I'm using emacs (technically: spacemacs with helm). It seems that any time I call a function which requires a directory, I am presented with something like the following:

enter image description here

The problem:

If I am in /a/path/to/a/directory but I want to get to /a/path/to/a/directory/that/has/a/deep/nested_file, I cannot just type nested_file and have it autocomplete. Instead I have to type each nested level of directories before I can get to nested_file.

Is there a way around this?

  • github.com/bling/fzf.el might be of interest.
    – Ista
    Sep 9, 2017 at 17:46
  • If you've visited the file before and have recentf enabled, helm-recentf will let you open the file quickly.
    – Qudit
    Apr 7, 2018 at 19:57

1 Answer 1


You can use package helm-locate while searching by issuing C-u C-x C-f. This will, however, search globally.

If you are in a Git repository you can also do helm-ls-git-ls with C-x C-d, searching in the Git repository. This requires the package helm-ls-git.

See also https://github.com/emacs-helm/helm/issues/539 as a reference.

Edit: You need to set keybindings as follows:

(global-set-key (kbd "C-x C-f") 'helm-find-files)
  • helm-locate seems to search for directories. In this particular case, (i.e., with append-to-file) the command is searching for files, and issuing C-u C-x C-f doesn't start helm-locate. I'm running Emacs 25.
    – George
    Jul 14, 2017 at 6:39
  • I added a bounty for a related question in case it's of interest: emacs.stackexchange.com/questions/34087/…
    – George
    Jul 14, 2017 at 6:40

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