I would like to be able to exit emacs without saving changes.

I might have started editing some configuration file, then decided that I don't want to save the changes.

In vi I would issue the q! command to exit the editor. I don't know if there is an emacs alternative for this.

2 Answers 2


To exit emacs, use C-xC-c. It will ask you whether you want to save the changes. To prevent the question, precede the combination with C-u (but it will save the changes).

If you want to kill Emacs without saving any changes, you can use the kill-emacs function (M-xkill-emacs). If you need it often, you can assing it to any key combination you like.

E.g. add this to your init file:

(global-set-key "\C-x\M-c" 'kill-emacs)
  • This also kill emacs daemon, how can I keep it alive?
    – alper
    Oct 20, 2021 at 9:24
  • Use C-x # to close a server editing buffer.
    – choroba
    Oct 20, 2021 at 9:42
  • I am getting following warning message and nothing happens: No server buffers remain to edit
    – alper
    Oct 20, 2021 at 9:46
  • @alper: So just close the buffer with C-x k. But that's not the point of the question. If you're running in a terminal, press C-z to put emacs into background.
    – choroba
    Oct 20, 2021 at 10:52
  • It's exact point of the question. I am using emacs to open man pages as man-mode. When I press q I just want to exit emacs without saving any changes, but keep emacs-daemon running. I don't want to suspend because it won't close the latest open buffer
    – alper
    Oct 20, 2021 at 11:57

In most cases, an emacs instance runs for a very long time: what comes and goes is the buffer visiting a file. So instead of killing emacs as a whole, it is probably more useful to kill the buffer that is visiting the file.

You do that with kill-buffer (usually bound to C-x k): if the buffer is modified it will ask you whether you want to kill it anyway and you can answer "yes".

  • 2
    This definitely the emacs style of doing the requested action. I will adopt this way of working. I accepted the kill-emacs answer because it answers the question (although the question might be ill formulated). Thanks. Sep 1, 2020 at 19:26

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