Brand new emacs user here.

I want to have the ability of opening a terminal with current file path from emacs, like what the open terminal here package does in sublime text 2.

By terminal, I mean a separate external terminal emulator running bash or zsh, like gnome-terminal, not the emulated shells inside emacs, like M-x shell M-x eshell, which I can't appreciate for now.

I googled but had nothing found... It seems that emacs guys really enjoy living in emacs.

  • Have you tried M-x ansi-term? It's much better than shell. I use it and it works really well. Or do you mean a new graphical terminal (like opening a gnome-terminal)? – PythonNut Jan 23 '15 at 5:37
  • @PythonNut I've just tried it, it even couldn't handle the tab completion... So I still prefer a new terminal window. Ahhh, I've just tried M-! gnome-terminal, it works. I'm wondering why M-! bash couldn't do it. – Ply_py Jan 23 '15 at 5:51
  • @Ply_py I think you need to tell terminal emulator and shell. bash is a shell, M-! bash surely won't do what you want. Please find out what terminal emulator you're using first. – kuanyui Jan 23 '15 at 6:41
  • @kuanyui Ahh, I just searched these two words... and found the answers here. Clearly I mixed up the notions of shell and terminal(emulator). Thanks, I'll edit the question. – Ply_py Jan 23 '15 at 8:10
  • shell and ansi-term definitely do handle tab completion, at least with bash. I use shell every day. – wdkrnls Jan 23 '15 at 14:43

Another try that disowns the process so your terminal will survive even after emacs is killed.

(defun run-gnome-terminal-here ()
  (interactive "@")
  (shell-command (concat "konsole --workdir"
            (file-name-directory (or load-file-name buffer-file-name)) 
              " > /dev/null 2>&1 & disown") nil nil))
  • Is there a way to tie the spawned terminal to the lifetime of the emacs process? – Gregory Nisbet Aug 12 '17 at 23:52
  • This doesn't work (emacs freezes until the terminal exits) if your terminal generates any debug messages when loading. To fix, swap the order of 2>&1 and >/dev/null (so that >/dev/null comes first). – Mark Aug 14 '17 at 13:06
  • When I try this, Emacs doesn't even let me call the function. After evaluation, the mini buffer says gnome-terminal-here but when entering gnome-terminal-here, it says [No match]. – UTF-8 Sep 17 '17 at 23:14
  • @UTF-8 That's because the function wasn't declared as an interactive command. See my edit. – Gilles Sep 18 '17 at 22:26

What terminal emulator are you using? Take KDE's Konsole as example, just write a function:

(defun open-konsole ()
  (call-process "konsole" nil 0 nil "--workdir" default-directory))

The args from 5st place are konsole's argument. See your prefered terminal simulator's man page.

M-x open-konsole will open a new konsole process and use current default-directory (pwd in ELisp) as working directory.

  • One can open new tab if konsole is already running with (call-process "konsole" nil 0 nil "--new-tab" "--workdir" default-directory). Also (call-process "wmctrl" nil 0 nil "-a" "\" – Konsole\"") to activate its window. – Adobe Jan 23 '15 at 18:36

The other answers didn't work for me. This code does:

(defun open-gnome-terminal ()
  (shell-command "gnome-terminal"))

Most of the time I use shell-mode. So I heavily use shell-here. But when I need external terminal. I use urxvt-client with tmux using this:

  • Create file named 'term-here' in /usr/local/bin/ containing
urxvtc -e bash -c "tmux -q has-session && exec tmux attach-session -d || exec tmux new-session -n$USER -s$USER@$HOSTNAME"
  • Create new function in emacs
(defun term-here ()
  (start-process "" nil "term-here"))
  • Bind to your favorite key

This will open urxvt-client (with tmux) in your current directory. I bind it in dired-mode-map.

(use-package dired
  :ensure nil
  :ensure-system-package urxvt
  :bind ((:map dired-mode-map
           ("," . term-here))))

I choose urxvt-client because it is fast and simple. Don't forget to run your urxvt-daemon at startup.


You can use the external package terminal-here. This does only one thing, but does it well; exactly what you requested. And works for me on multiple OS.

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