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4 Short introduction how to use Tramp

Tramp extends the Emacs file name syntax by a remote component. A remote file name looks always like /method:user@host:/path/to/file.

You can use remote files exactly like ordinary files, that means you could open a file or directory by C-x C-f /method:user@host:/path/to/file <RET>, edit the file, and save it. You can also mix local files and remote files in file operations with two arguments, like copy-file or rename-file. And finally, you can run even processes on a remote host, when the buffer you call the process from has a remote default-directory.

4.1 File name syntax

Remote file names are prepended by the method, user and host parts. All of them, and also the local file name part, are optional, in case of a missing part a default value is assumed. The default value for an empty local file name part is the remote user's home directory. The shortest remote file name is /-::, therefore. The ‘-’ notation for the default host is used for syntactical reasons, Default Host.

The method part describes the connection method used to reach the remote host, see below.

The user part is the user name for accessing the remote host. For the smb method, this could also require a domain name, in this case it is written as user%domain.

The host part must be a host name which could be resolved on your local host. It could be a short host name, a fully qualified domain name, an IPv4 or IPv6 address, File name syntax. Some connection methods support also a notation of the port to be used, in this case it is written as host#port.

4.2 Using ssh and plink

If your local host runs an SSH client, and the remote host runs an SSH server, the most simple remote file name is /ssh:user@host:/path/to/file. The remote file name /ssh:: opens a remote connection to yourself on the local host, and is taken often for testing Tramp.

On MS Windows, PuTTY is often used as SSH client. Its plink method can be used there to open a connection to a remote host running an ssh server: /plink:user@host:/path/to/file.

sudo and sg methods

4.3 Using su, sudo and sg

Sometimes, it is necessary to work on your local host under different permissions. For this, you could use the su or sudo connection method. Both methods use ‘root’ as default user name and the return value of (system-name) as default host name. Therefore, it is convenient to open a file as /sudo::/path/to/file.

The method sg stands for “switch group”; the changed group must be used here as user name. The default host name is the same.

4.4 Using smbclient

In order to access a remote MS Windows host or Samba server, the smbclient client is used. The remote file name syntax is /smb:user%domain@host:/path/to/file. The first part of the local file name is the share exported by the remote host, ‘path’ in this example.

4.5 Using GVFS-based methods

On systems, which have installed the virtual file system for the Gnome Desktop (GVFS), its offered methods could be used by Tramp. Examples are /sftp:user@host:/path/to/file, /afp:user@host:/path/to/file (accessing Apple's AFP file system), /dav:user@host:/path/to/file and /davs:user@host:/path/to/file (for WebDAV shares).

4.6 Using Google Drive

Another GVFS-based method allows to access a Google Drive file system. The file name syntax is here always / ‘’ stands here for your Google Drive account.

4.7 Using Android

An Android device, which is connected via USB to your local host, can be accessed via the adb command. No user or host name is needed. The file name syntax is /adb::/path/to/file.