In bash in a terminal emulator, I run two independent emacs processes. I created them in bash by emacs -nw and in each, I opened several buffers.

I switch between them by making one process into background via Ctrl-Z and then making the other into forground via fg <jobid>.

Since switching between them is inconvenient, is it possible to merge the buffers opened in one emacs process into the other emacs process?


1 Answer 1


You can't do that, but you can use the client/server functionality in Emacs to simply connect to the exact same Emacs instance each time. After starting the server you would use emacsclient -nw to connect to the server instance, instead of starting a completely separate instance with emacs -nw. You will have access to the same set of buffers in all clients.

See: C-hig (emacs)Emacs Server

  • Thanks. Do you mean there is no way to merge the buffers in the two emacs processes created by emacs -nw?
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 0:42
  • Correct. At least to the very best of my knowledge -- I'm not an expert on the internals of Emacs, but I can't envisage any way that could work.
    – phils
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 0:44
  • That said, if you're only talking about file-visiting buffers and you don't care about losing undo history, then you can simply re-visit the files of one instance in the other, and you could use the desktop.el library to do it for you. In one instance you could M-x desktop-save and in the other you could M-x desktop-read. If you're not saving to the default location, you may need to customize desktop-path for the instance in which you're going to read the desktop file.
    – phils
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 0:53
  • n.b. I briefly but mistakenly suggested that desktop-change-dir could be used to select a directory to read from. Don't do that! It actually kills existing buffers and then reads the new desktop, which is not what you want.
    – phils
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 1:00

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