The GNU Emacs FAQ

This is the GNU Emacs FAQ.

This FAQ is maintained as a part of GNU Emacs. If you find any errors, or have any suggestions, please use M-x report-emacs-bug to report them.

This is the version of the FAQ distributed with Emacs 27.2, and mainly describes that version. Although there is some information on older versions, details about very old releases (now only of historical interest) have been removed. If you are interested in this, consult either the version of the FAQ distributed with older versions of Emacs, or the history of this document in the Emacs source repository.

Since Emacs releases are very stable, we recommend always running the latest release.

This FAQ is not updated very frequently. When you have a question about Emacs, the Emacs manual is often the best starting point.

Copyright © 2001–2021 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 Reuven M. Lerner
Copyright © 1992, 1993 Steven Byrnes
Copyright © 1990, 1991, 1992 Joseph Brian Wells

This list of frequently asked questions about GNU Emacs with answers (“FAQ”) may be translated into other languages, transformed into other formats (e.g., Texinfo, Info, HTML, PDF), and updated with new information.

The same conditions apply to any derivative of the FAQ as apply to the FAQ itself. Every copy of the FAQ must include this notice or an approved translation, information on who is currently maintaining the FAQ and how to contact them (including their e-mail address), and information on where the latest version of the FAQ is archived (including FTP information).

The FAQ may be copied and redistributed under these conditions, except that the FAQ may not be embedded in a larger literary work unless that work itself allows free copying and redistribution.

[This version has been heavily edited since it was included in the Emacs distribution in 1999.]

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1 FAQ notation

This chapter describes notation used in the GNU Emacs FAQ, as well as in the Emacs documentation. Consult this section if this is the first time you are reading the FAQ, or if you are confused by notation or terms used in the FAQ.

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1.1 What do these mean: C-h, C-M-a, RET, ESC a, etc.?

Key sequences longer than one key (and some single-key sequences) are written inside quotes or on lines by themselves, like this:

  M-x frobnicate-while-foo RET

Any real spaces in such a key sequence should be ignored; only SPC really means press the space key.

The ASCII code sent by C-x (except for C-?) is the value that would be sent by pressing just x minus 96 (or 64 for upper-case X) and will be from 0 to 31. On Unix and GNU/Linux terminals, the ASCII code sent by M-x is the sum of 128 and the ASCII code that would be sent by pressing just x. Essentially, Control turns off bits 5 and 6 and Meta turns on bit 71.

C-? (aka DEL) is ASCII code 127. It is a misnomer to call C-? a “control” key, since 127 has both bits 5 and 6 turned ON. Also, on very few keyboards does C-? generate ASCII code 127.

See Keys in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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1.2 What does M-x command mean?

M-x command means type M-x, then type the name of the command, then type RET. (See Basic keys, if you’re not sure what M-x and RET mean.)

M-x (by default) invokes the command execute-extended-command. This command allows you to run any Emacs command if you can remember the command’s name. If you can’t remember the command’s name, you can type TAB and SPC for completion, ? for a list of possibilities, and M-p and M-n (or up-arrow and down-arrow) to see previous commands entered. An Emacs command is an interactive Emacs function.

Your system administrator may have bound other key sequences to invoke execute-extended-command. A function key labeled Do is a good candidate for this, on keyboards that have such a key.

If you need to run non-interactive Emacs functions, see Evaluating Emacs Lisp code.

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1.3 How do I read topic XXX in the Emacs manual?

When we refer you to some topic in the Emacs manual, you can read this manual node inside Emacs (assuming nothing is broken) by typing C-h i m emacs RET m topic RET.

This invokes Info, the GNU hypertext documentation browser. If you don’t already know how to use Info, type ? from within Info.

If we refer to topic:subtopic, type C-h i m emacs RET m topic RET m subtopic RET.

If these commands don’t work as expected, your system administrator may not have installed the Info files, or may have installed them improperly. In this case you should complain.

If you are reading this FAQ in Info, you can simply press RET on a reference to follow it.

See Getting a printed manual, if you would like a paper copy of the Emacs manual.

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1.4 What are src/config.h, site-lisp/default.el, etc.?

