When I want to do something in another buffer and then restore the original, I currently do this:

(let ((this-buffer (current-buffer)))
  (switch-to-buffer (other-buffer))
  (insert "I was here!")
  (switch-to-buffer this-buffer))

Is there a less verbose way to this, something like:

(save-buffer-and-switch (other-buffer)
  (insert "I was here!"))
  • 1
    switch-to-buffer is just plain wrong here: it changes which buffer is displayed in the currently selected window, whereas you just want to change the currently selected buffer. IOW instead of switch-to-buffer you would want set-buffer. See C-h f switch-to-buffer RET.
    – Stefan
    Oct 21 '15 at 21:56

You want with-current-buffer:

(with-current-buffer (other-buffer)
  (insert "I was here!"))

There is also save-current-buffer, which is a simpler mechanism used to implement the with-current-buffer macro:

  (set-buffer (other-buffer))
  (insert "I was here!"))

The combination of save-current-buffer and set-buffer mostly seems to show up in older code. Most of the time, with-current-buffer is clearer, IMO.

  • Wow, I even searched for with-buffer in helm-apropos, but missed it (HA lists all commands before functions, so it was far down in the list). Oct 21 '15 at 19:20
  • 1
    @24HrRevengeTherapist You can use C-o to switch sources in helm. You can also use C-h v look up function/macro's docstring, don't forget to turn on helm-mode since it provides a very handy persistent-action.
    – xuchunyang
    Oct 21 '15 at 19:44
  • @xuchunyang Did you mean C-h f (describe-function)? C-h v is bound to describe-variable in my Emacs. But maybe this is different under Helm, I don't know.
    – user1968
    Oct 21 '15 at 20:02
  • @JonO. Yes, it's a typo, I meant C-h f.
    – xuchunyang
    Oct 21 '15 at 20:19

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