Is there a way to edit a file only once? So that for example: I open it and its closed (the buffer is killed) after the window closes. A clarification: I usually have an Emacs deamon running and open windows with emacsclient -nc [file], but I don't want to have every file in my buffer list and I dont want to open a single instance for every file I only edit once.

Any ideas?

  • The question seems to suggest that you want to close the window too, not just kill the buffer. AFAIK, neither C-x # nor C-x k close the window, and just closing the window does not kill the buffer.
    – Drew
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 16:56
  • @Drew If emacsclient is launched with -c (but not with -n), it will open the file in a new frame. Doing C-x # there will kill buffer and close the new frame that launched (and thus the window too). Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 21:24
  • @KaushalModi: I see. Is that true for C-x k also (I don't think so).
    – Drew
    Commented Jul 10, 2016 at 22:24
  • There is also C-x 4 0 (kill-buffer-and-window), which has the same effect as C-x k (kill-buffer) in emacsclient, but additionally has the desired behaviour under "normal" Emacs operation (for some definition thereof).
    – Basil
    Commented Oct 12, 2017 at 15:33

3 Answers 3


Instead of using emacsclient -nc [file], if you remove the -n argument and do just emacsclient -c [file], you can quickly close the popped frame and buffer by calling server-edit, which is bound to C-x # by default.

For instance, my workflow for editing crontab files would be:

  1. crone (aliased to setenv VISUAL emacsclient && crontab -e (tcsh)) in terminal.
  2. Update the crontab
  3. C-x #

Notice that I choose to not use even the -c argument. I like the file to pop up in my one and only emacsclient frame (already open). When I am done editing that file, C-x # will save the file (update crontab), kill the buffer, and I will be back to where I was in my emacsclient frame before I called crone from the terminal.


You can end the edit session of such files by killing their buffer (e.g. C-x k RET).


You can use M-x delete-frame. This will close the actual frame.


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