This question is related to Is it possible to bind C-u C-x C-xs behavior into C-x C-x. My main goal is to jump top of the file, type import and paste a package name and jump back where I was.


I am on the line 10 and copied a word. Than I press M-<to jump top of the file, move down to line 1 and typed import and pasted the copied word. Now when I press C-x C-x, it jumps to the starting point of the pasted word and if I press again it jumps to end of the paster word in the line 1.

0                                     | <= jumped here and go one line below
1                                     | import hello_world  # (2) type import and 
2                                     |                       paste hello_world \
3                                     |                                         |
4                                     |                                         |
5                                     |                                         |
6                                     |                                         |
7                                     |                                         |                        
8                                     |                                         |
9                                     |                                         |
10 hello_world()  # (1)cursor is here | <= (3) I want to jump back here <--------

At this point, I just want to jump pack to point where I was (which is line 10), how can I acheive it?

  • as you are not intending to operate on what it should be a region, I'd encapsulate the functionality in a custom command just saving the position to get back to it.
    – Muihlinn
    Dec 10, 2020 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


Each command that sets the mark pushes the previous mark onto a stack. More precisely, the previous position is added to the mark ring (the difference between a mark and a ring is that accessing the front of the ring doesn't remove the element, but pushes it to the other side of the ring).

To get to the next-to-last position, use C-1 C-SPC or C-u C-SPC. Repeat to get to the previous position, etc. Or use directly C-2 C-SPC to go two positions back, and so on. C-SPC (set-mark-command) is the command to set the mark, but with a numeric argument or a C-u prefix, it jumps back to a previous mark instead of setting the mark.

In your case, both M-< and pasting set a mark, so you want to go two marks back, hence C-2 C-SPC or C-u C-SPC C-u C-SPC.

If Emacs is running in a terminal, you may need to use C-u 2 or M-2 or ESC 2 instead of C-2.

  • One thing I've found difficult with rings is reusing an item frequently as they are moving targets. Registers worked better to me in such scenario.
    – Muihlinn
    Dec 11, 2020 at 17:02

As you're not going to use the region between point and mark, consider another approach using save-excursion, like this one:

(defun auto-import-word-at-point()
    "Autoimport word at point."
    (let ((word-at-point (thing-at-point 'word)))
            (goto-line 2)
            (insert (concat "import " word-at-point))

It will copy the thing at point, goto line 2, insert it there and restore things. Bind to whatever you want and it's ready to go, thing-at-point is just a way to obtain data, but can use anything else that you may prefer.

thing-at-point will automagically get the specified kind of thing around point; as save-excursion will save point, it'll return to it after executing its body, but saved point may not be the end of word, so you may want to forward-word (M-f) which was left out for clarity.

  • This is smart, another issue is some times I need to go to top of the page and see the other imports to remember, if I have to use from <import_name> import <module>. That will be helpful if top 15 lines that has all imports could be seen in the mini-buffer incase to let us remember the which from <import_name> we will be using
    – alper
    Dec 13, 2020 at 15:13
  • as first approach I'd clone-indirect-buffer, move to the top and will wait for some kind of user input, will have more screen state than minibuffer.
    – Muihlinn
    Dec 14, 2020 at 20:17

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