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Dired Sidebar


With VsCode Icons & Spacemacs Light ./screenshots/vscode.png

With All the Icons & Solarized Light ./screenshots/one.png

With Arrows & Seoul-256 ./screenshots/arrows.png

With Text UI & Doom Peacock ./screenshots/tui.png



I recommend using use-package.

(use-package dired-sidebar
  :ensure t
  :commands (dired-sidebar-toggle-sidebar))

Minimal Bootstrap using Git

git clone
cd dired-sidebar
pwd # [Put this in load path.]

git clone
cd dired-hacks
pwd # [Put this in load path.]

Add config to Emacs:

(add-to-list 'load-path "path from pwd")
(require 'dired-sidebar)
M-x dired-sidebar-toggle-sidebar

My Settings

(use-package dired-sidebar
  :bind (("C-x C-n" . dired-sidebar-toggle-sidebar))
  :ensure t
  :commands (dired-sidebar-toggle-sidebar)
  (add-hook 'dired-sidebar-mode-hook
            (lambda ()
              (unless (file-remote-p default-directory)
  (push 'toggle-window-split dired-sidebar-toggle-hidden-commands)
  (push 'rotate-windows dired-sidebar-toggle-hidden-commands)

  (setq dired-sidebar-subtree-line-prefix "__")
  (setq dired-sidebar-theme 'vscode)
  (setq dired-sidebar-use-term-integration t)
  (setq dired-sidebar-use-custom-font t))

For configuration, I recommend looking at the defcustoms in dired-sidebar.el.

Sidebar can also be toggled together with ibuffer-sidebar.

(defun sidebar-toggle ()
  "Toggle both `dired-sidebar' and `ibuffer-sidebar'."



As a result of using dired as a base, many features and functionality already exist in a polished state with standard keybindings an Emacs user will already be familiar with. Because of this dired-sidebar’s codebase can stay small and lean, serving as the glue to several different packages.


Having used the alternatives listed below, in my opinion, dired-sidebar is the fastest of the bunch.

Trying to open and navigate in emacs/src/lisp (or another directory I’ve forgotten) led to writing my own sidebar as I was not satisfied with the speed of the other drawers.

Multiple Frames

Sidebar may be used in multiple frames with each frame having its own sidebar state.

File Following

Sidebar can be periodically set to refresh to reflect the currently selected file.

When Sidebar is initially opened, folders will be automatically expanded to point to the current file.

Mouse Support

Close/expand folders and open files with left click.

Session Persistence

Leverages dired’s desktop-save-mode support for persistence.


Integrated with projectile.

Sidebar opens up with projectile’s root as sidebar’s root. Sidebar will also automatically update its root when projectile changes root.

Dired Subtree

Integrated with dired-subtree.

Close and expand folders with dired-subtree.

Ace Window

Integrated with ace-window.

Select the window files are to be opened in.

File Watching / Automatic Refresh

dired-sidebar will automatically update to reflect file changes as well as after a few special commands.

Take a look at dired-sidebar-refresh-on-special-commands and dired-sidebar-special-refresh-commands for more configuration.

All The Icons

Uses all-the-icons for icons.

Terminal Support

Icons will be replaced with “+” and “-” to indicate folder nesting in terminals.


Keys are bound for evil.


Integrated with magit.

Toggling the sidebar in magit sets sidebar’s root at magit’s directory. If point was on a file in magit, point at the file upon opening dired-sidebar.


dired-sidebar will open sidebar and point at buffer’s file.


Only dired-subtree is required. The other integrations are optional and dynamically detected.


Running Tests

make compile
make lint
make test

Help Wanted

Look at issues page! :)