GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Files

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Chapter 12: File Handling

The operating system stores data permanently in named files. So most of the text you edit with Emacs comes from a file and is ultimately stored in a file.

To edit a file, you must tell Emacs to read the file and prepare a buffer containing a copy of the file's text. This is called visiting the file. Editing commands apply directly to text in the buffer; that is, to the copy inside Emacs. Your changes appear in the file itself only when you save the buffer back into the file.

In addition to visiting and saving files, Emacs can delete, copy, rename, and append to files, keep multiple versions of them, and operate on file directories.

  • File Names How to type and edit file-name arguments.
  • Visiting Visiting a file prepares Emacs to edit the file.
  • Saving Saving makes your changes permanent.
  • Reverting Reverting cancels all the changes not saved.
  • Auto Save Auto Save periodically protects against loss of data.
  • File Aliases Handling multiple names for one file.
  • Version Control Version control systems (RCS, CVS and SCCS).
  • Directories Creating, deleting, and listing file directories.
  • Comparing Files Finding where two files differ.
  • Misc File Ops Other things you can do on files.
  • Compressed Files Accessing compressed files.
  • Remote Files Accessing files on other sites.
  • Quoted File Names Quoting special characters in file names.
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