Bookmarks in the bookmarks file appear to be saved using absolute paths. This creates conflicts resolving bookmarks in a file that is synced across different computers:

Absolute path computer 1: /user/sync/file_with_bookmark

Absolute path computer 2: C:\sync\file_with_bookmark

The absolute path of either file is used when writing to the emacs bookmarks file, which is also synced across both computers. Is there a way to save the bookmark in a way that would work on either computer? For example, perhaps the synced path for each computer could be expanded when resolving the bookmark?

Emacs 25.1

  • 1
    Have you tried using symlinks?
    – user12563
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 22:13

1 Answer 1


It looks like the relevant bookmark function is bookmark-get-filename. You could advise this to expand or otherwise transform the path.

For example, add some 'filter return' advice to call expand-file-name:

 (advice-add 'bookmark-get-filename :filter-return 'expand-file-name)


To be able to share a bookmarks file between systems, you need some way to map between paths. In your example it looks like you have a root 'sync' directory on each system, so you could do something like this:

(defconst sync-dir
  (if (eq system-type 'windows-nt)

(defun sync-relative-name (file)
   ((file-exists-p file)
   ((string-match "^.+/sync/\\(.+\\)" file)
    (expand-file-name (match-string 1 file) sync-dir))
   (t file)))

(advice-add 'bookmark-get-filename :filter-return 'sync-relative-name)

That is:

  • Define the root path for your sync tree on each system.
  • Define a function that can take the absolute path from one system and convert it to the equivalent on the other system. Here I'm just taking everything after sync/ and using that to build a new path, relative to the local sync dir.
  • Use this function to advise `bookmark-get-filename'.
  • Yes, the two computers are unix (specifically OSX) and Windows. Could you elaborate on the solution to consolidate synced bookmarks for these two platforms?
    – Snelephant
    Commented Dec 13, 2016 at 23:25

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