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23.9 File Directories

The file system groups files into directories. A directory listing is a list of all the files in a directory. Emacs provides commands to create and delete directories, and to make directory listings in brief format (file names only) and verbose format (sizes, dates, and authors included). Emacs also includes a directory browser feature called Dired; see Dired, the Directory Editor.

C-x C-d dir-or-pattern <RET>

Display a brief directory listing (list-directory).

C-u C-x C-d dir-or-pattern <RET>

Display a verbose directory listing.

M-x make-directory <RET> dirname <RET>

Create a new directory named dirname.

M-x delete-directory <RET> dirname <RET>

Delete the directory named dirname. It must be empty, or you get an error.

The command to display a directory listing is C-x C-d (list-directory). It reads using the minibuffer a file name which is either a directory to be listed or a wildcard-containing pattern for the files to be listed. For example,

C-x C-d /u2/emacs/etc <RET>

lists all the files in directory ‘/u2/emacs/etc’. Here is an example of specifying a file name pattern:

C-x C-d /u2/emacs/src/*.c <RET>

Normally, C-x C-d displays a brief directory listing containing just file names. A numeric argument (regardless of value) tells it to make a verbose listing including sizes, dates, and owners (like ‘ls -l’).

The text of a directory listing is mostly obtained by running ls in an inferior process. Two Emacs variables control the switches passed to ls: list-directory-brief-switches is a string giving the switches to use in brief listings ("-CF" by default), and list-directory-verbose-switches is a string giving the switches to use in a verbose listing ("-l" by default).

In verbose directory listings, Emacs adds information about the amount of free space on the disk that contains the directory. To do this, it runs the program specified by directory-free-space-program with arguments directory-free-space-args.

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