So I wanted to basically copy the current selection, then yanking it into find-file, as when using:

  • C-SPC: set-mark-command
  • M-w: kill-ring-save
  • C-x C-f: find-file
  • C-y: yank

While that works great, I wanted to make it into a command if possible, so I tried and came up with this so far:

(define-advice kill-ring-save (:around (old-fun &rest args) highlight)
  "Save the text selection and keep the selection highlight."
  (let (deactivate-mark)
    (apply old-fun args)))

(defun find-file-region ()
  (execute-extended-command nil "kill-ring-save" nil)
  (call-interactively 'find-file)
  (yank nil))

Now, I'm using this particular kill-ring-save function, mostly because I found it work better than the default one, but that's just what I noticed in my workflow. And also because i didn't know how to use the default one in this particular endeavor

So this doesn't obviously work, my guess being is that it doesn't run yank after running (call-interactively 'find-file)

I've tried:

  • using default find-file but since it require a filename and doesn't just "open with current directory of the buffer/file" like it usually do if used in the keybinding, that didn't work either.

  • was replacing (call-interactively 'find-file) with (execute-extended-command nil "find-file" nil) but it did the same thing as far as I'm aware (that is, it didn't work either).


How could I pass the current selection/region (from C-SPC) to find-file and open the file whether it exists or not? (since usually, I recall find-file creates the file if it doesn't exist, which is what I want too).

Don't really care if it's done interactively or in the background, as I just did that to tinker around and see if it'll work.

  • 1
    Elisp tag doesn't apply here. Please read Elisp tag info
    – Muihlinn
    May 11 '20 at 12:51
  • Is this what you're looking for: (find-file (car kill-ring))?
    – Drew
    May 11 '20 at 17:03
  • @Muihlinn Thanks, didn't know :) May 11 '20 at 19:21
  • Thanks a lot for the very detailed edit on my post btw! I'll learn from it so i can make better post in the future @Drew May 11 '20 at 19:22
  • You're welcome. That's the idea. ;-)
    – Drew
    May 11 '20 at 22:12

The main problem lies in yanking nowhere useful because it'll yank after call-interactively returns, not inside its execution.

Basically you don't need anything else than calling this if you already have done M-w on region, as it actually adds it to kill-ring.

(defun find-file-region()
 (find-file (substring-no-properties (car kill-ring))))

The idea is passing the equivalent of pop'ing the kill-ring without discarding it.

Or you can skip the kill-ring steps using region's content making use of a similar approach.

(defun find-file-region()
  (if (region-active-p)
    (let ((str (buffer-substring (region-beginning) (region-end))))
      (find-file str))
    (message "No region active")))
  • I couldn't make the first code example work but the latter one work perfectly (the first one didn't match after doing eval-region but the second one did work) Thanks! May 11 '20 at 22:14
  • I forgot making it interactive so you cannot call it with M-x, sorry. It's corrected now.
    – Muihlinn
    May 12 '20 at 6:18
  • No worries, the second block worked great anyway :D Thanks a lot! May 12 '20 at 6:20

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