These are files that come with Emacs. The Emacs distribution is divided into subdirectories; e.g., etc, lisp, and src. Some of these (e.g., etc and lisp) are present both in an installed Emacs and in the sources, but some (e.g., src) are only found in the sources.

If you use Emacs, but don’t know where it is kept on your system, start Emacs, then type C-h v data-directory RET. The directory name displayed by this will be the full pathname of the installed etc directory. (This full path is recorded in the Emacs variable data-directory, and C-h v displays the value and the documentation of a variable.)

The location of your Info directory (i.e., where Info documentation is stored) is kept in the variable Info-default-directory-list. Use C-h v Info-default-directory-list RET to see the value of this variable, which will be a list of directory names. The last directory in that list is probably where most Info files are stored. By default, Emacs Info documentation is placed in /usr/local/share/info.

For information on some of the files in the etc directory, see Informational files for Emacs.

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1.5 What are FSF, GNU, RMS, and GPL?


Free Software Foundation


GNU’s Not Unix


Richard Matthew Stallman


GNU General Public License

The word “free” in the title of the Free Software Foundation refers to “freedom,” not “zero cost.” Anyone can charge any price for GPL-covered software that they want to. However, in practice, the freedom enforced by the GPL leads to low prices, because you can always get the software for less money from someone else, since everyone has the right to resell or give away GPL-covered software.

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2 General questions

This chapter contains general questions having to do with Emacs, the Free Software Foundation, and related organizations.

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2.1 What is the real legal meaning of the GNU copyleft?

The real legal meaning of the GNU General Public License (copyleft) will only be known if and when a judge rules on its validity and scope. There has never been a copyright infringement case involving the GPL to set any precedents. Although legal actions have been brought against companies for violating the terms of the GPL, so far all have been settled out of court (in favor of the plaintiffs). Please take any discussion regarding this issue to the newsgroup news:gnu.misc.discuss, which was created to hold the extensive flame wars on the subject.

RMS writes:

The legal meaning of the GNU copyleft is less important than the spirit, which is that Emacs is a free software project and that work pertaining to Emacs should also be free software. “Free” means that all users have the freedom to study, share, change and improve Emacs. To make sure everyone has this freedom, pass along source code when you distribute any version of Emacs or a related program, and give the recipients the same freedom that you enjoyed.

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2.2 What are appropriate messages for the various Emacs newsgroups?

The Emacs mailing lists are described at the Emacs Savannah page. Some of them are gatewayed to newsgroups.

The newsgroup news:comp.emacs is for discussion of Emacs programs in general. The newsgroup is specifically for GNU Emacs. It therefore makes no sense to cross-post to both groups, since only one can be appropriate to any question.

Messages advocating “non-free” software are considered unacceptable on any of the gnu.* newsgroups except for news:gnu.misc.discuss, which was created to hold the extensive flame-wars on the subject. “Non-free” software includes any software for which the end user can’t freely modify the source code and exchange enhancements. Be careful to remove the gnu.* groups from the ‘Newsgroups:’ line when posting a followup that recommends such software.

news:gnu.emacs.bug is a place where bug reports appear, but avoid posting bug reports to this newsgroup directly (see Reporting bugs).

Finally, we recommend reading the GNU Kind Communications Guidelines before posting to any GNU lists or newsgroups.

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2.3 Where can I get old postings to and other GNU groups?

The FSF has maintained archives of all of the GNU mailing lists for many years, although there may be some unintentional gaps in coverage. The archive can be browsed over the web at the GNU mail archive.

Web-based Usenet search services, such as Google, also archive the gnu.* groups.

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2.4 Where should I report bugs and other problems with Emacs?

Please see the Emacs manual for information on how to report bugs. See Checklist for Bug Reports in The GNU Emacs Manual.

It is better to report bugs as described there than to ask on the help mailing list. RMS says:

Sending bug reports to the help-gnu-emacs mailing list is undesirable because it takes the time of an unnecessarily large group of people, most of whom are just users and have no idea how to fix these problem. The bug-gnu-emacs list reaches a much smaller group of people who are more likely to know what to do and have expressed a wish to receive more messages about Emacs than the others.

RMS says it is sometimes fine to post to the help list:

If you have reported a bug and you don’t hear about a possible fix, then after a suitable delay (such as a week) it is okay to post on the help list asking if anyone can help you.

