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19.7.2 Switching Between Buffers using Substrings

Iswitchb global minor mode provides convenient switching between buffers using substrings of their names. It replaces the normal definitions of C-x b, C-x 4 b, C-x 5 b, and C-x 4 C-o with alternative commands that are somewhat “smarter”.

When one of these commands prompts you for a buffer name, you can type in just a substring of the name you want to choose. As you enter the substring, Iswitchb mode continuously displays a list of buffers that match the substring you have typed.

At any time, you can type <RET> to select the first buffer in the list. So the way to select a particular buffer is to make it the first in the list. There are two ways to do this. You can type more of the buffer name and thus narrow down the list, excluding unwanted buffers above the desired one. Alternatively, you can use C-s and C-r to rotate the list until the desired buffer is first.

<TAB> while entering the buffer name performs completion on the string you have entered, based on the displayed list of buffers.

To enable Iswitchb mode, type M-x iswitchb-mode, or customize the variable iswitchb-mode to t (see Easy Customization).