Open Atom with project folders collapsed from the Mac Terminal

Written on March 3, 2016

Atom has become my text-editor of choice. One of the features that I use the most is Atom’s command-line tool available in Terminal. The command-line tool provides the atom command which could be used to open files and folders from the command-line into Atom.

I often use atom . to open the entire current folder I’m in, usually a project folder with many sub-folders and files. My only complaint with this feature was, Atom would always remember which of the folders were expanded the last time I had the project folder open. This feature definitely has its perks, but I usually like to open up a project and have all folders collapsed.

I haven’t been able to find an option in Atom to turn this off permanently, but I did discover by accident, that you can open the current folder from the Terminal and have all folders collapsed. Instead of opening the folder with atom ., open it with atom ,. What , seems to trigger is the action for Atom to launch and have a blank file with the , being the name of the file. For this reason, passing in an actual file name like readme.txt will have the same effect.

I’m not sure if this is a bug that will get fixed in the future (I’m using version 1.5.4), but it definitely mitigates a behavior I wanted to sometimes avoid with Atom.

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