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By default, a *scratch* buffer is created when Emacs starts. The initial *scratch* buffer contains the following message by default:

;; This buffer is for text that is not saved, and for Lisp evaluation.
;; To create a file, visit it with C-x C-f and enter text in its buffer.

This message appears to be set by the variable initial-scratch-message.

If I kill (C-x k) the initial scratch buffer and recreate it using C-x b *scratch*, the new scratch buffer will be blank. It will not contain the initial-scratch-message. This is not what I want. I want to see the message. How do I configure all scratch buffers to contain initial-scratch-message when they are recreated?

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  • Here is a link to an idea you may wish to use to create scratch buffers. You can use (insert ...) to insert text wherever you want, just run a test to see whether the buffer already exists so you don't insert the same text twice. emacs.stackexchange.com/a/16493/2287 You can modify the example to make it be whatever major-mode you want, or even just fundamental-mode if so desired. When the *scratch* buffer is created automatically by Emacs, you may wish to use a custom function attached to the variable initial-major-mode which does more than just set major-mode. – lawlist Jan 3 at 17:27
  • NOTE: When the O.P. "recreate[s] it using C-x b *scratch*", the O.P. is merely creating a new generic/vanilla buffer with no particular major-mode. It is just like creating a new buffer named *foo* or *bar* or *baz*. The question, as written, seems to imply that the O.P. believes the newly created buffer named *scratch* may have had some special relationship to the initial *scratch* buffer beyond having the same buffer-name. – lawlist Jan 3 at 18:34
  • @lawlist When I recreate a scratch buffer using C-x b *scratch*, I get a Lisp interaction mode buffer. I am using GNU Emacs 25.2.2. – Flux Jan 3 at 19:21
  • Thank you -- you are correct. The internal function set-buffer-major-mode within buffer.c will run the function attached to the initial-major-mode variable if the buffer-name is *scratch*. The Lisp function window-normalize-buffer-to-switch-to within window.el calls set-buffer-major-mode. Therefore, creating a custom function and attaching it to the initial-major-mode variable seems like the most appropriate course of action given your desire to use the buffer-name *scratch*. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity/incentive to trace the aforementioned items. – lawlist Jan 3 at 20:00
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The internal function set-buffer-major-mode within buffer.c will run the function attached to the initial-major-mode variable if the buffer-name is *scratch*. The Lisp function window-normalize-buffer-to-switch-to within window.el calls set-buffer-major-mode. Therefore, creating a custom function and attaching it to the initial-major-mode variable seems like the most appropriate course of action given the desire by the O.P. to use the buffer-name *scratch*. Using substitute-command-keys in conjunction with the initial-scratch-message will transform \\[find-file] into C-x C-f.

(setq initial-major-mode (lambda ()
                           (insert (substitute-command-keys initial-scratch-message))
                           (lisp-interaction-mode)))

The default value of the variable initial-scratch-message in Emacs 27.1 is:

(purecopy "\
;; This buffer is for text that is not saved, and for Lisp evaluation.
;; To create a file, visit it with \\[find-file] and enter text in its buffer.

")

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