Is there some mode where emacs fixes a small window with a list of opened buffers? This is what simpler editors have (kate,gedit,etc).

Here's an example from Kate:

enter image description here

In the left window there is a list of opened files. This is rather independent from the main editing window, while being connected. Some examples: I can maximize the whole set, it doesn't disappear if I split/unsplit the main editing windows.

(Edited for clarity)

3 Answers 3


M-x speedbar and typing b (buffer display mode). This gives you a narrow dedicated frame with the required information.

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    Can I have it together with the main window? So that I don't have to handle two separate windows? For instance if I maximize the main edit window, the speedbar disappears. Oct 18, 2015 at 7:40
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    @Fernando César: I don't think so, unfortunately. Oct 18, 2015 at 8:04
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    Try srspeedbar for a separate window rather than frame.
    – Dan
    Oct 18, 2015 at 10:18
  • @Dan: How would you do that? Oct 18, 2015 at 10:51
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    @Dieter.Wilhelm answered below about sr-speedbar Dec 11, 2015 at 0:46

To include the speedbar in the main frame, use the sr-speedbar library - M-x package-list-packages, look for sr-speedbar, then hit i then x to install it.

To turn it on and off, call sr-speedbar-toggle - then you can bind it to a convenient key in your .emacs file, e.g.

(global-set-key (kbd "M-1") 'sr-speedbar-toggle)

With a little tweaking you can get it over on the left side of the screen and looking a little nicer. Try M-x customize-apropos sr-speedbar and M-x customize-apropos speedbar to set various options.

There's a bit more info on the Emacs Wiki - http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/SrSpeedbar.

It would be great if these libraries could be merged and included in Emacs someday.

  • I do like sr-speedbar, just what I was looking for, just one little nit. I wish when I select the buffer and hit enter the window would go away, like sr-speedbar-close was called. Could I do this with defadvise or something?
    – jtgd
    Apr 23, 2016 at 7:37
  • Nevermind, got it: (advice-add 'speedbar-edit-line :after #'sr-speedbar-close)
    – jtgd
    Apr 23, 2016 at 7:42

The command to open the list of buffers that you want is list-buffers. It is bound to C-x C-b by default.

Put this in your init file, or use M-x customize-option RET special-display-buffer-names to customize the variable to include an entry for buffer *Buffer List*:

(add-to-list 'special-display-buffer-names "*Buffer List*")

Then the buffer list will be in its own, dedicated frame.

  • Yes, I know list-buffers, but is not really adapted to a small column. By your answer I guess what I was thinking doesn't exits. Oct 17, 2015 at 21:01
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    Then your question is unclear. In particular it is unclear what you mean by "I can ... open a buffer list ...." Please show your code (what you've tried), what you expect/want, and how what you have tried so far differs from that. Also, presumably you do not mean "opened buffers" in your title and description, but rather a "list of names of opened buffers". If so, please edit to make this clear.
    – Drew
    Oct 17, 2015 at 22:28
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    Hy @Drew. I edited the question. I hope it's more clear what I was asking. I'm not developing anything, I was just asking if emacs has an option I see often in other editors. Oct 18, 2015 at 7:41

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