Endless Parentheses

Ramblings on productivity and technical subjects.

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Improving Emacs file-name completion

Although there’s a surprising number of packages offering alternative minibuffer selection systems, the default minibuffer completion in Emacs is nothing to be scoffed at. Hitting Tab in the minibuffer gives you a slightly beefed up version of the bash completion, and after all these years that is still my preferred method for completing file-names (though I do have some custom-written alternatives).

Still, there are two small changes you can make that significantly improve the convenience of this feature. The simplest one is to make it case-insensitive. The second, and more fine-tuned, is to exclude extensions which you never really want. These are usually auto-generated files whose names are similar to files you care about. My list is useful for elisp and LaTeX, so you may need to figure out yours.

(setq read-file-name-completion-ignore-case t)
(setq read-buffer-completion-ignore-case t)
(mapc (lambda (x)
        (add-to-list 'completion-ignored-extensions x))
      '(".aux" ".bbl" ".blg" ".exe"
        ".log" ".meta" ".out" ".pdf"
        ".synctex.gz" ".tdo" ".toc"
        "-pkg.el" "-autoloads.el"
        "Notes.bib" "auto/"))
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