Is there some way to download and show a file from a URI/URL?

I now I can use wget and then open the downloaded file and I guess I could even try to write myself a small function to do this.

But most likely someone did before me so is there a function/package that will let me get a file from the internets (would be great if it did not save the file somewhere first) and open it in a new buffer?

3 Answers 3

M-x url-handler-mode
C-x C-f http://emacs.stackexchange.com/questions/21180/is-there-a-way-to-show-open-a-file-from-a-uri-url

This opens the HTML file of this stackexchange question in your Emacs.

  • 1
    yes nice - is there a way to combine this into a single command so I don't have to change the mode of some random buffer first?
    – Random Dev
    Mar 23, 2016 at 11:51
  • 4
    url-handler-mode is a global minor mode, not a major mode. Just put (url-handler-mode 1) into your init file.
    – phils
    Mar 23, 2016 at 12:06

If you want the file "rendered", you can use the web browser eww - just do M-x eww RET url RET


You can turn URLs in a buffer into clickable buttons with Emacs goto-address-mode minor mode. If the URL represents a web page, then you can get Emacs to browse that page by clicking on the URL button.

Turn this mode on/off with: M-x goto-address-mode

This works with Emacs running in Graphics mode and in terminal mode. A special key map is activated when point is over the URL button. The C-c RET key sequence is bound to goto-address-at-point which makes Emacs browse the web page.

It's also possible to add key binding to that special map. In my system I added keys to navigate to the next or previous URL and to copy he content of the file identified by the URL into a local temporary file and then visit it. To do that add a function to the goto-address-mode-hook that maps commands into the goto-address-highlight-keymap.

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