I love to use Emacs, mostly for org-mode. I also use Notepad++ as an text editor (when using MS Windows), although I would like to use Emacs more. I noticed I choose Notepad++ when I quickly need an editor buffer to paste some text to because Notepad++ has this “New” icon in its toolbar that creates a new buffer quickly.
Emacs is easily extendible, so how about creating a “quick new buffer” function myself? It is really easy.
To create a new buffer you use
Ctrl-x b (for function
switch-to-buffer) and type a buffer name. But even typing in a name is too much for me. Automatically name the buffer “New” and add a unique number to it! There is a function called
rename-uniquely which does what it says. Now we can create a function
- (defun make-new-buffer ()
- "makes a new buffer, uniquely named"
- (switch-to-buffer "New")
Super easy: it creates a buffer named “New” and renames it so that it has a unique name. Bind this to a key, I use F5:
- (global-set-key (kbd "<f5>") 'make-new-buffer)
Put this code in your
.emacs or whatever.
When you have a bunch of buffers called “New<2>”, “New<3>” etc., take a look at
buffer-menu. You get a list of all buffers. Now you can operate on them. For instance, mark a buffer for deletion with
d, repeat for other buffers and execute the command with
x. Now you have killed a bunch of buffers quickly and easily.
If you are new to customizing keybindings and writing custom functions, Sacha Chua wrote a nice article “Read Lisp Tweak Emacs (Beginner 3/4): How can I make things more convenient?“
Update: Xah Lee over at ErgoEmacs has published a similar article. He came up with the following, slightly more complex function:
- (defun xah-new-empty-buffer ()
- "Open a new empty buffer."
- (let ((buf (generate-new-buffer "untitled")))
- (switch-to-buffer buf)
- (funcall (and initial-major-mode))
- (setq buffer-offer-save t)))
What is the difference? It uses
generate-new-buffer to generate a new buffer and make sure it has a unique name (line 4). Then it switches to that buffer (line 5). It sets the major mode of the new buffer to the one declared in variable
initial-major-mode, if any (line 6). Setting
t let Emacs ask you for saving that buffer before exiting Emacs (line 7).