I want to search through a fixed set of files and I use the tags-search command for it:

(defvar my-files-form
  '(list "/path/to/one/file"

(defun search-my-files (regexp)
  (interactive "sSearch my files (regexp): ")
  (tags-search regexp my-files-form))

This works great when all files in my-files-form exist, but if, for instance, /path/to/one/file does not exist, then the command fails mid-search and will never look through the existing second file /path/to/another/file.

How can I ignore non-existing files in the search?

1 Answer 1


Filter the list with file-exists-p before passing it to tag-search to ignore non-existent files.

(defvar my-files-form

(defun search-my-files (regexp)
  (interactive "sSearch myfiles (regexp): ")
  (tags-search regexp (seq-filter 'file-exists-p my-files-form)))

Note that I got rid of the initial list in my-files-form. It's not needed, because you're already quoting the list of files.


  • seq-filter - This function returns a list of all the elements in sequence for which predicate returns non-nil.
  • file-exists-p - This function returns t if a file named filename appears to exist.
  • 1
    Works brilliantly. Thanks!
    – halloleo
    Commented Oct 14, 2022 at 5:18

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