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AB.6 Dired Marks vs. Flags

Instead of flagging a file with `D', you can mark the file with some other character (usually `*'). Most Dired commands to operate on files use the files marked with `*', the exception being x which deletes the flagged files.

Here are some commands for marking with `*', or for unmarking or operating on marks. (See section AB.3 Deleting Files with Dired, for commands to flag and unflag files.)

* m
Mark the current file with `*' (dired-mark). With a numeric argument n, mark the next n files starting with the current file. (If n is negative, mark the previous -n files.)

* *
Mark all executable files with `*' (dired-mark-executables). With a numeric argument, unmark all those files.

* @
Mark all symbolic links with `*' (dired-mark-symlinks). With a numeric argument, unmark all those files.

* /
Mark with `*' all files which are actually directories, except for `.' and `..' (dired-mark-directories). With a numeric argument, unmark all those files.

* s
Mark all the files in the current subdirectory, aside from `.' and `..' (dired-mark-subdir-files).

* u
Remove any mark on this line (dired-unmark).

Move point to previous line and remove any mark on that line (dired-unmark-backward).

* !
Remove all marks from all the files in this Dired buffer (dired-unmark-all-marks).

* ? markchar
Remove all marks that use the character markchar (dired-unmark-all-files). The argument is a single character--do not use RET to terminate it. See the description of the * c command below, which lets you replace one mark character with another.

With a numeric argument, this command queries about each marked file, asking whether to remove its mark. You can answer y meaning yes, n meaning no, or ! to remove the marks from the remaining files without asking about them.

* C-n
Move down to the next marked file (dired-next-marked-file) A file is "marked" if it has any kind of mark.

* C-p
Move up to the previous marked file (dired-prev-marked-file)

* t
Toggle all marks (dired-do-toggle): files marked with `*' become unmarked, and unmarked files are marked with `*'. Files marked in any other way are not affected.

* c old-markchar new-markchar
Replace all marks that use the character old-markchar with marks that use the character new-markchar (dired-change-marks). This command is the primary way to create or use marks other than `*' or `D'. The arguments are single characters--do not use RET to terminate them.

You can use almost any character as a mark character by means of this command, to distinguish various classes of files. If old-markchar is a space (` '), then the command operates on all unmarked files; if new-markchar is a space, then the command unmarks the files it acts on.

To illustrate the power of this command, here is how to put `D' flags on all the files that have no marks, while unflagging all those that already have `D' flags:

* c D t  * c SPC D  * c t SPC

This assumes that no files were already marked with `t'.

% m regexp RET
* % regexp RET
Mark (with `*') all files whose names match the regular expression regexp (dired-mark-files-regexp). This command is like % d, except that it marks files with `*' instead of flagging with `D'. See section AB.4 Flagging Many Files at Once.

Only the non-directory part of the file name is used in matching. Use `^' and `$' to anchor matches. Exclude subdirectories by hiding them (see section AB.13 Hiding Subdirectories).

% g regexp RET
Mark (with `*') all files whose contents contain a match for the regular expression regexp (dired-mark-files-containing-regexp). This command is like % m, except that it searches the file contents instead of the file name.

Undo changes in the Dired buffer, such as adding or removing marks (dired-undo). This command does not revert the actual file operations, nor recover lost files! It just undoes changes in the buffer itself. For example, if used after renaming one or more files, dired-undo restores the original names, which will get the Dired buffer out of sync with the actual contents of the directory.

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