: Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition

4.2 Working with Multiple Buffers

If you want to create a buffer that contains a file, simply type C-x C-f to find the file. Emacs automatically creates a second buffer and moves you there. If you already have a copy of the file in a buffer, C-x C-f just moves you to the existing buffer. This move is sensible and probably really what you want anyhow; if C-x C-f read the file from disk every time, you could end up with many versions of the same file that were each slightly different. If the filename you give C-x C-f doesn't exist, Emacs assumes you want to create a new file by that name and moves you to a blank buffer.

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