If you are unsure whether you have found a bug, consider the following non-exhaustive list, courtesy of RMS:

If Emacs crashes, that is a bug. If Emacs gets compilation errors while building, that is a bug. If Emacs crashes while building, that is a bug. If Lisp code does not do what the documentation says it does, that is a bug.

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2.5 How do I unsubscribe from a mailing list?

If you are receiving a GNU mailing list named list, you should be able to unsubscribe from it by sending a request to the address Mailing lists mails normally contain information in either the message header (‘List-Unsubscribe:’) or as a footer that tells you how to unsubscribe.

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2.6 How do I contact the FSF?

For up-to-date information, see the FSF contact web-page. You can send general correspondence to

For details on how to order items directly from the FSF, see the FSF on-line store.

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3 Getting help

This chapter tells you how to get help with Emacs.

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3.1 I’m just starting Emacs; how do I do basic editing?

Type C-h t to invoke the self-paced tutorial. Just typing C-h enters the help system. Starting with Emacs 22, the tutorial is available in many foreign languages such as French, German, Japanese, Russian, etc. Use M-x help-with-tutorial-spec-language RET to choose your language and start the tutorial.

Your system administrator may have changed C-h to act like DEL to deal with local keyboards. You can use M-x help-for-help instead to invoke help. To discover what key (if any) invokes help on your system, type M-x where-is RET help-for-help RET. This will print a comma-separated list of key sequences in the echo area. Ignore the last character in each key sequence listed. Each of the resulting key sequences (e.g., F1 is common) invokes help.

Emacs help works best if it is invoked by a single key whose value should be stored in the variable help-char.

Some Emacs slides and tutorials can be found at

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3.2 How do I find out how to do something in Emacs?

There are several methods for finding out how to do things in Emacs.

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3.3 How do I get a printed copy of the Emacs manual?

You can order a printed copy of the Emacs manual from the FSF. For details see the FSF on-line store.

The full Texinfo source for the manual also comes in the doc/emacs directory of the Emacs distribution, if you’re daring enough to try to print out this several-hundred-page manual yourself (see Printing a Texinfo file).

If you absolutely have to print your own copy, and you don’t have TeX, you can get a PostScript or PDF (or HTML) version from

See Learning how to do something, for how to view the manual from Emacs.

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3.4 Where can I get documentation on Emacs Lisp?

Within Emacs, you can type C-h f to get the documentation for a function, C-h v for a variable.

For more information, the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual is available in Info format (see Emacs Lisp in The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual).

You can also order a hardcopy of the manual from the FSF, for details see the FSF on-line store. (This manual is not always in print.)

An HTML version of the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual is available at

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3.5 How do I install a piece of Texinfo documentation?

Emacs releases come with pre-built Info files, and the normal install process places them in the correct location. This is true for most applications that provide Info files. The following section is only relevant if you want to install extra Info files by hand.

First, you must turn the Texinfo source files into Info files. You may do this using the stand-alone makeinfo program, available as part of the Texinfo package at

For information about the Texinfo format, read the Texinfo manual which comes with the Texinfo package. This manual also comes installed in Info format, so you can read it from Emacs; type C-h i m texinfo RET.

Alternatively, you could use the Emacs command M-x texinfo-format-buffer, after visiting the Texinfo source file of the manual you want to convert.

Neither texinfo-format-buffer nor makeinfo installs the resulting Info files in Emacs’s Info tree. To install Info files, perform these steps:

  1. Move the files to the info directory in the installed Emacs distribution. See File-name conventions, if you don’t know where that is.
  2. Run the install-info command, which is part of the Texinfo distribution, to update the main Info directory menu, like this:
     install-info --info-dir=dir-path dir-path/file

    where dir-path is the full path to the directory where you copied the produced Info file(s), and file is the name of the Info file you produced and want to install.

    If you don’t have the install-info command installed, you can edit the file info/dir in the installed Emacs distribution, and add a line for the top level node in the Info package that you are installing. Follow the examples already in this file. The format is:

    * Topic: (relative-pathname).  Short description of topic.

If you want to install Info files and you don’t have the necessary privileges, you have several options:

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3.6 How do I print a Texinfo file?

