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38.12.8 Basic Faces

If your Emacs Lisp program needs to assign some faces to text, it is often a good idea to use certain existing faces or inherit from them, rather than defining entirely new faces. This way, if other users have customized the basic faces to give Emacs a certain look, your program will “fit in” without additional customization.

Some of the basic faces defined in Emacs are listed below. In addition to these, you might want to make use of the Font Lock faces for syntactic highlighting, if highlighting is not already handled by Font Lock mode, or if some Font Lock faces are not in use. See Faces for Font Lock.

default
The default face, whose attributes are all specified. All other faces implicitly inherit from it: any unspecified attribute defaults to the attribute on this face (see Face Attributes).
bold
italic
bold-italic
underline
fixed-pitch
variable-pitch
These have the attributes indicated by their names (e.g., bold has a bold :weight attribute), with all other attributes unspecified (and so given by default).
shadow
For “dimmed out” text. For example, it is used for the ignored part of a filename in the minibuffer (see Minibuffers for File Names).
link
link-visited
For clickable text buttons that send the user to a different buffer or “location”.
highlight
For stretches of text that should temporarily stand out. For example, it is commonly assigned to the mouse-face property for cursor highlighting (see Special Properties).
match
For text matching a search command.
error
warning
success
For text concerning errors, warnings, or successes. For example, these are used for messages in *Compilation* buffers.