I want to use C-u M-:, then (format-time-string "%m/%d/%Y") to insert a customized date string. But it is inserted into the current buffer with double quotes.

Any trick to remove these quotes?

  • Side note : I tend to use a zero argument instead of plain universal argument, to avoid ellipsis in case the return value is a (longish) list. OTOH a string is never truncated so it's not directly related to your question.
    – YoungFrog
    Feb 22, 2017 at 8:21

2 Answers 2


Rather than ask M-: to insert the output of the Elisp code, just write the Elisp code that inserts the text you want:

Try M-: (insert (format-time-string "%m/%d/%Y")) RET


I think you should not change M-: for this. I have setup C-c + to call the vicarie/eval-replace-last-sexp defined below. So, I just type (format-time-string "%Y/%m/%d") and do C-c +.

(defun vicarie/eval-last-sexp-and-do (f)
  "Eval the last sexp and call F on its value."
  (let ((standard-output (current-buffer))
        (value (eval-last-sexp nil)))
    (funcall f value)))

(defun vicarie/eval-print-last-sexp ()
    "Evaluate and print the last sexp on the same line."
  (vicarie/eval-last-sexp-and-do (lambda (value)
                                   (insert (format " (= %s ) " value)))))

(defun vicarie/eval-replace-last-sexp ()
  "Evaluate and replace last sexp with its value."
  (vicarie/eval-last-sexp-and-do (lambda (value)
                                   (insert (format "%s" value)))))

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