im trying to write a function that will be used in dired where i would launch it on the file at point and it will convert it using pandoc. i have the following code chunk (warning: my coding skills are basiclly zero :))

 (defun  z/dired-shell-md2org ()
 (shell-command (concat "pandoc -o OUTPUT.org" (dired-file-name-at-point))))

the original pandoc command i use succesfuly is this

pandoc -o EDA.org EDA.md 

can anyone guide me on 2 things:

  1. how does one get the current file variable (i think its dired-file-name-at-point) to be the last word

  2. is there a way that instead of OUTPUT.org it will use the same filename (sans extension) of original file at point?

Basically i want the converted orf file to have the same name as the original md file

  • 1
    You should insert a space at the end of the string "pandoc -o OUTPUT.org" to separate the file names in the shell command. If you use shell-command you should also use quotes around file names, i.e. "\"...\"". Furthermore, file-name-sans-extension is your friend and look up the format function in the emacs-lisp help.
    – Tobias
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


Sounds like you want something like (format "pandoc -o %s.org" (file-name-base (dired-get-filename))) instead of (concat...). You can use dired-file-name-at-point if you want to, but that requires point to actually be on the file name, and not just somewhere on the same line. E.g. (untested):

(defun  z/dired-shell-md2org ()
 (let ((base  (file-name-base (dired-get-filename))))
   (shell-command (format "pandoc -o %s.org %.md" base base))))

Or this (to automatically quote file names for shell etc.):

(require 'dired-aux)

(defun  z/dired-shell-md2org ()
  (let* ((file  (dired-get-filename))
         (base  (file-name-base file)))
    (unless (string= ".md" (file-name-extension file :PERIOD))
      (error "File is not an MD file"))
      (dired-shell-stuff-it "pandoc -o "
                            (list (format " %s.org" base) (format " %s.md" base))
  • thx drew! when i run this while point is on a md file (index.md) i get this error: file-name-base: Symbol's function definition is void: dired-get-file-name
    – zeltak
    Commented Jul 22, 2016 at 14:31

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