What is the easiest way to open the folder containing the current file by the default explorer of the OS (e.g. explorer.exe in the case of Windows OS)?

  • 1
    I have a hunch (browse-url-of-file default-directory) would do it, that works on osx with finder, I would think it would work with windows, but can't test it. Jan 27, 2015 at 16:05
  • @JordonBiondo it works! Please convert your comment to an answer.
    – Name
    Jan 27, 2015 at 16:07

5 Answers 5


Using browse-url-of-file should work when given a directory.

You could implement a command that opens the directory of the current file like this:

(defun browse-file-directory ()
  "Open the current file's directory however the OS would."
  (if default-directory
      (browse-url-of-file (expand-file-name default-directory))
    (error "No `default-directory' to open")))

Then M-x browse-file-directory should open up the directory in your OS's file browser.

  • There has been an small incompatibility with emacs 25.* in Windows, but the solution works fine with emacs 26.1 on Windows.
    – Name
    Aug 3, 2018 at 11:36
  • Would it be possible to get the file selected, like in VS? See trick 20 in dev.to/devmount/23-lesser-known-vs-code-shortcuts-as-gif-80 Jan 14, 2020 at 8:42
  • @user3341592 Use (shell-command (concat "start explorer /e,/select,\"" (replace-regexp-in-string "/" "\\\\" (buffer-file-name)) "\"")). See: davidcapello.com/blog/emacs/…
    – gsl
    Jul 24, 2020 at 17:55
  • 1
    This opens dired in Emacs 28 instead of the OS's file browser.
    – scribe
    Jun 2, 2021 at 18:39
  • 1
    @scribe Just change browse-url-of-file to browse-url in the code.
    – Name
    Jul 7, 2022 at 16:17

For MS Windows:

Load library w32-browser.el and use command w32explore. It does exactly what you are requesting. See MS Shell Execute.

If you also use Dired+ then M-RET on a file or dir name in Dired opens Windows Explorer for it.


Run shell-command (M+!) with the default explorer program and the current folder, e.g. for MS Windows, explorer .

(defun open-this-buffer-directory-on-windows()
  (shell-command "explorer .")
  • Welcome to Emacs.SE! Could you please a) format your code for the site, and b) provide enough commentary to explain what your code is doing.
    – Dan
    Apr 22, 2022 at 14:12
  • For some obscure reason, explorer appeared to return 1 even on success. Ended up having to replace shell-command with start-process, e.g. (start-process "EXPLORER" nil "explorer" "."). Mar 11 at 14:25

copy the full path to the clipboard at first:

;; you need install xsel under Linux
;; xclip has some problem when copying under Linux
(defun copy-yank-str (msg &optional clipboard-only)
  (unless clipboard-only (kill-new msg))
   ;; display-graphic-p need windows 23.3.1
   ((and (display-graphic-p) x-select-enable-clipboard)
    (x-set-selection 'CLIPBOARD msg))
   (t (with-temp-buffer
        (insert msg)
        (shell-command-on-region (point-min) (point-max)
                                  ((eq system-type 'cygwin) "putclip")
                                  ((eq system-type 'darwin) "pbcopy")
                                  (t "xsel -ib")))))))

(defun cp-fullpath-of-current-buffer ()
  "copy full path into the yank ring and OS clipboard"
  (when buffer-file-name
    (copy-yank-str (file-truename buffer-file-name))
    (message "file full path => clipboard & yank ring")))

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