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30.2 Navigation in the Dired Buffer

All the usual Emacs cursor motion commands are available in Dired buffers. The keys C-n and C-p are redefined to run dired-next-line and dired-previous-line, respectively, and they put the cursor at the beginning of the file name on the line, rather than at the beginning of the line.

For extra convenience, <SPC> and n in Dired are equivalent to C-n. p is equivalent to C-p. (Moving by lines is so common in Dired that it deserves to be easy to type.) <DEL> (move up and unflag) is also often useful simply for moving up (see Dired Deletion).

j (dired-goto-file) prompts for a file name using the minibuffer, and moves point to the line in the Dired buffer describing that file.

M-s f C-s (dired-isearch-filenames) performs a forward incremental search in the Dired buffer, looking for matches only amongst the file names and ignoring the rest of the text in the buffer. M-s f M-C-s (dired-isearch-filenames-regexp) does the same, using a regular expression search. If you change the variable dired-isearch-filenames to t, then the usual search commands also limit themselves to the file names; for instance, C-s behaves like M-s f C-s. If the value is dwim, then search commands match the file names only when point was on a file name initially. See Search, for information about incremental search.

Some additional navigation commands are available when the Dired buffer includes several directories. See Subdirectory Motion.