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C'est la Z

Using Emacs 71 Openwith

I spend most of my time in Emacs but still use the shell and browser for some things. One of the things I use my shell for is to launch libreoffice to view and edit docx files and spreadsheets, evince for pdf files and imagemagick for image files. Yes, I know I can view all of these in Emacs but there are a few limitations:

  1. Emacs chokes on large files
  2. I can't edit the docx file or the image

So, I hop to the shell and launch the program I need on the files in question. It's fine but it does mean I end up with two windows for each operation - the terminal from which I run, say, libreoffice and libreoffice itself. I will also have my browser and one ore more Emacs windows open so things can get a bit cluttered.

Now, on the Emacs side, one tool that I still haven't gotten myself to regularly use is dired. I figured dired could be made to do what I want - quickly and easily launch programs to view and edit my files.

By default, dired opens files in a new Emacs buffer. That's fine for text files but not the behavior I want for docx and other files. It turns out there are a number of good solutions. The one that I'll likely stick with is openwith but there are other options as well. Check out the video for more:

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