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Emacs registers are compartments where you can save text, rectangles, positions, and other things for later use. Once you save text or a rectangle in a register, you can copy it into the buffer once, or many times; once you save a position in a register, you can jump back to that position once, or many times.

Naming convention

There are 62 registers, each with a single character for a name:

  • from a to z
  • from A to Z, different from a to z
  • from 0 to 9


A register can store a position, a piece of text, a rectangle, a number, a window configuration, or a file name, but only one thing at any given time. Whatever you store in a register remains there until you store something else in that register.

How to use

Type How to save How to use Other useful command
Position C-x r <SPC> r jump: C-x r j r
Text C-x r s r insert: C-x r i r m-x append-toregister <RET> r; m-x prepend-to-register <RET> r
Rectangle C-x r r r insert: C-x r i r
Window Config C-x r w r restore: C-x r j r save all frame's window: C-x r f r
Number C-u number C-x r n r insert: C-x r i r increment: C-x r + r
File (set-register ?z '(fine . name)) jump: C-x r j r
  • To see what register r contains, use M-x view-register
  • To visualize what register r contains with helm you can M-x helm-register


Bookmarks can be thought as register with a long name and surviving between Emacs session.