You can’t get nicely printed output from Info files; you must still have the original Texinfo source file for the manual you want to print.

Assuming you have TeX installed on your system, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the first line of the Texinfo file looks like this:
    \input texinfo

    You may need to change ‘texinfo’ to the full pathname of the texinfo.tex file, which comes with Emacs as doc/misc/texinfo.tex (or copy or link it into the current directory).

  2. Type texi2dvi texinfo-source, where texinfo-source is the name of the Texinfo source file for which you want to produce a printed copy. The ‘texi2dvi’ script is part of the GNU Texinfo distribution.

    Alternatively, ‘texi2pdf’ produces PDF files.

  3. Print the DVI file texinfo-source.dvi in the normal way for printing DVI files at your site. For example, if you have a PostScript printer, run the dvips program to print the DVI file on that printer.

To get more general instructions, retrieve the latest Texinfo package (see Installing Texinfo documentation).

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3.7 Can I view Info files without using Emacs?

Yes. Here are some alternative programs:

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3.8 What informational files are available for Emacs?

This isn’t a frequently asked question, but it should be! A variety of informational files about Emacs and relevant aspects of the GNU project are available for you to read.

The following files (and others) are available in the etc directory of the Emacs distribution (see File-name conventions, if you’re not sure where that is). Many of these files are available via the Emacs ‘Help’ menu, or by typing C-h ? (M-x help-for-help).


GNU General Public License


Emacs Availability Information


Status of Emacs on Various Machines and Systems


Emacs news, a history of recent user-visible changes

More GNU information, including back issues of the GNU’s Bulletin, are at and

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3.9 Where can I get help in installing Emacs?

See Installing Emacs, for some basic installation hints, and see Problems building Emacs, if you have problems with the installation.

The GNU Service directory lists companies and individuals willing to sell you help in installing or using Emacs and other GNU software.

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3.10 Where can I get the latest version of this FAQ?

The Emacs FAQ is distributed with Emacs in Info format. You can read it by selecting the ‘Emacs FAQ’ option from the ‘Help’ menu of the Emacs menu bar at the top of any Emacs frame, or by typing C-h C-f (M-x view-emacs-FAQ). The very latest version is available in the Emacs development repository (see Latest version of Emacs).

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4 Status of Emacs

This chapter gives you basic information about Emacs, including the status of its latest version.

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4.1 Where does the name “Emacs” come from?

Emacs originally was an acronym for Editor MACroS. RMS says he “picked the name Emacs because E was not in use as an abbreviation on ITS at the time.” The first Emacs was a set of macros written in 1976 at MIT by RMS for the editor TECO (Text Editor and COrrector, originally Tape Editor and COrrector) under ITS (the Incompatible Timesharing System) on a PDP-10. RMS had already extended TECO with a “real-time” full-screen mode with reprogrammable keys. Emacs was started by Guy Steele as a project to unify the many divergent TECO command sets and key bindings at MIT, and completed by RMS.

Many people have said that TECO code looks a lot like line noise; you can read more at news:alt.lang.teco. Someone has written a TECO implementation in Emacs Lisp (to find it, see Packages that do not come with Emacs); it would be an interesting project to run the original TECO Emacs inside of Emacs.

For some not-so-serious alternative reasons for Emacs to have that name, check out the file etc/JOKES (see File-name conventions).

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4.2 What is the latest version of Emacs?

Emacs 27.2 is the current version as of this writing. A version number with two components (e.g., ‘24.5’) indicates a released version; three components indicate a development version (e.g., ‘28.0.50’ is what will eventually become ‘28.1’).

Emacs is under active development, hosted at Savannah. Follow the instructions given there to clone the project repository.

Because Emacs undergoes many changes before a release, the version number of a development version is not especially meaningful. It is better to refer to the date on which the sources were retrieved from the development repository. The development version is usually quite robust for every-day use, but if stability is more important to you than the latest features, you may want to stick to the releases.

The following sections list some of the major new features in the last few Emacs releases. For full details of the changes in any version of Emacs, type C-h C-n (M-x view-emacs-news). As of Emacs 22, you can give this command a prefix argument to read about which features were new in older versions.

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4.3 What is different about Emacs 27?

