I'm trying to find where the contents of the *GNU Emacs* buffer, aka fancy startup screen, are located on my hard drive.

M-x eval-expression buffer-file-name returns nil. The buffer-file-name documentation says:

If buffer is not visiting any file, buffer-file-name returns nil.

If it is not a file then where is this text coming from? I checked the source code at https://github.com/emacs-mirror/emacs/tree/master/doc but I didn't see anything.

  • The reason I want to know is that I want to open the file in a different editor.
    – Nate
    Feb 20, 2018 at 7:18

2 Answers 2


The text displayed on the startup screen is stored in the fancy-startup-text constant. You can find it using describe-variable. There's also the function fancy-startup-screen, which actually displays it.

  • I found that fancy-startup-text is a variable defined in ‘startup.el’. So it's not a stand-alone file in the emacs source code?
    – Nate
    Feb 20, 2018 at 7:29
  • 1
    Indeed. It's just one of the things in startup.el. Considering the splash screen has images and clickable links, a basic format wouldn't suffice, and a separate file makes little sense.
    – user12563
    Feb 20, 2018 at 13:41

A very interesting question!

By quickly doing a grep, I found that the splash buffer is created by the fancy-startup-screen function (refer to startup.el), it will create the *GNU Emacs* buffer, and then insert the splash image and text content.

Want to find out the path of the splash image?

By inspecting the code, you will find the image name by evaluating this (fancy-splash-image-file) function, which is splash.svg on my box (/usr/share/emacs/27.2/etc/images/splash.svg on my linux FS.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.