Our project has a folder structure which makes navigating files a bit of a hassle.

--> libs
    --> libA
    --> libB
--> utils
    --> utilA
--> apps
    --> appTypeA
         ---> appA
         ---> appB
    --> appTypeB
--> external

My colleague uses SublimeText and he has this search bar, which just treats all files as if they were in the current folder in combination with a fuzzy name matching which works great for our project. Can I achive something similar with my emacs?

Edit: using projectile solves the question. One simple way to get this to work is by installing prelude, which also includes helm and helm-projectile.

  • 2
    Also see my Projectile guide with many demos what it's capable of.
    – Tu Do
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 9:50

2 Answers 2


You need projectile, probably the most popular Emacs package.

(require 'projectile)
(setq projectile-indexing-method 'alien)
(setq projectile-enable-caching t)

If you use Icicles then a prefix arg with C-x C-f etc. lets you match your input against absolute file names, which means that you can match directory components etc. (You can also bind command icicle-find-file-absolute directly to a key, to avoid having to use a prefix arg.)

Input pattern matching can be fuzzy, using various fuzzy-matching algorithms. You can switch matching mode on the fly.

More importantly, regardless of the kind of matching you use, you can match against multiple patterns, to narrow the choices progressively (progressive completion).

Completion can match file names (as usual) or file contents, or both.

More info.

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