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6.3 File name completion

Tramp can complete the following Tramp file name components: method names, user names, host names, and file names located on remote hosts. Enable this by activating partial completion in .emacs.

For example, type C-x C-f / s <TAB>, Tramp completion choices show up as


sbin/ scp: scpx: sftp: sg:
smb: srv/ ssh: sshx: su:
sudo: sys/

ssh:’ is a possible completion for the respective method, and ‘sbin/’ stands for the directory /sbin on your local host.

Type s h : for the minibuffer completion to ‘/ssh:’. Typing <TAB> shows host names Tramp extracts from ~/.ssh/config file, for example.


ssh: ssh:
ssh:[::1]: ssh:localhost: ssh:melancholia:

Choose a host from the above list and then continue to complete file names on that host.

When the configuration (see Customizing Completion) includes user names, then the completion lists will account for the user names as well.

Remote hosts previously visited or hosts whose connections are kept persistently (see Connection caching) will be included in the completion lists.

After remote host name completion comes completion of file names on the remote host. It works the same as with local host file completion except that killing with double-slash // kills only the file name part of the Tramp file name syntax. A triple-slash stands for the default behavior.


     C-x C-f /ssh:melancholia:/usr/local/bin//etc <TAB>
          -| /ssh:melancholia:/etc
     C-x C-f /ssh:melancholia://etc <TAB>
          -| /etc
     C-x C-f /ssh:melancholia:/usr/local/bin///etc <TAB>
          -| /etc

During file name completion, remote directory contents are re-read regularly to account for any changes in the filesystem that may affect the completion candidates. Such re-reads can account for changes to the file system by applications outside Emacs (see Connection caching).

— User Option: tramp-completion-reread-directory-timeout

The timeout is number of seconds since last remote command for rereading remote directory contents. A value of 0 re-reads immediately during file name completion, nil uses cached directory contents.