To mark a file, press m. Here's a list of basic marking commands:

mmark a file
Uunmark all marked
% mmark by pattern (regex)

For example, if you want to mark all HTML files, type 【% m】, then type \.html$.

Dired Navigation

Here are other common dired commands:

grefresh dir listing
^go to parent dir

dired is often used in combination with shell-commandAlt+!】. For example, suppose you downloaded a program and is going thru the install process of {gunzip, untar, configure, make, sudo make install}. You can run these command inside emacs by calling shell, or you can just execute them one at a time by calling shell-commandAlt+!】. 〔➤ Emacs Shell Tutorial (Bash, cmd.exe, PowerShell)

Menu as Cheatsheet

When you are in dired mode, there are 3 new graphical menus: {〖Operate〗, 〖Mark〗, 〖Regex〗}. These menus lists the commands specific to dired. They are very useful as a cheatsheet. So, if you forgot what's the key to press to do something, look up in these menus.

(info "(emacs) Dired")

Renaming Many Files

See: Emacs: Rename Files Interactively by Pattern (regex; wdired).

Advanced Dired Tips & Settings

For more dired tips, see:

Open File (PDF, image, …) in External App

Emacs Lisp: Open File in External App

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