Dired normally uses the external program
to produce the directory listing displayed in Dired
buffers (see Dired). However, MS-Windows and MS-DOS systems don’t
come with such a program, although several ports of GNU
are available. Therefore, Emacs on those systems emulates
ls in Lisp, by using the ls-lisp.el package. While
ls-lisp.el provides a reasonably full emulation of
there are some options and features peculiar to that emulation;
they are described in this section.
ls emulation supports many of the
ls switches, but
it doesn’t support all of them. Here’s the list of the switches it
does support: -A, -a, -B, -C,
-c, -G, -g, -h, -i, -n,
-R, -r, -S, -s, -t, -U,
-u, -v, and -X. The -F switch is
partially supported (it appends the character that classifies the
file, but does not prevent symlink following).
On MS-Windows and MS-DOS, ls-lisp.el is preloaded when Emacs
is built, so the Lisp emulation of
ls is always used on those
platforms. If you have a ported
ls-lisp-use-insert-directory-program to a non-
will revert to using an external program named by the variable
The order in which ls-lisp.el sorts files depends on several customizable options described below.
The default sorting order follows locale-specific rules derived from
your system locale. You can make the order locale-independent by
ls-lisp-use-string-collate to a
On GNU and Unix systems, when the locale’s encoding is UTF-8, the
collation order follows the Unicode Collation Algorithm
(UCA). To have a similar effect on MS-Windows, the variable
ls-lisp-UCA-like-collation should have a non-
(this is the default). The resulting sorting order ignores
punctuation, symbol characters, and whitespace characters, so
.foobar, foobar and foo bar will appear
together rather than far apart.
By default, ls-lisp.el uses a case-sensitive sort order for
the directory listing it produces; this is so the listing looks the
same as on other platforms. If you wish that the files be sorted in
case-insensitive order, set the variable
By default, files and subdirectories are sorted together, to emulate
the behavior of
ls. However, native MS-Windows/MS-DOS file
managers list the directories before the files; if you want that
behavior, customize the option
ls-lisp-dirs-first to a
ls-lisp-verbosity controls the file attributes
that ls-lisp.el displays. The value should be either
nil or a list that contains one or more of the symbols
links means display
the count of different file names that are associated with (a.k.a.
links to) the file’s data; this is only useful on NTFS volumes.
uid means display the numerical identifier of the user who owns
gid means display the numerical identifier of the
file owner’s group. The default value is
(links uid gid) i.e.,
all the 3 optional attributes are displayed. The value
means not to display any of these attributes.
ls-lisp-emulation controls the flavor of the
ls emulation by setting the defaults for the 3 options
ls-lisp-verbosity. The value of
this option can be one of the following symbols:
Emulate GNU systems; this is the default. This sets
(links uid gid).
Emulate Unix systems. Like
GNU, but sets
Emulate macOS. Sets
Emulate MS-Windows. Sets
nil on Windows 9X and to
t on modern versions of
Windows. Note that the default emulation is not
MS-Windows, even on Windows, since many users of Emacs on those
platforms prefer the GNU defaults.
Any other value of
ls-lisp-emulation means the same as
Customizing this option calls the function
update the 3 dependent options as needed. If you change the value of
this variable without using customize after ls-lisp.el is loaded
(note that it is preloaded on MS-Windows and MS-DOS), you can call that
function manually for the same result.
ls-lisp-support-shell-wildcards controls how
file-name patterns are supported: if it is non-
default), they are treated as shell-style wildcards; otherwise they
are treated as Emacs regular expressions.
ls-lisp-format-time-list defines how to format
the date and time of files. The value of this variable is
ignored, unless Emacs cannot determine the current locale. (However,
if the value of
nil, Emacs obeys
ls-lisp-format-time-list even if
the current locale is available; see below.)
The value of
ls-lisp-format-time-list is a list of 2 strings.
The first string is used if the file was modified within the current
year, while the second string is used for older files. In each of
these two strings you can use ‘%’-sequences to substitute parts
of the time. For example:
("%b %e %H:%M" "%b %e %Y")
Note that the strings substituted for these ‘%’-sequences depend on the current locale. See Time Parsing in The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, for more about format time specs.
Normally, Emacs formats the file time stamps in either traditional
or ISO-style time format. However, if the value of the variable
ls-lisp-use-localized-time-format is non-
formats file time stamps according to what
ls-lisp-format-time-list specifies. The ‘%’-sequences in
ls-lisp-format-time-list produce locale-dependent month and day
names, which might cause misalignment of columns in Dired display.
The default value of