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On startup, I want to create an empty buffer and switch to it, but only if no file has been specified in the command line.

The closest I have is

(switch-to-buffer "untitled")

at the end of init.el but this still creates an "untitled" buffer even when I specify a file in the command line. I don't want this because it slows things down and leaves an unneeded buffer lying around.

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    The default *scratch* buffer will give you the same functionality. If you launch emacs without specifying a file (and if you don't use desktop), the *scratch* buffer will be the first buffer you see. – Kaushal Modi Mar 17 '15 at 17:19
  • yes, but the scratch buffer is special (can't be deleted), I prefer an ordinary buffer – Ernest A Mar 17 '15 at 17:25
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    By default the scratch buffer can be deleted like any other, so perhaps you've configured something to prevent that. You could also customize initial-buffer-choice. – glucas Mar 17 '15 at 17:39
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Using the *scratch* buffer as an empty buffer, as suggested in the comments, is a possible solution.

However, if you prefer to leave the *scratch* buffer alone, then this is an alternative

(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook
          (lambda () (when (cl-notany 'buffer-file-name (buffer-list))
                       (switch-to-buffer
                        (generate-new-buffer-name "untitled")))))

It will create a new "untitled" buffer and will switch to it, but only if there isn't any buffer that is visiting a file (as would occur when Emacs is started with a filename argument).

Customizing initial-buffer-choice didn't work for me, as it creates the buffer unconditionally.

  • Ah, I should have tested the initial-buffer-choice approach first. :-D It does allow specifying a function so one could presumably use the same conditional logic you've used here -- but the startup hook seems like a logical solution. – glucas Mar 17 '15 at 19:33

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