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18.1 Creating User Keys

Any Calculator command may be bound to a key using the Z D (calc-user-define) command. Actually, it is bound to a two-key sequence beginning with the lower-case z prefix.

The Z D command first prompts for the key to define. For example, press Z D a to define the new key sequence z a. You are then prompted for the name of the Calculator command that this key should run. For example, the calc-sincos command is not normally available on a key. Typing Z D s sincos <RET> programs the z s key sequence to run calc-sincos. This definition will remain in effect for the rest of this Emacs session, or until you redefine z s to be something else.

You can actually bind any Emacs command to a z key sequence by backspacing over the ‘calc-’ when you are prompted for the command name.

As with any other prefix key, you can type z ? to see a list of all the two-key sequences you have defined that start with z. Initially, no z sequences (except z ? itself) are defined.

User keys are typically letters, but may in fact be any key. (<META>-keys are not permitted, nor are a terminal's special function keys which generate multi-character sequences when pressed.) You can define different commands on the shifted and unshifted versions of a letter if you wish.

The Z U (calc-user-undefine) command unbinds a user key. For example, the key sequence Z U s will undefine the sincos key we defined above.

The Z P (calc-user-define-permanent) command makes a key binding permanent so that it will remain in effect even in future Emacs sessions. (It does this by adding a suitable bit of Lisp code into your Calc init file; that is, the file given by the variable calc-settings-file, typically ~/.emacs.d/calc.el.) For example, Z P s would register our sincos command permanently. If you later wish to unregister this command you must edit your Calc init file by hand. (See General Mode Commands, for a way to tell Calc to use a different file for the Calc init file.)

The Z P command also saves the user definition, if any, for the command bound to the key. After Z F and Z C, a given user key could invoke a command, which in turn calls an algebraic function, which might have one or more special display formats. A single Z P command will save all of these definitions. To save an algebraic function, type ' (the apostrophe) when prompted for a key, and type the function name. To save a command without its key binding, type M-x and enter a function name. (The ‘calc-’ prefix will automatically be inserted for you.) (If the command you give implies a function, the function will be saved, and if the function has any display formats, those will be saved, but not the other way around: Saving a function will not save any commands or key bindings associated with the function.)

The Z E (calc-user-define-edit) command edits the definition of a user key. This works for keys that have been defined by either keyboard macros or formulas; further details are contained in the relevant following sections.