31.17. Invoking emacsclient

To run the emacsclient program, specify file names as arguments, and optionally line numbers as well. Do it like this:

emacsclient {[+line] filename}…

This tells Emacs to visit each of the specified files; if you specify a line number for a certain file, Emacs moves to that line in the file.

Ordinarily, emacsclient does not return until you use the C-x # command on each of these buffers. When that happens, Emacs sends a message to the emacsclient program telling it to return.

But if you use the option -n or -no-wait when running emacsclient, then it returns immediately. (You can take as long as you like to edit the files in Emacs.)

The option -alternate-editor=command is useful when running emacsclient in a script. It specifies a command to run if emacsclient fails to contact Emacs. For example, the following setting for the EDITOR environment variable will always give an editor, even if Emacs is not running:

EDITOR="emacsclient --alternate-editor vi +%d %s"

The environment variable ALTERNATE_EDITOR has the same effect, but the value of the -alternate-editor takes precedence.

Alternatively, the file etc/emacs.bash defines a bash function which will communicate with a running Emacs server, or start one if none exists.