Emacs Keyboard Macro Example: Add Title of URL

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Here's a example of keyboard macro use. I use macro about few times a month. When you need it, it is extremely convenient.

Today, i have about 60 lines, each line is a URL, like this:


I need it to be like this:

* Mathematical Models of 3D Inputs Control

Where the first line is the <title>…</title> of that page.

Here's what i do to record this as keyboard macro.

  1. First, replace all http://example.com/ by local path ~/web/example_com/ [see Emacs: Find and Replace Commands]
  2. Move cursor to the first line.
  3. Start kmacro.
  4. Alt+xffap (find-file-at-point) to open the file.
  5. Move cursor to top. 【Ctrl+Home
  6. Grab the HTML title between <title>…</title> tag, by using isearch-forward for <title>, set-mark, then search for <, move cursor 1 position back, then copy it.
  7. Close the file by Alt+x kill-buffer.
  8. Type * , then paste (yank) the title, then Enter ↵ to insert a line.
  9. Move cursor 2 position down to the next line.
  10. End the kmacro.

Now, each time you Alt+x call-last-kbd-macro, a line will be processed, with its title inserted above the line.

You can also select all lines that has not yet been processed, then Alt+x apply-macro-to-region-lines. Then, in about 1 second, all 60 lines become this:

* Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard Review

* Pinyin Letter Frequency on Dvorak Layout. 拼音字母頻率, Dvorak 鍵盤佈局

* Trackball Reviews


In keyboard macro, you can call any emacs commands. Emacs's kmacro simply play back the keystrokes.

keymacro is extremely useful whenever you need to do something repeatitive. It is a great time-saver. You do not need to know elisp to use it. Even if you are a elisp expert, many repeative tasks are still best done with a kmacro. With kmacro, i can finish this job in 30 seconds. But if i were to write a elisp for it, it easly can take 20 min and drains a lot brain juice.

Liket it? Put $1 at patreon. Or Buy Xah Emacs Tutorial. Thanks.