I lost my progress on an org document twice, and I used tons of undo-redo commands, but none of them worked, so now, even though I really like org mode and emacs, I'm kind of disappointed.

Is there a safe way to create documents without the risk of lose everything because of a simple error like using undo-redo commands the wrong way?

I read about version control, but still don't know how to use it. Same thing with undo-tree, I installed it with package-install, but It doesn't appear in the M-x list.

  • 2
    It is extremely unusual to lose a document you are working on in Emacs. Emacs autosaves to a backup file, which by default has the same name as the file but with a ~ at the end. If something does happen then you can load that file and continue your work. Without knowing how you lost your progress, it will be hard for anyone to recommend improvements. You should edit your question to include that information.
    – db48x
    Jun 9 at 2:13
  • You can also M-x diff-buffer-with-file to compare an unsaved buffer with the saved file, and M-x diff-backup to compare a file with its most recent backup. (There are ediff equivalents for both, if you know and prefer ediff.)
    – phils
    Jun 9 at 2:46
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    I agree with @db48x -- you need to describe what actually happened in as much detail as you can, because we can't guess at how you "lost [your] progress", or even what that means specifically.
    – phils
    Jun 9 at 2:49
  • Failing that, I would urge you to read through C-h i g (emacs)Backup and make sure things are configured to your satisfaction.
    – phils
    Jun 9 at 2:51
  • Emacs built in-tools are nice and useful. At the end of the day, using a version-control like GIT will pay. Maybe start with RCS, which is simpler and does all needed on a local machine. Jun 9 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


I think UndoTree may help you in maintaining a history of your edits. Specifically you should take a look on the undo-tree-auto-save-history option, which saves the history to a file.

Additionally there is an idea of using version control always, but it is only a hack and not maintained.

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