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Omitting Files in Dired

Omitting a file means removing it from the directory listing. Omitting is useful for keeping Dired buffers free of "uninteresting" files (for instance, auto-save, auxiliary, backup, and revision control files) so that the user can concentrate on the interesting files. Like hidden files, omitted files are never seen by Dired. Omitting differs from hiding in several respects:

(dired-omit-toggle) Toggle between displaying and omitting "uninteresting" files. With a prefix argument, don't toggle and just mark the files, but don't actually omit them.

In order to make Dired Omit work you first need to load `dired-x.el' inside dired-load-hook (See section Installation) and then set dired-omit-files-p in some way (See section Omitting Variables).

Omitting Variables

The following variables can be used to customize omitting.


Default: nil

If non-nil, "uninteresting" files are not listed. Uninteresting files are those whose filenames match regexp dired-omit-files, plus those ending with extensions in dired-omit-extensions. M-o (dired-omit-toggle) toggles its value, which is buffer-local. Put

(setq dired-omit-files-p t)

inside your dired-mode-hook to have omitting initially turned on in every Dired buffer (See section Installation). You can then use M-o to unomit in that buffer.

To enable omitting automatically only in certain directories one can use Dired Local Variables and put

Local Variables:
dired-omit-files-p: t

into a file `.dired' (the default value of dired-local-variables-file) in that directory (See section Local Variables for Dired Directories).


This is an interactive function that creates a local variables file exactly like the example above (if it does not already exist) in the file dired-local-variables-file in the current directory and then refreshes the directory listing (See section Local Variables for Dired Directories).

  • dired-omit-files

    Default: "^#\\|\\.$"

    Filenames matching this buffer-local regexp will not be displayed. This only has effect when dired-omit-files-p is t.

    The default value omits the special directories `.' and `..' and autosave files (plus other files ending in ".") (See section Examples of Omitting Various File Types).

  • dired-omit-extensions

    Default: The elements of completion-ignored-extensions (as defined in the file `loaddefs.el' of the GNU Emacs distribution), dired-latex-unclean-extensions, dired-bibtex-unclean-extensions and dired-texinfo-unclean-extensions.

    If non-nil, a list of extensions (strings) to omit from Dired listings. Its format is the same as that of completion-ignored-extensions.

  • dired-omit-localp

    Default: 'no-dir

    The localp argument dired-omit-expunge passes to dired-get-filename. If it is 'no-dir, omitting is much faster, but you can only match against the non-directory part of the filename. Set it to nil if you need to match the whole pathname or t to match the pathname relative to the buffer's top-level directory.

  • dired-omit-marker-char Default: C-o

    Temporary marker used by by Dired to implement omitting. Should never be used as marker by the user or other packages. There is one exception to this rule: by doing

    (setq dired-mark-keys "\C-o")
    ;; i.e., the value of dired-omit-marker-char
    ;; (which is not defined yet)

    anywhere in your `~/.emacs', you will bind the C-o key to insert a C-o marker, thus causing these files to be omitted in addition to the usually omitted files. Unfortunately the files you omitted manually this way will show up again after reverting the buffer, unlike the others.

  • Examples of Omitting Various File Types

    Some Technical Details of Omitting

    Loading `dired-x.el' will install Dired Omit by putting dired-omit-expunge on your dired-after-readin-hook, and will call dired-extra-startup, which in turn calls dired-omit-startup in your dired-mode-hook.

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