Consult the Emacs NEWS file (C-h n) for the full list of changes in Emacs 27.

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4.4 What is different about Emacs 26?

Consult the Emacs NEWS file (C-h n) for the full list of changes in Emacs 26.

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4.5 What is different about Emacs 25?

Consult the Emacs NEWS file (C-h n) for the full list of changes in Emacs 25.

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4.6 What is different about Emacs 24?

As always, consult the NEWS file for more information.

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4.7 What is different about Emacs 23?

Other changes include: support for serial port access; D-Bus bindings; a new Visual Line mode for line-motion; improved completion; a new mode (‘DocView’) for viewing of PDF, PostScript, and DVI documents; nXML mode (for editing XML documents) is included; VC has been updated for newer version control systems; etc.

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4.8 What is different about Emacs 22?

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4.9 What is different about Emacs 21?

Emacs 21 features a thorough rewrite of the display engine. The new display engine supports variable-size fonts, images, and can play sounds on platforms which support that. As a result, the visual appearance of Emacs, when it runs on a windowed display, is much more reminiscent of modern GUI programs, and includes 3D widgets (used for the mode line and the scroll bars), a configurable and extensible toolbar, tooltips (a.k.a. balloon help), and other niceties.

In addition, Emacs 21 supports faces on text-only terminals. This means that you can now have colors when you run Emacs on a GNU/Linux console and on xterm with emacs -nw.

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4.10 What is different about Emacs 20?

The differences between Emacs versions 18 and 19 were rather dramatic; the introduction of frames, faces, and colors on windowing systems was obvious to even the most casual user.

There are differences between Emacs versions 19 and 20 as well, but many are more subtle or harder to find. Among the changes are the inclusion of MULE code for languages that use non-Latin characters and for mixing several languages in the same document; the “Customize” facility for modifying variables without having to use Lisp; and automatic conversion of files from Macintosh, Microsoft, and Unix platforms.

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5 Common requests

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5.1 How do I set up a .emacs file properly?

See Init File in The GNU Emacs Manual.

In general, new Emacs users should not be provided with .emacs files, because this can cause confusing non-standard behavior. Then they send questions to the help-gnu-emacs mailing list asking why Emacs isn’t behaving as documented.

Emacs includes the Customize facility (see Using Customize). This allows users who are unfamiliar with Emacs Lisp to modify their .emacs files in a relatively straightforward way, using menus rather than Lisp code.

While Customize might indeed make it easier to configure Emacs, consider taking a bit of time to learn Emacs Lisp and modifying your .emacs directly. Simple configuration options are described rather completely in Init File in The GNU Emacs Manual, for users interested in performing frequently requested, basic tasks.

Sometimes users are unsure as to where their .emacs file should be found. Visiting the file as ~/.emacs from Emacs will find the correct file.

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5.2 How do I start using Customize?

The main Customize entry point is M-x customize RET. This command takes you to a buffer listing all the available Customize groups. From there, you can access all customizable options and faces, change their values, and save your changes to your init file. See Easy Customization in The GNU Emacs Manual.

If you know the name of the group in advance (e.g., “shell”), use M-x customize-group RET.

If you wish to customize a single option, use M-x customize-option RET. This command prompts you for the name of the option to customize, with completion.

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5.3 How do I get colors and syntax highlighting on a TTY?

In Emacs 21.1 and later, colors and faces are supported in non-windowed mode, i.e., on Unix and GNU/Linux text-only terminals and consoles, and when invoked as ‘emacs -nw’ on X, and MS-Windows. (Colors and faces were supported in the MS-DOS port since Emacs 19.29.) Emacs automatically detects color support at startup and uses it if available. If you think that your terminal supports colors, but Emacs won’t use them, check the termcap entry for your display type for color-related capabilities.

The command M-x list-colors-display pops up a window which exhibits all the colors Emacs knows about on the current display.

Syntax highlighting is on by default since version 22.1.

Emacs 26.1 and later support direct color mode in terminals. If Emacs finds Terminfo capabilities ‘setb24’ and ‘setf24’, 24-bit direct color mode is used. The capability strings are expected to take one 24-bit pixel value as argument and transform the pixel to a string that can be used to send 24-bit colors to the terminal.

