I want to open just the head of a large file.

I know you can use a shell command (M-! RET head file RET), but I lose helm completion, it opens in a separate window, and the buffer has the uninformative name of *Shell Command Output*.

How can I open large files with head (or something similar)?

1 Answer 1


I suggest you use the vlf package.

It handles opening larges files in chunks and is very performant, I use it regularly to open files ~2gb.

In your config, require vlf-setup to have vlf ask you if you want to use vlf every time you try to open a large file. This means it works with anything that uses find-file such as helm-find-files.

  • Way better solution than what I was even asking for. Thanks a bunch!
    – salotz
    Dec 11, 2015 at 19:10

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