Table of Contents


1 Eshell

1.1 Overview

Eshell is a shell implemented in Emacs with many commands implemented in Elisp which makes it cross platform and highly integrated to Emacs. The commands ls, pwd, cd and etc. works in the same way for Linux, Windows or OSX. In Windows OS it is a good alternative to cmd.exe.

Command to clear Eshell. It can be invoked with $ clear in eshell.


  • Shell implemented in Emacs Lisp
  • Integrated to Emacs
  • Eshell can run elisp functions and can be extended in Elisp.
  • It is Multiplatform, works on Linux, OSX and Windows.



1.3 Start Eshell Directly from command line

Start eshell directly in a new Emacs sessions in the terminal wihout load init.el.

$ emacs -Q -q -nw --eval '(eshell)'


$ emacs -Q -q -nw -f eshell


Start eshell directly in a new Emacs Window

emacs -q -f eshell # Don't load init file.


emacs -q -f eshell # Load init file


1.4 Useful elisp commands inside eshell

Eshell can run Elisp command - M-x <command> like ordinary Unix shell apps.

Open a file in the current window

  • $ find-file /etc/hosts.conf

Open a file in other window

  • $ find-file-other-window /etc/host.conf

Open a file in other frame

  • $ find-file-other-frame /etc/host.conf

Browser a directory in current window

  • $ dired /var/log

Browser a directory in another window

  • $ dired-other-window /var/log

Browser a directory in another frame

  • $ dired-other-frame /var/log

1.5 Clear eshell

(defun eshell/clear ()
  "clear the eshell buffer."
  (let ((inhibit-read-only t))

In eshell:

~ $ which eshell
eshell is an interactive compiled Lisp function in `eshell.el'
~ $

Before the command clear:


After the command clear:


1.6 Set eshell prompt

1.6.1 Simple prompt

(setq eshell-prompt-function (lambda () "eshell > "))


Prompt with current directory

1.6.2 Colorized prompt

(setq eshell-prompt-function
      (lambda nil
         (propertize (eshell/pwd) 'face '(:foreground "#8787af"))
         (propertize "❯" 'face '(:foreground "#f75f5f"))
         (propertize "❯" 'face '(:foreground "#ffaf5f"))
         (propertize "❯" 'face '(:foreground "#87af5f"))
         (propertize " " 'face nil))))


1.7 Change Eshell current directory

This command can be used in Menus or with helm.

(defun eshell-chdir (path)  
  (with-current-buffer "*eshell*"
    (cd path)

(eshell-chdir "~/Downloads")

1.8 Change Eshell current directory to current buffer

Usage: M-x eshell-cwd

(defun eshell-cwd ()
  Sets the eshell directory to the current buffer

  Usage: M-x eshell-cwd 

  (let (
        (path (file-name-directory (or  (buffer-file-name) default-directory)))

    (with-current-buffer "*eshell*"
      (cd path)

1.9 Open eshell in another window

Source: mini-eshell.el

Usage: M-x open-mini-eshell

;; open up a mini-eshell
(defun quarter-window-vertically ()
  "create a new window a quarter size of the current window"
  (other-window 1)
  (other-window -1)

(defun open-mini-eshell ()
  "open a mini-eshell in a small window at the bottom of the current window"
  (other-window 1)

1.10 Open eshell in another frame

Usage: M-x eshell-other-frame

(defun eshell-other-frame ()
  Open eshell in another frame.

  Usage: M-x eshell-other-frame 
  (with-selected-frame (make-frame)

1.11 Open eshell file names from ls output with Return key

Source: Emacs Wiki

This code allows to open files from $ ls command output by selecting the file name and hitting return or by clicking with the middle mouse button.

(eval-after-load "em-ls"
       (defun ted-eshell-ls-find-file-at-point (point)
         "RET on Eshell's `ls' output to open files."
         (interactive "d")
         (find-file (buffer-substring-no-properties
                     (previous-single-property-change point 'help-echo)
                     (next-single-property-change point 'help-echo))))

       (defun pat-eshell-ls-find-file-at-mouse-click (event)
         "Middle click on Eshell's `ls' output to open files.
 From Patrick Anderson via the wiki."
         (interactive "e")
         (ted-eshell-ls-find-file-at-point (posn-point (event-end event))))

       (let ((map (make-sparse-keymap)))
         (define-key map (kbd "RET")      'ted-eshell-ls-find-file-at-point)
         (define-key map (kbd "<return>") 'ted-eshell-ls-find-file-at-point)
         (define-key map (kbd "<mouse-2>") 'pat-eshell-ls-find-file-at-mouse-click)
         (defvar ted-eshell-ls-keymap map))

       (defadvice eshell-ls-decorated-name (after ted-electrify-ls activate)
         "Eshell's `ls' now lets you click or RET on file names to open them."
         (add-text-properties 0 (length ad-return-value)
                              (list 'help-echo "RET, mouse-2: visit this file"
                                    'mouse-face 'highlight
                                    'keymap ted-eshell-ls-keymap)

1.12 Functions to copy eshell data to clipboard

1.12.1 Copy current directory

(defun clipboard/set (astring)
  "Copy a string to clipboard"

    (insert astring)
    (clipboard-kill-region (point-min) (point-max))))

;; Copy current directory to clipboard 
;; Usage:  Enter $ copy-pwd in eshell 
(defun eshell/copy-pwd ()
 (clipboard/set (eshell/pwd)))

;; Copy file name with full path to clipboard 
;; Usage: Enter $ copy-fpath <filename> in eshell. 
(defun eshell/copy-fpath (fname)

  (let ((fpath (concat (eshell/pwd) "/" fname)))

       (clipboard/set fpath)
       (concat "Copied path: " fpath)))


1.13 Creating Eshell aliases programatically

(eshell/alias "ff" "find-file $1")

(eshell/alias "fw" "find-file-other-window $1")

(eshell/alias "fr" "find-file-other-frame $1")

Example of usage:


Created: 2018-07-26 Thu 07:42

Emacs 25.3.1 (Org mode 8.2.10)