I am learning Dired in Evil mode.
h j k l / are Evil keys that obviously work in Dired. Are there others?

Is there a table of Evil keys for Dired?

I am using Emacs 25.2.1 with Evil, Spacemacs, and Ivy.

  • 2
    I encourage learning the default keybindings for dired, the interface is more reliable than overlaying evil, and dired is already optimized to have an efficient interface...you can automatically open dired in emacs state with (add-to-list 'evil-emacs-state-modes 'dired-mode)
    – Henry
    Commented Jan 11, 2018 at 15:02
  • The Source code obviously show a complete table
    – HanleyLee
    Commented Jun 5, 2022 at 3:22
  • @Henry I think any interface whose idea of "up" and "down" is "n" and "p" instead of home-row keys (assuming qwerty) is at best relatively/opinionatedly "optimized to have an efficient interface" (as opposed to both objectively and absolutely).
    – mtraceur
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 7:06
  • What I mean by my last comment is that: while there is some value in learning the Dired native interface, it's not necessarily the best we can do - it might be the best we can do for users used to Emacs (for example, n and p for down and up make more sense if you're already used to C-n and C-p), but they're not necessarily objectively the best keys for the job, and they're probably even less of a good fit for someone thoroughly trained up on vi-style motion. Dired also has some redundancy out-of-the-box (e, f, and RET all bound to dired-find-file, for example).
    – mtraceur
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 17:50

2 Answers 2


Here are a few things you can try to see available keys:

? -- actually this is partly wrong because

SPC ? dired

F1 m (describe-mode)

SPC h SPC dired -- this lets you jump to the code for the layer that configures dired, spacemacs-base, which for key bindings purposes is mostly about keys to run dired rather than once you're using dired

Here are some dired keys I find useful (in fact nearly all are the same as in stock emacs, so you can also just read the info page with F1 i and much of it will correct key bindings still -- follow menus using m to go to Emacs -> Dired).

Note that 'marking' files lets you operate on multiple files at once when e.g. copying or moving files.

  • RET or f Open file or directory
  • o Open file in a separate window
  • ^ Up directory
  • + Create a directory
  • R Rename / move
  • C Copy
  • M Change file/directory mode (unix file/directory permissions)
  • d Delete
  • m Mark
  • u Unmark / undelete
  • x 'Expunge' -- i.e. actually delete files/directories marked for deletion
  • And how do I perform the operations on all my marked files?
    – Witek
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 9:39
  • 1
    @Witek (responding to your comment 4 years late) you just do the operation? e.g. if you marked some files and you want to copy them, press C Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 15:30

I found it more helpful to approach this the other way around - what are the conflicts between Evil and Dired?

If we put Dired buffers in Evil's motion state (you can get this to be the default with (add-to-list 'evil-motion-state-modes 'dired-mode) in your config) we get a familiar, vi-like baseline.

Then we just need a list of what we "lose" - keys in Dired that are shadowed by Evil's motion keys, and what functions they are bound to:

Key Dired function Notes
B dired-do-byte-compile
e dired-find-file also bound on RET and f
f dired-find-file also bound on RET and e
F dired-do-find-marked-files
g revert-buffer
G dired-do-chgrp
h describe-mode also bound on C-h m
H dired-do-hardlink
j dired-goto-file
k dired-do-kill-lines
l dired-do-redisplay
L dired-do-load
M dired-do-chmod
n dired-next-line
N dired-man
t dired-toggle-marks
T dired-do-touch
v dired-view-file
V dired-do-run-mail
w dired-copy-filename-as-kill
W browse-url-of-dired-file
y dired-show-file-type
Y dired-do-relsymlink
! dired-do-shell-command
# dired-flag-auto-save-files
$ dired-hide-subdir
% prefix to another keymap many commands - transforming filenames, regex-involving operations, etc
^ dired-up-directory
* prefix to another keymap many commands - related to Dired's marks
( dired-hide-details-mode
- negative-argument
+ dired-create-directory
: prefix to another keymap just four GPG functions (epa-dired / "EasyPG Assistant")
? dired-summary
RET dired-find-file also bound on e and f
C-u universal-argument Evil only shadows this if configured to
C-v scroll-up-command

So with that starting point, you can just look at the standard Dired and Dired Extra documentation to learn what all the other keys do.

(Besides C-d, C-u, C-v, I didn't check modified keys for collisions between Evil motion state and Dired. I think vi/vim/Evil only use Ctrl-modified keys though, and only some of those are motions.)

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