Is there a function that allows to prepend text to a list of files / buffers?

I tried this:

(defun prepend-to-org-files (text)
  (let* ((path "~/Dropbox/org/database")
         (regex "org$")
         (org-files (directory-files-recursively path regex)))
    (dolist (org-file org-files)
      (prepend-to-buffer org-file text))))

But I am missing a function like prepend-to-buffer. Is there something like this?

  • Do you want the text to be added once at the beggining of the buffer? Or in front of every line?
    – NickD
    Aug 29, 2020 at 16:49
  • Once at the beginning of the buffer. But I think I might have solved it. Please see below.
    – Ugur
    Aug 29, 2020 at 16:53
  • This is sometimes called a file header.
    – Drew
    Aug 29, 2020 at 18:10

2 Answers 2


Try library header2.el, or one of the other such solutions described on Emacs Wiki page Automatic File Headers. (They can actually be added automatically or on-demand.)

header2.el lets you define file headers for different types of file (C, shell, Emacs Lisp, and so on). You can automatically insert a header when you open a new file buffer, by putting code like this in your init file:

(add-hook 'emacs-lisp-mode-hook 'auto-make-header)

A header can have parts that are associated with updating functions, so that whenever the file is saved (or some other event occurs), those parts are updated in specific ways. How a given file header looks is under your control.



;;; ugt / helper functions
(defun prepend-to-file (text fname)
  "Prepend `TEXT' to file `FNAME'"
    ;; first: insert `text' into temp buffer
    (insert text)
    ;; next: insert contents of `fname' into temp buffer
    (insert-file-contents fname)
    ;; finally: write whole buffer to `fname'
    (write-region (point-min) (point-max) fname)))

(defun prepend-to-files (text search-in-path &optional file-regex)
  "Prepend `TEXT' to every file in path `SEARCH-FILES-IN-PATH'.
   If `FILE-REGEX' is nil, it will be set to `org$'"
  (let* ((path search-in-path) ;; "~/Dropbox/org/database"
         ;; if `file-regex' is given, then use that, else use "org$"
         (regex (or file-regex "org$"))
         ;; find files recursively
          (directory-files-recursively path regex)))
    ;; iterate over files
    (dolist (filepath file-list)
      (prepend-to-file text filepath))))

Example usage

(prepend-to-files (concat "#+TITLE: " "\n" "#+AUTHOR: Ugur" "\n")

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