Standard terminal definitions don’t support these capabilities and therefore custom definition is needed.

$ cat terminfo-custom.src

xterm-emacs|xterm with 24-bit direct color mode for Emacs,

$ tic -x -o ~/.terminfo terminfo-custom.src

$ TERM=xterm-emacs emacs -nw

Emacs 27.1 and later support Terminfo capability ‘RGB’ for detecting 24-bit direct color mode. Multiple standard terminal definitions support this capability.

$ TERM=xterm-direct infocmp | grep seta[bf]


$ TERM=xterm-direct emacs -nw

If your terminal is incompatible with XTerm, you may have to use another TERM definition. Any terminal whose name includes ‘direct’ should be a candidate. The toe command can be used to find out which of these are installed on your system:

$ toe | grep '\-direct'

konsole-direct  konsole with direct-color indexing
vte-direct      vte with direct-color indexing
st-direct       st with direct-color indexing
xterm-direct2   xterm with direct-color indexing (old)
xterm-direct    xterm with direct-color indexing

Terminals with ‘RGB’ capability treat pixels #000001 - #000007 as indexed colors to maintain backward compatibility with applications that are unaware of direct color mode. Therefore the seven darkest blue shades may not be available. If this is a problem, you can always use custom terminal definition with ‘setb24’ and ‘setf24’.

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5.4 How do I debug a .emacs file?

Start Emacs with the ‘-debug-init’ command-line option. This enables the Emacs Lisp debugger before evaluating your .emacs file, and places you in the debugger if something goes wrong. The top line in the trace-back buffer will be the error message, and the second or third line of that buffer will display the Lisp code from your .emacs file that caused the problem.

You can also evaluate an individual function or argument to a function in your .emacs file by moving the cursor to the end of the function or argument and typing C-x C-e (M-x eval-last-sexp).

Use C-h v (M-x describe-variable) to check the value of variables which you are trying to set or use.

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5.5 How do I make Emacs display the current line (or column) number?

By default, Emacs displays the current line number of the point in the mode line. You can toggle this feature off or on with the command M-x line-number-mode, or by setting the variable line-number-mode. Note that Emacs will not display the line number if the buffer’s size in bytes is larger than the value of the variable line-number-display-limit.

You can similarly display the current column with M-x column-number-mode, or by putting the form

(setq column-number-mode t)

in your .emacs file. This feature is off by default.

The "%c" format specifier in the variable mode-line-format will insert the current column’s value into the mode line. See the documentation for mode-line-format (using C-h v mode-line-format RET) for more information on how to set and use this variable.

The ‘display-line-numbers’ package (added to Emacs in version 26.1) displays line numbers in the text area, before each line, like the “set number” capability of ‘vi’. Customize the buffer-local variable display-line-numbers to activate this optional display. Alternatively, you can use the display-line-numbers-mode minor mode or the global global-display-line-numbers-mode. When using these modes, customize display-line-numbers-type with the same value as you would use with display-line-numbers.

There is also the ‘linum’ package (distributed with Emacs since version 23.1) which will henceforth become obsolete. Users and developers are encouraged to use ‘display-line-numbers’ instead. The packages ‘setnu’ and ‘wb-line-number’ (not distributed with Emacs) also implement this feature.

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5.6 How can I modify the titlebar to contain the current file name?

The contents of an Emacs frame’s titlebar is controlled by the variable frame-title-format, which has the same structure as the variable mode-line-format. (Use C-h v or M-x describe-variable to get information about one or both of these variables.)

By default, the titlebar for a frame does contain the name of the buffer currently being visited, except if there is a single frame. In such a case, the titlebar contains Emacs invocation name and the name of the machine at which Emacs was invoked. This is done by setting frame-title-format to the default value of

(multiple-frames "%b" ("" invocation-name "@" (system-name)))

To modify the behavior such that frame titlebars contain the buffer’s name regardless of the number of existing frames, include the following in your .emacs:

(setq frame-title-format "%b")

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5.7 How do I turn on abbrevs by default just in mode mymode?

