Many versions ago, if you opened a dos-line-end file on Linux you would see the extra ^M codes. Now it automatically recognizes the situation and puts "DOS" in the info bar and hides the extra ^Ms.

How can I exit "DOS" mode and switch back to Unix mode? How can I disable the auto-detection and force the files to be opened with Unix line endings and the DOS CR shown as ^M?

  • 1
    So that none of us get confused, if the original poster could please verify what major-mode and what minor-modes are active in the buffer -- i.e., type M-x describe-mode and update the question with said information. In addition, please consider including a screen-shot and/or some detailed description as to what is meant by "hides the extra codes". At first read, I thought perhaps this has to do with a simple M-x fundamental-mode to exit whatever major-mode exists; and, I thought about deleting entry from the auto-mode-alist -- but now, I'm thinking just line endings dos/unix?
    – lawlist
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 18:27
  • Are you asking how to return to the buffer ^M codes when opening dos-line-end file? Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 18:32

2 Answers 2


From the https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/EndOfLineTips

You can reopen the file with the correct line ending with a command like M-x revert-buffer-with-coding-system utf-8-dos. If your file is not in Unicode, be sure to specify the correct encoding system instead of utf-8-dos

Dos uses CR+LF end of line, when UNIX uses only LF. CR sometimes looks like ^M. For viewing ^M you must use M-x revert-buffer-with-coding-system utf-8-unix. This will use LF as end of line and indicate CR like ^M instead of Dos which uses CR+LF as end of line.

Disable autodetect: not sure it needs. If you want to convert files into UNIX format, then open DOS file and set line ending with M-x set-buffer-file-coding-system utf-8-unix, this command will convert all CR+LF into LF.

If you can edit the file, you could open file with a certain coding system with -*- coding: utf-8-unix; -*- at the first or second line in the file.

  • revert-buffer-with-coding-system is exactly what i was after. I would like to have that applied automatically though. I guess there isn't really a compelling reason for it except that I only occasionally encounter dos files and I was used to that obvious visual cue of all the ^M's when I open one.
    – agentp
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 19:59

(emacs) Recognize Coding

Emacs recognizes which kind of end-of-line conversion to use based on the contents of the file: if it sees only carriage-returns, or only carriage-return linefeed sequences, then it chooses the end-of-line conversion accordingly. You can inhibit the automatic use of end-of-line conversion by setting the variable inhibit-eol-conversion to non-nil. If you do that, DOS-style files will be displayed with the ^M characters visible in the buffer; some people prefer this to the more subtle (DOS) end-of-line type indication near the left edge of the mode line (see eol-mnemonic).

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