Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

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Exploring Dired (plus a cheatsheet!)

Exploring Dired (plus a cheatsheet!)

Published . Tags: emacs.

I’ve been using Emacs for years, but I’ve never really delved into Dired, the built-in directory editor and file browser. I finally put in some time with it this morning, and it’s really great!

I’ve usually only used it to perform interactive bulk file renaming, since it’s amazing for that, but there’s a lot of other neat stuff in Dired, too. For example:

  • It can quickly compress and decompress files with gzip using Z.
  • It’ll encrypt and decrypt files, and create and verify GPG signatures with :e/:d/:s/:e.
  • It can select files by their content using regexps with % g.
  • You can create symlinks through it with S (I can never remember the order of arguments for ln -s, so this is a big win for me).

The official GNU documentation is terrific but intimidatingly comprehensive. I couldn’t find a great summary, so I wrote up a Dired cheatsheet.

If you’d like to modify it and make your own cheatsheet, here’s the org-mode source code I used to build mine.