I want my emacs frame to be permanently split into two (or sometimes 3 - with a different monitor - but let's talk two for now) columns of windows.

E.g., C-x 0 and C-x 1 may only affect the windows in the same "window column" as this one. Deleting a window column should be very hard (require a confirmation or a separate command).

Basically, this is functionally equivalent to having two frames side by side, except that I save on window decorations and the menu bar is re-used &c.

How do I get this without writing too much code?

  • Maybe you'd like to take a look at the source code of neotree, and then post an answer. (I want to know the answer to this question, too.)
    – shynur
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 16:11
  • @shynur: neotree appears to be similar to sr-speedbar and is thus a completely orthogonal issue: it creates a special window dedicated to the neotree buffer while I want both windows to be usable for all buffers and be splittable.
    – sds
    Commented Aug 17, 2023 at 13:32

1 Answer 1


Here is what I have been using for quite some time. It's small and simple, but quite imperfect.

(defun sds-split-window (size)
  "Split the window (sideways if it is wide) and switch buffer.
Pass SIZE to `split-window-right' or `split-window-below'."
  (interactive "P")
  (if (< split-width-threshold (window-width))
      (split-window-right size)
    (split-window-below size))
  (switch-to-buffer (other-buffer)))
(define-key global-map [f2] 'sds-split-window) ; use C-x 6 for 2C-command

(defun sds-delete-other-windows ()
  "Delete other windows first vertically, then all."
  (if (eq last-command 'sds-delete-other-windows)
(define-key ctl-x-map "1" 'sds-delete-other-windows)

(defun sds-swap-buf ()
  "Change the buffer to `other-buffer'."
  (switch-to-buffer (other-buffer)))
(define-key global-map [f8] 'sds-swap-buf) ; same as C-x b RET

I would love to see something more robust (even at an expense of large code base - as long as it is maintained by someone else ;-).

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