I keep on saving various org files in their respective folders using Filename as YYYY-MM-DD.org files . So I ended up typing C-x C-w 2020-10-06.org at least thirty times today. Can this process be automated ?

2 Answers 2


I have the following in my .emacs:

;; date
 (lambda (arg) (interactive "P")
   (let ((separator (pcase arg
                      ('(4) "-")
                      (0 "/")
                      (_ ""))))
      (format-time-string (concat "%Y" separator "%m" separator "%d"))))))

If I press \C-\M-d, it inserts 20201006 into the active buffer, mini or not. If I prefix it with C-u, it inserts 2020-10-06; prefixing it with M-0 inserts 2020/10/06.

  • How can I modify it to put it so that I get 2020-10-06.org
    – Vaibhav
    Oct 6, 2020 at 17:43
  • You should probably use a named function, and format-time-string instead.
    – NickD
    Oct 6, 2020 at 17:46
  • 1
    @NickD: Updated, thanks.
    – choroba
    Oct 6, 2020 at 19:30
  • 2
    @Vaibhav: Replace "%d" by "%d.org". But I use the dates everywhere, not only when creating org files.
    – choroba
    Oct 6, 2020 at 19:31

Here's a function that manufactures a filename out of today's time stamp and writes the file out:

(defun write-file-timestamp ()
   (let ((fname (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d.org")))
      (write-file fname t)))

The t argument in the write-file call asks for confirmation if the file exists already: you can omit it if you don't care, but it's probably a bad idea, since you are using the same file name in supposedly different directories - but if you make a mistake and you are in the wrong directory, you'll blow away your file without any warning.

You can use the function with M-x write-file-timestamp RET but you will probably want to add a key binding for it:

(global-set-key (kbd "[f12]") #'write-file-timestamp)

to bind it e.g. to the F12 function key.

EDIT: @choroba's answer is a direct reply to your explicit question: it inserts a timestamp into the minibuffer; it also provides a general way of inserting a timestamp anywhere.

This answer is much more limited: it targets only the implied question of automating the writing of files with a name derived from the current date.

  • Is there a way to accept two answers. Both the answers provide me the required solution. Thanks for the help.
    – Vaibhav
    Oct 7, 2020 at 3:27
  • No - you gotta choose :-) Personally, I would choose @choroba's solution because it is more general.
    – NickD
    Oct 7, 2020 at 14:35
  • I agree. Thanks for the answer
    – Vaibhav
    Oct 7, 2020 at 14:45

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