Say I have emacs open on one screen and on another I'm working in terminal.

I see a file I want to open in emacs. Is there a quick way I could do something like emacs myfile and have a new frame, but same emacs instance pop up?

Or maybe this is the default behaviour(?), since it's hard to distinguish between a new frame and a second instance of emacs.

  • 3
    Yes, you would need to start emacs as a server or run emacsclient binary instead of emacs and do server-start in that. Ref Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 12:51

1 Answer 1


emacs --daemon starts an emacs server this needs to be done only once (for every computer start of course).

You can then connect to this server with the program emacsclient.
All files you open from command line with emacsclient -c FILENAME run with the server instance.

If you run emacs FILENAME you start a new emacs process.

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