I can refresh my dired buffer using M-x revert-buffer

and I've seen multiple places that I can do this more easily using g but don't understand how that would be run. Does it mean M-x g or running g <RET> somehow?

Searched around but haven't figured out what basic trick I'm missing so thanks for the help.

  • 1
    It very literally means type g. Which presumably you have already tried, but do not think it's working? What are you expecting to see, which you are not seeing from typing g ?
    – phils
    Apr 15, 2019 at 12:18
  • yeah I thought I created a subdirectory, that i wasn't seeing but I'll go back and check the whole thing again. Thanks for confirming, just thought commands had to be either C- or M- but clearly not Apr 15, 2019 at 13:11
  • It's common for modes that don't involve directly editing text, like dired, magit, info etc., to bind 'naked' keys to commands. This should be clear from the documentation: if you need to press Meta/Alt, or Control, the documentation will specify that explicitly: M-g and C-g, for example. If the documentation refers to a single key (i.e., g) for a command, you should just press that key.
    – Tyler
    Apr 15, 2019 at 17:32
  • thanks both. tried g again and yeah of course it works. Apr 15, 2019 at 17:46
  • "just thought commands had to be either C- or M- but clearly not" -- Indeed. FYI even when you are entering text, each letter you insert is the result of a command bound to the associated key (generally self-insert-command).
    – phils
    Apr 15, 2019 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


You can see what command a key sequence is bound to by using 'M-x describe-key' (normally bound to 'C-h k').

Switching to a dired buffer and running C-h k gives an extensive help text. The start is:

g runs the command revert-buffer (found in dired-mode-map), which is                                                                                                                                               
an interactive compiled Lisp function in ‘files.el’.                                                                                                                                                               

It is bound to g, <menu-bar> <immediate> <revert-buffer>, <menu-bar>                                                                                                                                               
<file> <revert-buffer>. 

From this we learn that g is bound to 'revert-buffer' and the binding is in 'dired-mode-map'.

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