I use Emacs 26.3 on Ubuntu 20.04 and I often need to manipulate org files with Ubuntu file manager. It would save me a lot of time if I could open directories from emacs file links. For example, I would like to be able to open folder PRISM through the following link : [[./References/Deliverables/PRISM/proposal.org][PRSM Proposal]].


I don't know much about Ubuntu at the desktop level, but on my Gnome desktop, I can open a directory in the file manager from the command line, using the command xdg-open /path/to/directory. I assume there is something similar (or perhaps identical) to xdg-open on the Ubuntu desktop.

If so, all you have to do is write a function that parses the link at point, selects the directory part of the path (which may be the whole path, or it may be a prefix of the path, as in your example) and then calls xdg-open (or whatever the Ubuntu equivalent is) with that path as argument. Then you bind the function to a key and off you go.

Here's a function that looks at the link at point and calls xdg-open with the directory part of the path of the link.

#+begin_src emacs-lisp
  (defun ndk/desktop-open-link-at-point()
    (let* ((context
            (org-element-lineage (org-element-context) '(link) t))
           (type (org-element-type context))
           (path (org-element-property :path context))
           (dirpath (if (file-directory-p path)
                      (file-name-directory path))))
      (shell-command (format "xdg-open %s" dirpath) nil nil)))

For convenience, bind the function to the key <M-S-f12> (i.e. Meta-Shift-FunctionKey12) or some other undefined key in your keymaps:

#+begin_src emacs-lisp
(define-key global-map (kbd "<M-S-f12>") #'ndk/desktop-open-link-at-point)
  • Thanks a lot NickD, it worked perfectly! And for the record, xdg-open works on Ubuntu. Do you by any chance know how can I list all emacs defined keys, so I can define a key which isn't already defined ? – crocefisso Sep 17 '20 at 15:26
  • See Keymaps in the Emacs Lisp doc but be warned: things are not simple. You might want to start with the more introductory sections of the Emacs manual: Keys and Key Bindings before you tackle the first link. – NickD Sep 17 '20 at 15:52
  • I found C-h b (describe-bindings) which displays a list of all the key bindings in effect. – crocefisso Sep 18 '20 at 7:28
  • Just realize that whatever is in effect in this buffer is not necessarily the same as what is in effect in the next buffer you visit: it depends on the buffer's major mode and all the minor modes enabled (at least). – NickD Sep 18 '20 at 12:18

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