In my ~/.emacs, there are several keyboard macros stored. They appear as (fset 'dhteu-macro-name ... entries. BTW, dhteu is just a random alphabet combination prefixed to avoid collision with any existing commands.

I can C-x C-k e M-x supply a macro name and a buffer opens allowing me to edit the macro. I can edit it and save it with C-c C-c. Now if I C-x C-k e M-x same macro name, I see the modified version. I tried executing the modified macro on a buffer. The madified macro executes successfully.

After all this, I naturally, want to store the macro. So, I visit ~/.emacs and M-x insert-kbd-macro. I expect the name of the macro I just edited to be available at this prompt. It isn't.

Entering the entire name produces a no match error.

I tried C-x C-k n to give it another name. That produces a No keyboard macro defined error.

So, the question is: How do I edit a stored keyboard macro and save it again?

1 Answer 1


This is a bug in Emacs. When saving the macro, Emacs fails to add the kmacro property, so that when you start a new session, Emacs doesn't remember that dhteu-macro-name is actually a keyboard macro.

The hack below should workaround the problem.

(defun my-kmacro-hack (&rest _)
   (list (intern (completing-read
                  "Insert kbd macro (name): "
                  (lambda (elt)
                    (and (fboundp elt)
                         (or (stringp (symbol-function elt))
                             (vectorp (symbol-function elt))
                             (kmacro-extract-lambda (symbol-function elt)))))
(advice-add 'insert-kbd-macro :before #'my-kmacro-hack)

I installed a cleaner fix which will into Emacs's master branch (i.e. for Emacs-27).

  • I am a complete newbie. But I think there is a gap between what I have written and your reply. So, this comment. I can very well see all the stored (in ~/.emacs) macros. I can very well edit C-x C-k e M-x name any of them and save (C-c C-c in the macro editor) it for the session. But when I try to insert-kbd-macro it does not recognize this macro. If I record a new macro, there is no problem. Lastly, when do we expect to see Emacs27 in Kubuntu? :)
    – deshmukh
    Nov 24, 2017 at 14:56
  • 1
    When you create a macro (with C-x C-k n), the name is marked to remember that it's a keyboard macro. But when you C-x C-k n that detail is not written, so when you restart Emacs, the command is defined but the name is not marked as a keyboard macro (and Emacs doesn't recognize the actual definition as a keyboard macro either). My patch makes Emacs recognize the definition instead of checking if the name is marked as a keyboard macro.
    – Stefan
    Nov 24, 2017 at 16:59
  • 1
    I put some sample code you can use in your ~/.emacs which should work around the problem.
    – Stefan
    Nov 25, 2017 at 16:42
  • 1
    I fixed the arglist, which was lacking the actual (ignored) argument. You can try again.
    – Stefan
    Nov 27, 2017 at 5:06
  • 1
    Yes, it should be both useless and harmless in Emacs-27 and it could become harmful in the future, so better remove it once you get there.
    – Stefan
    Nov 30, 2017 at 13:26

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