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GNU Emacs Manual

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AD.3.2 Naming and Saving Keyboard Macros

If you wish to save a keyboard macro for longer than until you define the next one, you must give it a name using M-x name-last-kbd-macro. This reads a name as an argument using the minibuffer and defines that name to execute the macro. The macro name is a Lisp symbol, and defining it in this way makes it a valid command name for calling with M-x or for binding a key to with global-set-key (see section AD.4.1 Keymaps). If you specify a name that has a prior definition other than another keyboard macro, an error message is shown and nothing is changed.

Once a macro has a command name, you can save its definition in a file. Then it can be used in another editing session. First, visit the file you want to save the definition in. Then use this command:

 
M-x insert-kbd-macro RET macroname RET

This inserts some Lisp code that, when executed later, will define the same macro with the same definition it has now. (You need not understand Lisp code to do this, because insert-kbd-macro writes the Lisp code for you.) Then save the file. You can load the file later with load-file (see section V.7 Libraries of Lisp Code for Emacs). If the file you save in is your init file `~/.emacs' (see section AD.7 The Init File, `~/.emacs') then the macro will be defined each time you run Emacs.

If you give insert-kbd-macro a numeric argument, it makes additional Lisp code to record the keys (if any) that you have bound to the keyboard macro, so that the macro will be reassigned the same keys when you load the file.


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