Emacs has commands for performing many other operations on files. All operate on one file; they do not accept wildcard file names.
M-x delete-file prompts for a file and deletes it. If you are
deleting many files in one directory, it may be more convenient to use
Dired rather than
delete-file. See Deleting Files with Dired.
M-x move-file-to-trash moves a file into the system Trash (or Recycle Bin). This is a facility available on most operating systems; files that are moved into the Trash can be brought back later if you change your mind. (The way to restore trashed files is system-dependent.)
By default, Emacs deletion commands do not use the Trash. To
use the Trash (when it is available) for common deletion commands,
change the variable
This affects the commands M-x delete-file and M-x
delete-directory (see File Directories), as well as the deletion
commands in Dired (see Deleting Files with Dired). Supplying a prefix
argument to M-x delete-file or M-x delete-directory makes
them delete outright, instead of using the Trash, regardless of
If you have
delete-by-moving-to-trash set, and you want to
delete files manually in Emacs from the Trash directory, using
commands like D (
dired-do-delete) doesn’t work well in
the Trash directory (it’ll just give the file a new name, but won’t
delete anything). If you want to be able to do this, you should
.dir-locals.el file containing something like the
following in the Trash directory:
((dired-mode . ((delete-by-moving-to-trash . nil))))
Note, however, if you use the system “empty trash” command, it’s
liable to also delete this
.dir-locals.el file, so this should
only be done if you delete files from the Trash directory manually.
M-x insert-file (also C-x i) inserts a copy of the contents of the specified file into the current buffer at point, leaving point unchanged before the contents. The position after the inserted contents is added to the mark ring, without activating the mark (see The Mark Ring).
M-x insert-file-literally is like M-x insert-file, except the file is inserted literally: it is treated as a sequence of ASCII characters with no special encoding or conversion, similar to the M-x find-file-literally command (see Visiting Files).
M-x write-region is the inverse of M-x insert-file; it
copies the contents of the region into the specified file. M-x
append-to-file adds the text of the region to the end of the
specified file. See Accumulating Text. The variable
write-region-inhibit-fsync applies to these commands, as well
as saving files; see Customizing Saving of Files.
M-x set-file-modes reads a file name followed by a file
mode, and applies that file mode to the specified file. File modes,
also called file permissions, determine whether a file can be
read, written to, or executed, and by whom. This command reads file
modes using the same symbolic or octal format accepted by the
chmod command; for instance, ‘u+x’ means to add
execution permission for the user who owns the file. It has no effect
on operating systems that do not support file modes.
chmod is a
convenience alias for this function.