It seems like this should be pretty straightforward since Emacs knows how to display images.

In a buffer, let's say I have a URL to an image like:


I'd like to put the caret on that url, call a function like expand-image-from-url and have it render the image in-line.

Is this something that's easily possible?

1 Answer 1


If you don't mind the image being displayed in a different buffer, just do

M-x ffap

If you insist on the image appearing in the current buffer, you'll need to do just a little more work:

(require 'url)

(defun insert-image-from-url (&optional url)
  (unless url (setq url (url-get-url-at-point)))
  (unless url
    (error "Couldn't find URL."))
  (let ((buffer (url-retrieve-synchronously url)))
         (let ((data (with-current-buffer buffer
                       (goto-char (point-min))
                       (search-forward "\n\n")
                       (buffer-substring (point) (point-max)))))
           (insert-image (create-image data nil t)))
      (kill-buffer buffer))))
  • That's the thing, I want it displayed inline in the same buffer.
    – bitops
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 21:30
  • 1
    You're a tough customer. Edited with some sample code.
    – jch
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 21:33
  • Very nice! One thing to note: I had to grab some of the 'thingatpt' packages to get it to work. I suppose url-get-url-at-point is not a built-in command.
    – bitops
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 23:00
  • 1
    You just need (require 'url).
    – jch
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 23:03
  • Thank you! Works perfectly.
    – giessel
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 19:05

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