Cool Things to do in Emacs' Dired Mode

Delete some files in the Downloads folder

My Downloads folder is always out of control. There are always a
ton of pdf files that I opened once in a browser but don't need to
save. It's a pain to open a GUI file navigator, like Nautilus, and
double click on each pdf file to view it and see if it should be
tossed. However with Emacs, trimming my Downloads directory of old
files is quick and easy.

Viewing Pdfs in Emacs

If you see a pdf with an uninformative name like 2010-09.pdf just
hit <enter> when the cursor is on the file name, (when
the file name is at point). Emacs will open the pdf in a new
buffer. Once you have viewed the pdf and have decided its face you can
quickly kill the pdf buffer with 'k' and you'll be returned to
the directory. Now, if the pdf is unimportant, queue it to be deleted
with 'd'. If you want to keep the file, but give it a better
name, type 'R' to rename it.

To unqueue a file for deletion, use 'u'. And finally to
delete all the files currently queued for deletion, type 'x'.

Dired mode emacs

Delete old Emacs backup files

If you have a lot of backup files that emacs created with ~ appended to
the file name, you can quickly queue them all for deletion by typing '~'.

Here's the List of Directory Organizing Commands


key combo command
<enter> open file at point
d Queue File For Deletion
u Unqueue File
~ Queue Backup Files for Del
x eXecute Queued Delete Jobs
R Rename File
k Kill PDF Buffer
C-x C-q Edit Directory as a File

Edit Zip'd or Tar-gz'd archives in place

If you need to edit a file inside a zip or tar archive, simply open
the archive by hitting <enter> on the name in Dired mode, then
click on the file. Edit the file and save it with 'C-x C-s',
and then do another C-x C-s inside the zip buffer to save the
archive with the file changes. The archive will be compressed again
with your changes.

OMG!: Change File Owner, Group, Mode


key combo command
O change owner
M change mode
G change group
Z compress file

Encrypt, Decrypt Files

Use ':e' to encrypt the file at point. Emacs will ask who you want to
encrypt the file for (ie whose public key to use to encrypt the file.)
You can also encrypt the file symmetrically with a password. Once the
file is encrypted, there will be two files in the directory: the
original file and the encrypted file with '.gpg' added to the file
name.

Decrypt

To open the symmetrically encrypted file, click on its name and you
will be prompted for a password. You can also type ':d' when
the filename is at point.

EasyPG Assistant Docs

The program that is used to encrypt the file's is EasyPG Assistant.
EasyPG Assistant Manual

Get More Help

Type 'C-hm' (describe mode) while in dired-mode, to pop open a help
buffer, with a description of dired mode and a list of commands.

All Key Combinations named in post


key combo command
d mark file for deletion
u unmark file
x eXecute queued deletions
R rename/move file
O change owner
M change mode
G change group
Z compress file
y show only certain file type
w copy file name
RET open file at point
k if in pdf buffer, kill
C-x C-s Save file or archive
i insert sub-directory
~ mark all backup files for deletion
C-x C-q edit directory listing as a file

Cool Things to do in Emacs' Dired Mode