I want to know how do you use Emacs lisp to check the content of the current buffer, specially to know if certain string exists within the current buffer.

2 Answers 2


I think the easiest approach would be

    (goto-char (point-min))
    (search-forward string nil t))

This will return non-nil if the given string is in the current buffer.

  • 3
    And in most cases, you'll want to use re-search-forward, for the added flexibility of specifying a regexp rather than a mere substring.
    – Stefan
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 22:52

You can also do this on a way which probably looks familiar from other languages using s.el:

(with-current-buffer "some_buffer"
      (s-contains? "some string"
            (buffer-substring-no-properties (point-min) (point-max))))
  • 6
    Emacs is very good at acting directly on buffer contents. Copying portions of the buffer (let alone the entire contents, as in this case) in order to perform string-based operations is generally not the best approach.
    – phils
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 22:14
  • 1
    I second @phils's recommendation, pointing out that it's very inefficient, especially in this case, since it copies the whole buffer's content.
    – Stefan
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 22:50
  • Yes, you're right. This is not the best approach, I recommend accepted answer over this one. My idea was to point to s.el. @phils
    – yujaiyu
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 0:45

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