File Names Files Saving
Visit a file (
|C-x C-r||Visit a file for viewing, without allowing changes to it
|C-x C-v||Visit a different file instead of the one visited last
|C-x 4 f||Visit a file, in another window (|
|C-x 5 f||Visit a file, in a new frame (|
|M-x find-file-literally||Visit a file with no conversion of the contents.|
Visiting a file means copying its contents into an Emacs buffer
so you can edit them. Emacs makes a new buffer for each file that you
visit. We say that this buffer is visiting the file that it was created
to hold. Emacs constructs the buffer name from the file name by
throwing away the directory, keeping just the name proper. For example,
a file named `
/usr/rms/emacs.tex' would get a buffer named
emacs.tex'. If there is already a buffer with that name, a unique
name is constructed by appending `
<3>', or so on, using
the lowest number that makes a name that is not already in use.
Each window's mode line shows the name of the buffer that is being displayed in that window, so you can always tell what buffer you are editing.
The changes you make with editing commands are made in the Emacs buffer. They do not take effect in the file that you visited, or any place permanent, until you save the buffer. Saving the buffer means that Emacs writes the current contents of the buffer into its visited file. See Saving.
If a buffer contains changes that have not been saved, we say the buffer is modified. This is important because it implies that some changes will be lost if the buffer is not saved. The mode line displays two stars near the left margin to indicate that the buffer is modified.
To visit a file, use the command C-x C-f (
the command with the name of the file you wish to visit, terminated by a
The file name is read using the minibuffer (see Minibuffer), with defaulting and completion in the standard manner (see File Names). While in the minibuffer, you can abort C-x C-f by typing C-g.
Your confirmation that C-x C-f has completed successfully is the appearance of new text on the screen and a new buffer name in the mode line. If the specified file does not exist and could not be created, or cannot be read, then you get an error, with an error message displayed in the echo area.
If you visit a file that is already in Emacs, C-x C-f does not make another copy. It selects the existing buffer containing that file. However, before doing so, it checks that the file itself has not changed since you visited or saved it last. If the file has changed, a warning message is printed. See Interlocking.
What if you want to create a new file? Just visit it. Emacs prints
(New File)' in the echo area, but in other respects behaves as if
you had visited an existing empty file. If you make any changes and
save them, the file is created.
Emacs recognizes from the contents of a file which convention it uses to separate lines---newline (used on GNU/Linux and on Unix), carriage-return linefeed (used on Microsoft systems), or just carriage-return (used on the Macintosh)---and automatically converts the contents to the normal Emacs convention, which is that the newline character separates lines. This is a part of the general feature of coding system conversion (see Coding Systems), and makes it possible to edit files imported from various different operating systems with equal convenience. If you change the text and save the file, Emacs performs the inverse conversion, changing newlines back into carriage-return linefeed or just carriage-return if appropriate.
If the file you specify is actually a directory, C-x C-f invokes
Dired, the Emacs directory browser, so that you can ``edit'' the contents
of the directory (see Dired). Dired is a convenient way to delete,
look at, or operate on the files in the directory. However, if the
nil, then it is an error
to try to visit a directory.
If the file name you specify contains wildcard characters, Emacs visits all the files that match it. See Quoted File Names, if you want to visit a file whose name actually contains wildcard characters.
If you visit a file that the operating system won't let you modify,
Emacs makes the buffer read-only, so that you won't go ahead and make
changes that you'll have trouble saving afterward. You can make the
buffer writable with C-x C-q (
See Misc Buffer.
Occasionally you might want to visit a file as read-only in order to
protect yourself from entering changes accidentally; do so by visiting
the file with the command C-x C-r (
If you visit a nonexistent file unintentionally (because you typed the
wrong file name), use the C-x C-v command
find-alternate-file) to visit the file you really wanted.
C-x C-v is similar to C-x C-f, but it kills the current
buffer (after first offering to save it if it is modified). When it
reads the file name to visit, it inserts the entire default file name in
the buffer, with point just after the directory part; this is convenient
if you made a slight error in typing the name.
If you find a file which exists but cannot be read, C-x C-f signals an error.
C-x 4 f (
find-file-other-window) is like C-x C-f
except that the buffer containing the specified file is selected in another
window. The window that was selected before C-x 4 f continues to
show the same buffer it was already showing. If this command is used when
only one window is being displayed, that window is split in two, with one
window showing the same buffer as before, and the other one showing the
newly requested file. See Windows.
C-x 5 f (
find-file-other-frame) is similar, but opens a
new frame, or makes visible any existing frame showing the file you
seek. This feature is available only when you are using a window
system. See Frames.
If you wish to edit a file as a sequence of characters with no special encoding or conversion, use the M-x find-file-literally command. It visits a file, like C-x C-f, but does not do format conversion (see Formatted Text), character code conversion (see Coding Systems), or automatic uncompression (see Compressed Files). If you already have visited the same file in the usual (non-literal) manner, this command asks you whether to visit it literally instead.
Two special hook variables allow extensions to modify the operation of
visiting files. Visiting a file that does not exist runs the functions
in the list
find-file-not-found-hooks; this variable holds a list
of functions, and the functions are called one by one until one of them
nil. Any visiting of a file, whether extant or not,
find-file-hooks to contain a list of functions and calls
them all, one by one. In both cases the functions receive no
arguments. Of these two variables,
takes effect first. These variables are not normal hooks, and
their names end in `
-hooks' rather than `
-hook' to indicate
that fact. See Hooks.
There are several ways to specify automatically the major mode for editing the file (see Choosing Modes), and to specify local variables defined for that file (see File Variables).File Names Files Saving