To prevent creation of a buffer every single time I enter a directory in dired I use this:

(put 'dired-find-alternate-file 'disabled nil)

My problem now is that when I visit a file from dired pressing RET and then kill it, dired buffer is killed too.

Would it be possible to reuse dired buffer only for directories?


Load library Dired+ (dired+.el). Then use C-M-R (aka C-M-S-r) to toggle whether Dired should reuse dired buffers.

If you want to turn this reuse on by default, do this in your init file:

(diredp-toggle-find-file-reuse-dir 1)
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If you get used to the fact that a replaces the current (dired) buffer with the selected file/directory, then you're not limited by a default approach; you just use the option you want at the time.

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The solution (accepted answer) by Drew of using Dired+ didn't work for me (it was messing with my dired buffers so that only folders/file names appeared, but not all the other info normally in dired buffer. It could be to do with one of my customisations).

I then found another that worked way using dired-simple.el . After downloading the linked file and placing it in your load path, include this in your init file

      (require 'dired-single)

      (defun my-dired-init ()
        "Bunch of stuff to run for dired, either immediately or when it's
        ;; <add other stuff here>
        (define-key dired-mode-map [return] 'dired-single-buffer)
        (define-key dired-mode-map [mouse-1] 'dired-single-buffer-mouse) 
        (define-key dired-mode-map "^"
         (lambda nil (interactive) (dired-single-buffer "..")))))

      ;; if dired's already loaded, then the keymap will be bound
      (if (boundp 'dired-mode-map)
        ;; we're good to go; just add our bindings
        ;; it's not loaded yet, so add our bindings to the load-hook
        (add-hook 'dired-load-hook 'my-dired-init))
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  • To resolve the problem you mentioned with dired+, try setting the following: (customize-set-variable 'diredp-hide-details-initially-flag nil) – nispio May 10 '16 at 21:45

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