The operating system groups files into directories. To specify a file, you must specify the directory and the file’s name within that directory. Therefore, Emacs considers a file name as having two main parts: the directory name part, and the nondirectory part (or file name within the directory). Either part may be empty. Concatenating these two parts reproduces the original file name. 20
On most systems, the directory part is everything up to and including the last slash (backslash is also allowed in input on MS-DOS or MS-Windows); the nondirectory part is the rest.
For some purposes, the nondirectory part is further subdivided into the name proper and the version number. On most systems, only backup files have version numbers in their names.
This function returns the directory part of filename, as a
directory name (see Directory Names), or
filename does not include a directory part.
On GNU and other POSIX-like systems, a string returned by this function always ends in a slash. On MS-DOS it can also end in a colon.
(file-name-directory "lewis/foo") ; GNU example ⇒ "lewis/"
(file-name-directory "foo") ; GNU example ⇒ nil
This function returns the nondirectory part of filename.
(file-name-nondirectory "lewis/foo") ⇒ "foo"
(file-name-nondirectory "foo") ⇒ "foo"
(file-name-nondirectory "lewis/") ⇒ ""
This function returns filename with any file version numbers, backup version numbers, or trailing tildes discarded.
If keep-backup-version is non-
nil, then true file version
numbers understood as such by the file system are discarded from the
return value, but backup version numbers are kept.
(file-name-sans-versions "~rms/foo.~1~") ⇒ "~rms/foo"
(file-name-sans-versions "~rms/foo~") ⇒ "~rms/foo"
(file-name-sans-versions "~rms/foo") ⇒ "~rms/foo"
This function returns filename’s final extension, if any,
file-name-sans-versions to remove any
version/backup part. The extension, in a file name, is the part that
follows the last ‘.’ in the last name component (minus any
This function returns
nil for extensionless file names such as
foo. It returns
"" for null extensions, as in
foo.. If the last component of a file name begins with a
‘.’, that ‘.’ doesn’t count as the beginning of an
extension. Thus, .emacs’s extension is
If period is non-
nil, then the returned value includes
the period that delimits the extension, and if filename has no
extension, the value is
This function returns filename with its extension set to extension. A single leading dot in the extension will be stripped if there is one. For example:
(file-name-with-extension "file" "el") ⇒ "file.el" (file-name-with-extension "file" ".el") ⇒ "file.el" (file-name-with-extension "file.c" "el") ⇒ "file.el"
Note that this function will error if filename or
extension are empty, or if the filename is shaped like a
directory (i.e., if
directory-name-p returns non-
This function returns filename minus its extension, if any. The version/backup part, if present, is only removed if the file has an extension. For example,
(file-name-sans-extension "foo.lose.c") ⇒ "foo.lose" (file-name-sans-extension "big.hack/foo") ⇒ "big.hack/foo" (file-name-sans-extension "/my/home/.emacs") ⇒ "/my/home/.emacs" (file-name-sans-extension "/my/home/.emacs.el") ⇒ "/my/home/.emacs" (file-name-sans-extension "~/foo.el.~3~") ⇒ "~/foo" (file-name-sans-extension "~/foo.~3~") ⇒ "~/foo.~3~"
Note that the ‘.~3~’ in the two last examples is the backup part, not an extension.
This function is the composition of
file-name-nondirectory. For example,
(file-name-base "/my/home/foo.c") ⇒ "foo"
This function splits a file name into its components, and can be
thought of as the inverse of
string-join with the appropriate
directory separator. For example,
(file-name-split "/tmp/foo.txt") ⇒ ("" "tmp" "foo.txt") (string-join (file-name-split "/tmp/foo.txt") "/") ⇒ "/tmp/foo.txt"
Emacs follows the GNU convention to use the term file name instead of the term pathname. We use the term path only for search paths, which are lists of directory names.