I have a large number of org files that are created to store some specific information, that wont change. I am trying to create a function to go find that file and insert it into a temporary buffer so that I can view it, but making it dissappear when I hit "q" like a temp buffer. The functionality That I want is special-mode but the problem is that when I enable special-mode I lose the syntax-highlighting of org-mode, and when I enabled org-mode it overwrites the keybindings that I need for special-mode to quit easily. My current solution would be to bind the key for (quit-window) to "q" manually, but I dont know how to do that only for this temporary window, and not for the shared org-mode buffers that I might have open at the same time.

(let ((bufferName "*Temp Buffer*"))
  (get-buffer-create bufferName)
  (switch-to-buffer-other-window bufferName)
  (insert-file-contents "file-that-i-want-to-insert.org")
  (mygroup/minor-special-mode) ;; Originally was (special-mode)


As per the accepted answer below I created a minor mode and that allowed me to override the "q" binding from org-mode.

NOTE I had to restart my emacs for this to work properly, otherwise it was keeping the org-mode binding for q even with the minor mode enabled.

This was the minor mode I created for anyone needing the same solution:

(define-minor-mode mygroup/minor-special-mode
    "Toggle Special minor  mode."
    ;; The initial value.
    :init-value nil
    ;; The indicator for the mode line.
    :lighter " mSpecial"
    ;; The group this mode is in.
    :group 'mygroup
    ;; The minor mode bindings.
    :keymap (let ((map (make-sparse-keymap)))
    (define-key map (kbd "q") 'quit-window)

1 Answer 1


Special mode is a major mode, and you can only have one major mode active at a time. However, you can have an arbitrary number of minor modes active on top of the major mode, and the keymaps for the minor mode take precedence over the major mode. So I would suggest you put your temporary buffer into org mode, and also create a custom minor mode that has your key bindings set.

  • I tried this and defined a minor mode: (define-minor-mode minor-special-mode :init-value nil :lighter " mSpecial" :keymap '((q . (quit-window))) :group 'mygroup) but when I hit (C-h k q) in my buffer after initializing this mode I see this: q runs the command org-self-insert-command (found in org-mode-map),
    – HHoverton
    Jun 14, 2018 at 16:43

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