i have zero coding skills but somehow (mainly goggle) managed to write this script

(defun z/dired-shell-other-window-beets ()
  "Open a shell with dired path in a new window and issue beet import on file at point "
  (let ((buf (shell)))
    (switch-to-buffer (other-buffer buf))
    (switch-to-buffer-other-window buf)
(insert (concat "beet import "  (dired-copy-filename-as-kill) ))


what im trying to do is issue a interactive shell command (beet import) on the current folder point is on in dired

i managed to get the beet import inserted to the new shell buffer thats opened but how do i follow that with the current dir name/path?

1 Answer 1


So there are already two keybindings that do something similar which we'll talk about and then we'll talk about making you're own command. First of all you can use dired-do-async-shell-command which is bound to & in dired. This will prompt for a command and will execute the command on the name of the filename that is marked or under your point. So you press & and then type "beet import" this will run your command! In a similar vein there is also dired-do-shell-command which is bound to !

The last option is if you will be calling this very very often you can write your own function modeled after dired-do-async-shell-command like this:

(defun dired-do-beet-import (&optional arg file-list)
   (let ((files (dired-get-marked-files t current-prefix-arg)))
  (dired-do-shell-command "beet import" arg file-list))

This version of the command opens a subshell to run the command in, it has less error checking and it only works for the file under the point and not for any files that are marked:

(defun dired-do-beet-import ()
  (let ((command (concat "beet import " (format "%S" (dired-get-filename)))))
    (with-current-buffer (shell)
      (insert command)
  • Thx so much Jules. the function above does work! yet i really need it to run in a shell since sometimes there is interaction needed with the beets command. is there anyway to open a shell window and see what the command is doing in addition to interacting with it (choose options) in the shell window?
    – zeltak
    Jun 14, 2016 at 15:14
  • I updated my answer with another version
    – Jules
    Jun 14, 2016 at 15:31
  • thx so much again. this is pretty epic ;-) yet there is still a small issue i think is due to not escaping the paths. when i issue the command i get this error: $ beet import /home/zeltak/mreview/Bangles/1986 Different Light error: no such file or directory: /home/zeltak/mreview/Bangles/1986 when i go and manually escape the path to $ beet import /home/zeltak/mreview/Bangles/1986\ Different\ Light/ the command works! i assume there is a way to escape the path in eshell properly? also small annoyance by me can the eshell open in a new split window as my original script ;-)
    – zeltak
    Jun 14, 2016 at 15:38
  • Should be fixed! Cheers!
    – Jules
    Jun 14, 2016 at 15:43

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