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36.3 Saving Abbrevs in Files

A file of saved abbrev definitions is actually a file of Lisp code. The abbrevs are saved in the form of a Lisp program to define the same abbrev tables with the same contents. Therefore, you can load the file with load (see How Programs Do Loading). However, the function quietly-read-abbrev-file is provided as a more convenient interface. Emacs automatically calls this function at startup.

User-level facilities such as save-some-buffers can save abbrevs in a file automatically, under the control of variables described here.

— User Option: abbrev-file-name

This is the default file name for reading and saving abbrevs.

— Function: quietly-read-abbrev-file &optional filename

This function reads abbrev definitions from a file named filename, previously written with write-abbrev-file. If filename is omitted or nil, the file specified in abbrev-file-name is used.

As the name implies, this function does not display any messages.

— User Option: save-abbrevs

A non-nil value for save-abbrevs means that Emacs should offer to save abbrevs (if any have changed) when files are saved. If the value is silently, Emacs saves the abbrevs without asking the user. abbrev-file-name specifies the file to save the abbrevs in.

— Variable: abbrevs-changed

This variable is set non-nil by defining or altering any abbrevs (except system abbrevs). This serves as a flag for various Emacs commands to offer to save your abbrevs.

— Command: write-abbrev-file &optional filename

Save all abbrev definitions (except system abbrevs), for all abbrev tables listed in abbrev-table-name-list, in the file filename, in the form of a Lisp program that when loaded will define the same abbrevs. If filename is nil or omitted, abbrev-file-name is used. This function returns nil.