In my init file I have a function that runs a shell-command everytime I open emacs. I rarely need to look at the out put of this command, so having it pop up in the *Shell Command Output* buffer every time I open emacs is unnecessary, and also means that I always have to take an extra step to get rid of that window.

From the documentation for shell-command, I have learned that I can provide an OUTPUT-BUFFER argument and direct the output where I want it to go. Sending it to the *Messages* buffer is almost the perfect solution for me, because it means I don't need to think about the output of the script, but if I do need to find it, I can find it in *Messages*, which seems to be a logical place to look for it.

My only problem is that adding the OUTPUT-BUFFER argument will make it so that whatever messages are in the *Messages* buffer at the time the command is run will be replaced by the shell-command output. I rarely look at the *Messages* buffer unless I need to, but I want to make sure I don't remove anything important just in case. Is there any way for me to append the output of shell-command to this buffer rather than replacing the buffer's contents? Any push in the right direction would be appreciated. Thank you!

1 Answer 1


Here's one way to put the output of a command into the *Messages* buffer.

(defun my-shell-command-to-message (command)
  "Run a command in the shell and append its output to the *Messages* buffer."
  (message (shell-command-to-string command)))

Note that it also displays it at the bottom of the screen.

To append the output of a command to a named buffer you could use a function like my-shell-command-to-buffer below.

(defun my-shell-command-to-buffer (command buffer-name)
  "Run a `command' and append its output to buffer `buffer-name'."
  (with-current-buffer (get-buffer-create buffer-name)
    (goto-char (point-max))
    (insert (shell-command-to-string command))))

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