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27.17 Quitting Windows

When you want to get rid of a window used for displaying a buffer, you can call delete-window or delete-windows-on (see Deleting Windows) to remove that window from its frame. If the buffer is shown on a separate frame, you might want to call delete-frame (see Deleting Frames) instead. If, on the other hand, a window has been reused for displaying the buffer, you might prefer showing the buffer previously shown in that window, by calling the function switch-to-prev-buffer (see Window History). Finally, you might want to either bury (see Buffer List) or kill (see Killing Buffers) the window’s buffer.

The following command uses information on how the window for displaying the buffer was obtained in the first place, thus attempting to automate the above decisions for you.

Command: quit-window &optional kill window

This command quits window and buries its buffer. The argument window must be a live window and defaults to the selected one. With prefix argument kill non-nil, it kills the buffer instead of burying it. It calls the function quit-restore-window described next to deal with the window and its buffer.

Function: quit-restore-window &optional window bury-or-kill

This function tries to restore the state of window that existed before its buffer was displayed in it. The optional argument window must be a live window and defaults to the selected one.

If window was created specially for displaying its buffer, this function deletes window provided its frame contains at least one other live window. If window is the only window on its frame and there are other frames on the frame’s terminal, the value of the optional argument bury-or-kill determines how to proceed with the window. If bury-or-kill equals kill, the frame is deleted unconditionally. Otherwise, the fate of the frame is determined by calling frame-auto-hide-function (see below) with that frame as sole argument.

Otherwise, this function tries to redisplay the buffer previously shown in window. It also tries to restore the window start (see Window Start and End) and point (see Window Point) positions of the previously shown buffer. If, in addition, window’s buffer was temporarily resized, this function will also try to restore the original height of window.

The cases described so far require that the buffer shown in window is still the buffer displayed by the last buffer display function for this window. If another buffer has been shown in the meantime, or the buffer previously shown no longer exists, this function calls switch-to-prev-buffer (see Window History) to show some other buffer instead.

The optional argument bury-or-kill specifies how to deal with window’s buffer. The following values are handled:


This means to not deal with the buffer in any particular way. As a consequence, if window is not deleted, invoking switch-to-prev-buffer will usually show the buffer again.


This means that if window is not deleted, its buffer is moved to the end of window’s list of previous buffers, so it’s less likely that a future invocation of switch-to-prev-buffer will switch to it. Also, it moves the buffer to the end of the frame’s buffer list.


This means that if window is not deleted, its buffer is removed from window’s list of previous buffers. Also, it moves the buffer to the end of the frame’s buffer list. This value provides the most reliable remedy to not have switch-to-prev-buffer switch to this buffer again without killing the buffer.


This means to kill window’s buffer.

quit-restore-window bases its decisions on information stored in window’s quit-restore window parameter (see Window Parameters), and resets that parameter to nil after it’s done.

The following option specifies how to deal with a frame containing just one window that should be either quit, or whose buffer should be buried.

User Option: frame-auto-hide-function

The function specified by this option is called to automatically hide frames. This function is called with one argument—a frame.

The function specified here is called by bury-buffer (see Buffer List) when the selected window is dedicated and shows the buffer to bury. It is also called by quit-restore-window (see above) when the frame of the window to quit has been specially created for displaying that window’s buffer and the buffer is not killed.

The default is to call iconify-frame (see Visibility of Frames). Alternatively, you may specify either delete-frame (see Deleting Frames) to remove the frame from its display, ignore to leave the frame unchanged, or any other function that can take a frame as its sole argument.

Note that the function specified by this option is called only if the specified frame contains just one live window and there is at least one other frame on the same terminal.

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