Horizontal scrolling means shifting the image in the window left or right by a specified multiple of the normal character width. Each window has a horizontal scroll position, which is a number, never less than zero. It specifies how far to shift the contents left. Shifting the window contents left generally makes all or part of some characters disappear off the left, and all or part of some other characters appear at the right. The usual value is zero.
The horizontal scroll position is measured in units of the normal character width, which is the width of space in the default font. Thus, if the value is 5, that means the window contents are scrolled left by 5 times the normal character width. How many characters actually disappear off to the left depends on their width, and could vary from line to line.
Because we read from side to side in the “inner loop”, and from top to bottom in the “outer loop”, the effect of horizontal scrolling is not like that of textual or vertical scrolling. Textual scrolling involves selection of a portion of text to display, and vertical scrolling moves the window contents contiguously; but horizontal scrolling causes part of each line to go off screen.
Usually, no horizontal scrolling is in effect; then the leftmost column is at the left edge of the window. In this state, scrolling to the right is meaningless, since there is no data to the left of the edge to be revealed by it; so this is not allowed. Scrolling to the left is allowed; it scrolls the first columns of text off the edge of the window and can reveal additional columns on the right that were truncated before. Once a window has a nonzero amount of leftward horizontal scrolling, you can scroll it back to the right, but only so far as to reduce the net horizontal scroll to zero. There is no limit to how far left you can scroll, but eventually all the text will disappear off the left edge.
auto-hscroll-mode is set, redisplay automatically alters
the horizontal scrolling of a window as necessary to ensure that point
is always visible. However, you can still set the horizontal
scrolling value explicitly. The value you specify serves as a lower
bound for automatic scrolling, i.e., automatic scrolling will not
scroll a window to a column less than the specified one.
This function scrolls the selected window count columns to the left (or to the right if count is negative). The default for count is the window width, minus 2.
The return value is the total amount of leftward horizontal scrolling in
effect after the change—just like the value returned by
Once you scroll a window as far right as it can go, back to its normal position where the total leftward scrolling is zero, attempts to scroll any farther right have no effect.
If set-minimum is non-
nil, the new scroll amount becomes
the lower bound for automatic scrolling; that is, automatic scrolling
will not scroll a window to a column less than the value returned by
this function. Interactive calls pass non-
This function scrolls the selected window count columns to the
right (or to the left if count is negative). The default
for count is the window width, minus 2. Aside from the direction
of scrolling, this works just like
This function returns the total leftward horizontal scrolling of window—the number of columns by which the text in window is scrolled left past the left margin. The default for window is the selected window.
The return value is never negative. It is zero when no horizontal scrolling has been done in window (which is usually the case).
(window-hscroll) ⇒ 0
(scroll-left 5) ⇒ 5
(window-hscroll) ⇒ 5
This function sets horizontal scrolling of window. The value of columns specifies the amount of scrolling, in terms of columns from the left margin. The argument columns should be zero or positive; if not, it is taken as zero. Fractional values of columns are not supported at present.
set-window-hscroll may appear not to work if you test
it by evaluating a call with M-: in a simple way. What happens
is that the function sets the horizontal scroll value and returns, but
then redisplay adjusts the horizontal scrolling to make point visible,
and this overrides what the function did. You can observe the
function’s effect if you call it while point is sufficiently far from
the left margin that it will remain visible.
The value returned is columns.
(set-window-hscroll (selected-window) 10) ⇒ 10
Here is how you can determine whether a given position position is off the screen due to horizontal scrolling:
(defun hscroll-on-screen (window position) (save-excursion (goto-char position) (and (>= (- (current-column) (window-hscroll window)) 0) (< (- (current-column) (window-hscroll window)) (window-width window)))))