Dired (for Directory Editor) is a visual directory editor, a computer program for editing file system directories. It typicallly runs inside Emacs as a specialized mode, though standalone versions have been written. Dired was the first file manager, or visual editor of file system information. The first version of Dired was written as a stand-alone program circa 1974 by Stan Kugell at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL). It was incorporated into GNU Emacs from the earliest versions, and re-implemented in C and C++ on other operating systems.
When run in Emacs, dired displays an ls-like file listing in an Emacs buffer. The list can be navigated using standard navigation commands. Several Emacs Lisp scripts have been developed to extend Dired in Emacs. In combination with Tramp it is able to access remote file systems for editing files by means of SSH, FTP, telnet and many other protocols, as well as the capability of accessing local files as another user in the same session. There are also functions that make it possible to rename multiple files via Emacs search and replace capabilities or apply regular expressions for marking (selecting) multiple files. Once marked, files can be operated on in various ways from deleting, to renaming, to executing an external shell command or elisp function on them.
GNU's dired manual stated that its main use is in deleting files. Many users find it too abstruse for performing other operations.