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Note: I have not been actively maintaining this ElScreen fork as I no longer use it myself. If you are interested in taking over ownership, please open a Github issue.


This is a fork of ElScreen updated for Emacs 24 and package.el. ElScreen is an Emacs utility with which you can have multiple screens (window-configuration) on your GNU Emacs as well as GNU screen on terminal.

If you use emacs-lisp applications which have many windows (like Gnus, irchat, Wanderlust, Mew...), ElScreen makes it easy to switch to a different screen, with its configuration unchanged. You can also create and kill screen, jump to them, rename the screen, and so on.

This version of ElScreen does not require any external dependencies.


The preferred way to install ElScreen is through MELPA and package.el. If you have Emacs 24, you should already have package.el. To enable MELPA, add something like the following in your .emacs.d file:

(add-to-list 'package-archives
     '("melpa" . "") t)

Once you have installed ElScreen, you can activate it like so:



You may use following sequences on ElScreen:

C-z c
C-z C-c
Create a new screen and switch to it.

C-z C
Create a new screen with the window-configuration of the current screen.

C-z k
C-z C-k
Kill current screen.

C-z M-k
Kill current screen and buffers.

C-z K
Kill other screens.

C-z n
C-z C-n
Switch to the "next" screen in a cyclic order.

C-z p
C-z C-p
Switch to the "previous" screen in a cyclic order.

C-z a
C-z C-a
Toggle to the screen selected previously.

C-z '
Prompt for a screen number to switch to.

C-z "
Present a list of all screens for selection.

C-z 0..9
Jump to the screen number 0-9.

C-z C-s
Swap current screen with previous one.

C-z w
C-z C-w
Show a list of screen.

C-z A
Allow the user to enter a name for the current screen.

C-z m
C-z C-m
Repeat the last message displayed in the mini-buffer.

C-z t
C-z C-t

C-z b
Switch to the screen in which specified buffer is splayed.

C-z C-f
Create new screen and open file.

C-z C-r
Create new screen and open file but don't allow changes.

C-z d
Create new screen and run dired.

C-z M-x
Read function name, then call it with new screen.

C-z i
Show/hide the screen number in the mode line.

C-z T
Show/hide the tab on the top of each frame.

C-z v
Display ElScreen version.

C-z ?
Show key bindings of ElScreen and Add-On softwares.


You can set the following variables to configure ElScreen. These can be set in .emacs file directly or "Options" in your menu bar.


ElScreen prefix-key. The default value is \C-z.


The pairs of buffer-name and corresponding screen nickname or function that returns nickname, which are listed by elscreen-display-screen-name-list only when major-mode cannot determine its screen nickname. The default value is:

    '(("^dired-mode$" .
       (lambda ()
         (format "Dired(%s)" dired-directory)))
      ("^Info-mode$" .
       (lambda ()
         (format "Info(%s)" (file-name-nondirectory Info-current-file))))
      ("^mew-draft-mode$" .
       (lambda ()
         (format "Mew(%s)" (buffer-name (current-buffer)))))
      ("^mew-" . "Mew")
      ("^irchat-" . "IRChat")
      ("^liece-" . "Liece")
      ("^lookup-" . "Lookup"))


The pairs of major-mode and corresponding screen nickname or function that returns nickname, which are listed by elscreen-display-screen-name-list. The default value is:

    '(("[Ss]hell" . "shell")
      ("compilation" . "compile")
      ("-telnet" . "telnet")
      ("dict" . "OnlineDict")
      ("*WL:Message*" . "Wanderlust"))


If non nil, ElScreen processes command line arguments of Emacsen when starting up, and opens files with new screens if needed. The default value is t.


If non nil, show the number of the current screen in mode line. The default value is t.


Specify how the tabs at the top of frame should be displayed. t means to display tabs whose width should be calculated automatically. A value of integer means to display tabs with fixed width of this value. nil means don't display tabs. The default value is t.


If non nil, display the tab (labeled with [<->]) to switch to next/previous screen or create new screen at the most left side of the tab line. The default value is t.


Location of the icon ([X]) to kill corresponding screen on each tab. Possible values are 'left, 'right and nil (to hide icons). The default value is 'left.


Under multiple-frame environment, screen numbers displayed on mode line of each frame is changed at the same time. On GNU Emacs 21, tabs also has this restriction.


Many people contributed to ElScreen by reporting problems or suggesting various improvements. Here is a list of these people.

  • Tohru Sugayama
  • Yoshinobu Takenaga
  • Masatoshi Takamura
  • Jin Kashimura
  • Takahiko Sakai
  • Norio Suzuki
  • Yoshitatsu Takeshita
  • Yoichi Nakayama
  • Dan Debertin
  • Yoshinori Koseki
  • Hideyuki Shirai
  • Masahiro Ishiyama
  • Alexy Khrabrov


Emacs window session manager modeled after GNU screen



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