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I am trying to copy some text from the browser by highlighting it. I then go to emacs and want to paste over an existing paragraph without deleting it beforehand. How do you do that?

  • This would be on topic in the Emacs Stack Exchange. Just FYI. – Faheem Mitha Feb 21 '16 at 17:32
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According to Michael Mrozek in How to replace a region in emacs with yank buffer contents?

Add this to your .emacs:

(delete-selection-mode 1)

Anything that writes to the buffer while the region is active will overwrite it, including paste, but also simply typing something or hitting backspace

Further reading:

0

Emacs doesn't have an "overwrite current selection" command, but you can easily (hah!) write your own.

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