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15.1.5 Special Input for Incremental Search

In addition to characters described in the previous subsections, some of the other characters you type during incremental search have special effects. They are described here.

To toggle lax space matching (see lax space matching), type M-s <SPC>.

To toggle case sensitivity of the search, type M-c or M-s c. See case folding. If the search string includes upper-case letters, the search is case-sensitive by default.

To toggle whether or not the search will consider similar and equivalent characters as a match, type M-s '. See character folding. If the search string includes accented characters, that disables character folding during that search.

To toggle whether or not invisible text is searched, type M-s i (isearch-toggle-invisible). See Outline Search.

To toggle between non-regexp and regexp incremental search, type M-r or M-s r (isearch-toggle-regexp). See Regexp Search.

To toggle symbol mode, type M-s _. See Symbol Search.

To search for a newline character, type C-j as part of the search string.

To search for non-ASCII characters, use one of the following methods:

Typing M-s o in incremental search invokes isearch-occur, which runs occur with the current search string. See occur.

Typing M-% in incremental search invokes query-replace or query-replace-regexp (depending on search mode) with the current search string used as the string to replace. A negative prefix argument means to replace backward. See Query Replace.

Typing M-<TAB> in incremental search invokes isearch-complete, which attempts to complete the search string using the search ring (the previous search strings you used) as a list of completion alternatives. See Completion. In many operating systems, the M-<TAB> key sequence is captured by the window manager; you then need to rebind isearch-complete to another key sequence if you want to use it (see Rebinding).

You can exit the search while leaving the matches for the last search string highlighted on display. To this end, type M-s h r (isearch-highlight-regexp), which will run highlight-regexp (see Highlight Interactively) passing it the regexp derived from the last search string and prompting you for the face to use for highlighting. To remove the highlighting, type M-s h u (unhighlight-regexp).

When incremental search is active, you can type C-h C-h (isearch-help-map) to access interactive help options, including a list of special key bindings. These key bindings are part of the keymap isearch-mode-map (see Keymaps).