I have a buffer that will have either plain text or an image (text properties) near the end of the buffer. I would like to delete any new lines or whitespace at the end of the buffer. How can I do this?

The following works if there is an image:  (delete-region (previous-property-change (point-max)) (point-max)). However, if there is no image, it deletes plain text -- which is not what I want.

The following works if there is no image, but deletes the image if there is one (which is also not what I want):

  (goto-char (point-max))
  (let ((trailing-whitespace+newlines (abs (skip-chars-backward "\s\r\n\t"))))
    (when (> trailing-whitespace+newlines 0)
      (delete-char trailing-whitespace+newlines))))
  • Does the delete-trailing-whitespace command have the same problem with deleting the image?
    – stevoooo
    Apr 10, 2017 at 19:17
  • @stevoooo -- thank you for the suggestion. I just tried delete-trailing-whitespace and it deletes all of the images in the buffer that are on lines by themselves, including the last image on a line just before the end of the buffer. I fear that even if I try restricting the region using the optional arguments to that function, I will still have the same problem as posed in the question with programmatically determining the appropriate beginning point.
    – lawlist
    Apr 10, 2017 at 19:53

2 Answers 2


I think the problem is that insert-image uses " " by default for the text to put in the buffer to hold the image. If you pass a non-whitespace string as the second (optional) argument to the insert-image function then delete-whitespace should do the right thing and leave the image in the buffer as it's no longer associated with whitespace text.


Here is a working draft that might become final after I try it out some more. I experimented with a few of the property search functions in the manual -- https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/elisp/Property-Search.html -- in a forwards and reverse search. I beleive it is possible to use some of those functions in a solution, but I have tentatively chosen instead to move backwards one character at a time until locating an image or text.

  (goto-char (point-max))
  (catch 'done
    (while (looking-back "[\s\r\n\t]" nil)
      (let* ((plist (text-properties-at (1- (point))))
             (image-p (eq (car (plist-get plist 'display)) 'image)))
        (if image-p
          (throw 'done nil)
          (delete-char -1))))))

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