git clone 'git://github.com/CallumCameron/term-cmd.git'


Send commands to Emacs from programs running in the term.el terminal emulator.

In vanilla Emacs, programs running in the terminal emulator can send commands back to Emacs by printing a ‘magic escape sequence’ which the terminal emulator parses – this is how directory tracking works. But the list of commands is hard-coded, and you can't add new ones.

This package lets you add new commands. It uses a different magic escape sequence to avoid interfering with the built-in commands, but the principle is the same. When a program prints a command, it won't show up on the screen, but will be interpreted by Emacs instead.

Note: this is a library, and doesn't make any user-visible changes. For an example of something that actually uses it, see term-alert.


To register a command:

(add-to-list 'term-cmd-commands-alist '("command" . some-callback-function))

where "command" is the name of the command, and some-callback-function is the function you want to be called when the command is run. The function should take two arguments – the first is the command name itself, and the second is the command's argument.

To send a command, just print the magic escape sequence in some program in the terminal:

# Using GNU printf
/usr/bin/printf '\eTeRmCmD %s %s\n' "${CMD}" "${ARG}"

# With a shell built-in, the syntax might be different; here for ZSH:
print "\033TeRmCmD ${CMD} ${ARG}"

The \e and \033 are the ESC character. You can leave off the argument if you don't need it.

Alternatively, use the emacs-term-cmd script:

emacs-term-cmd command arg

Because the commands are based on terminal output, they work just as well through nested shells, or multiple SSH sessions. See the emacs-term-cmd script for how to pass commands through from tmux (not 100% reliable, and unfortunately doesn't support screen).


Install the term-cmd package from MELPA.

Or for a manual install:

  1. Add this directory to your Emacs load path
  2. Add this directory to your PATH (for emacs-term-cmd script; optional)
  3. (require 'term-cmd)


Copyright (C) 2014 Callum J. Cameron

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.