How can I make :q in spacemacs' evil mode, kill the buffer and delete the window, but not kill Emacs?

Coming from VI, the habit of closing with :q/:wq or ZZ/ZQ doesn't translate very well into Emacs.

I'm too new to figure out how to reprogram this.

I've come to really like Spacemacs, but need help in modifying this behavior.

  • As far as I know, in vim, :q quits vim. To delete a buffer and window you should use :bd (I might be wrong, but this is how I remember it). Anyway, these things work similar in Spacemacs. However, for me (and I guess for most SPACEmacs users) the preferred way to achieve this is by pressing SPC b x (or equivalently SPC w x, but I think SPC b x is slightly more convenient to type). Jun 30, 2022 at 14:32
  • I agree with what you're saying, however as I'm learning to 'live' in Emacs through Spacemacs and evil-mode, I'm trying to do away with the 'muscle memory' I have from vim. As a terminal editor, quitting to go back to the terminal is 'natural' (at least for me), with Emacs, I want to prevent myself from my old habits. So while what I'm asking is not best-practices, it's a way for me to learn more about how everything works/inter-connects.
    – Lockszmith
    Jun 30, 2022 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


The commands entered by pressing : are, similar to vim, called 'evil-ex-commands'. How to remap them is described in this issue. For your case, you probably want:

(global-set-key [remap evil-quit] 'kill-buffer-and-window)

You could add this line to your dotspacemacs/user-config.

In the issue, it is also described that the evil-ex bindings are defined in the evil-ex-commands variable. Another way to find the binding is via SPC h d x (then q, for this case).

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