I'd like to have Dired pop up, either as a side window (like Treemacs) or just to switch to its buffer (in the main window) with a keystroke.

I've already changed its behavior to reuse the same buffer instead of opening a new one per dir.

I know I can just use switch buffer.. but Dired's buffer name keeps changing to reflect the current dir - so it's not as seamless as I would like. I suspect it already exists in Dired+ or something, but I couldn't find it.

2 Answers 2


The question isn't too clear. C-x d pops up Dired. If you want it to do that with a single keystroke then just bind a single keystroke key sequence to command dired (or dired-other-window).

Or maybe you mean that you want a command/key that pops up Dired for the current directory (aka default-directory)? These commands do that - they just call dired, passing it the current directory as arg:

(defun dired-here ()
  (dired default-directory))

(defun dired-here-other-window ()
  (dired-other-window default-directory))
  • Thanks! Though that's not what I meant. I'll clarify. I want to have dired opened to some arbitrary dir, then to be able to conveniently hide it (go back to the buffer I was visiting before calling dired) and move back to it again later - while it's still displaying the same arbitrary dir.
    – user39849
    Feb 1, 2023 at 8:55
  • (1) Questions need to stand on their own, saying clearly what's requested - comments can be deleted at any time. (2) Your comment is answered by just using C-x b followed by M-p (perhaps repeated) or M-r. But the last part, while it's still... isn't clear at all: move back to the Dired buffer while it's still displaying the same arbitrary dir? What's meant by moving back to something that's still displayed? I answered the question as posed. If you really meant to pose a different question the do that separately - but please specify it clearly. Thx.
    – Drew
    Feb 1, 2023 at 16:02

Not sure whether you mean toggling the last visited dired buffer or some other dired buffer.

For the latter you can just use bookmarks. Set a bookmark to a dired buffer with M-x bookmark-set, call it my my-dired-buffer and keep re-bookmarking the same name to different buffers. Bind a key to jump to it:

(define-key global-map (kbd "<f7>")
  (lambda () (interactive)
    (if (equal (expand-file-name (bookmark-location "my-dired-buffer"))
               (expand-file-name default-directory))
      (bookmark-jump "my-dired-buffer"))))

If you are already in the bookmarked buffer this will take you back to the last buffer.

For the former, I think you just need to keep track of the last dired buffer and wrap your dired jump function with something that updates the tracking variable:

(setq my-last-dired-buffer nil)

(defun my-open-dired-bufer ()
  (setq my-last-dired-buffer (current-buffer)))

(define-key global-map (kbd "<f7>")
  (lambda () (interactive)
    (if (equal (current-buffer) my-last-dired-buffer)
      (switch-to-buffer my-last-dired-buffer))))

Note this only keeps track of buffers that were opened with my-open-dired-buffer.

You can also add a setter to set the current buffer as the last buffer:

(defun my-last-dired-buffer-set ()
  (setq my-last-dired-buffer-set (current-buffer)))

In fact, you can just use this instead of using bookmarks and just don't wrap the dired-jump function and set the tracking variable with the setter manually.

You can complicate this quite a bit, but I am not sure it is worth it. It is very easy to change buffers in Emacs especially if you are using Evil mode, maybe with something like Doom Emacs.

Note, I haven't tested the above code heavily. But you get the idea I hope.

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