Abbrev mode expands abbreviations as you type them. To turn it on in a specific buffer, use M-x abbrev-mode. To turn it on in every buffer by default, put this in your .emacs file:

(setq-default abbrev-mode t)

To turn it on in a specific mode, use:

(add-hook 'mymode-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
           (setq abbrev-mode t)))

If your Emacs version is older then 22.1, you will also need to use:

(condition-case ()
  (file-error nil))

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5.8 How do I make Emacs use a certain major mode for certain files?

If you want to use a certain mode foo for all files whose names end with the extension .bar, this will do it for you:

(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.bar\\'" . foo-mode))

Alternatively, put this somewhere in the first line of any file you want to edit in the mode foo (in the second line, if the first line begins with ‘#!’):

-*- foo -*-

The variable interpreter-mode-alist specifies which mode to use when loading an interpreted script (e.g., shell, python, etc.). Emacs determines which interpreter you’re using by examining the first line of the script. Use C-h v (or M-x describe-variable) on interpreter-mode-alist to learn more.

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5.9 How can I replace highlighted text with what I type?

Use delete-selection-mode, which you can start automatically by placing the following Lisp form in your .emacs file:

(delete-selection-mode 1)

According to the documentation string for delete-selection-mode (which you can read using M-x describe-function RET delete-selection-mode RET):

When Delete Selection mode is enabled, typed text replaces the selection if the selection is active. Otherwise, typed text is just inserted at point regardless of any selection.

This mode also allows you to delete (not kill) the highlighted region by pressing DEL.

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5.10 How do I control Emacs’s case-sensitivity when searching/replacing?

The value of the variable case-fold-search determines whether searches are case sensitive:

(setq case-fold-search nil) ; make searches case sensitive
(setq case-fold-search t)   ; make searches case insensitive

Similarly, for replacing, the variable case-replace determines whether replacements preserve case.

You can also toggle case sensitivity at will in isearch with M-c.

To change the case sensitivity just for one major mode, use the major mode’s hook. For example:

(add-hook 'foo-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
           (setq case-fold-search nil)))

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5.11 How do I search for, delete, or replace unprintable (eight-bit or control) characters?

To search for a single character that appears in the buffer as, for example, ‘\237’, you can type C-s C-q 2 3 7. Searching for all unprintable characters is best done with a regular expression (regexp) search. The easiest regexp to use for the unprintable chars is the complement of the regexp for the printable chars.

To type these special characters in an interactive argument to isearch-forward-regexp or re-search-forward, you need to use C-q. (‘\t’, ‘\n’, ‘\r’, and ‘\f’ stand respectively for TAB, LFD, RET, and C-l.) So, to search for unprintable characters using re-search-forward:

M-x re-search-forward RET [^ TAB C-q LFD C-q RET C-q C-l SPC -~] RET

Using isearch-forward-regexp:

C-M-s [^ TAB LFD C-q RET C-q C-l SPC -~]

To delete all unprintable characters, simply use replace-regexp:

M-x replace-regexp RET [^ TAB C-q LFD C-q RET C-q C-l SPC -~] RET RET

Replacing is similar to the above. To replace all unprintable characters with a colon, use:

M-x replace-regexp RET [^ TAB C-q LFD C-q RET C-q C-l SPC -~] RET : RET

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5.12 How do I input a newline character in isearch or query-replace?

Use C-q C-j. For more information, see Special Input for Incremental Search in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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5.13 How do I copy text from the kill ring into the search string?

Use M-y. See Isearch Yank in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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5.14 How do I make Emacs wrap words for me?

Use auto-fill-mode, activated by typing M-x auto-fill-mode. The default maximum line width is 70, determined by the variable fill-column. To learn how to turn this on automatically, see Turning on auto-fill by default.

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5.15 How do I turn on auto-fill-mode by default?

To turn on auto-fill-mode just once for one buffer, use M-x auto-fill-mode.

To turn it on for every buffer in a certain mode, you must use the hook for that mode. For example, to turn on auto-fill mode for all text buffers, including the following in your .emacs file:

(add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'turn-on-auto-fill)

If you want auto-fill mode on in all major modes, do this:

(setq-default auto-fill-function 'do-auto-fill)

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5.16 How do I change load-path?

In general, you should only add to the load-path. You can add directory /dir/subdir to the load path like this:

(add-to-list 'load-path "/dir/subdir/")

To do this relative to your home directory:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/mysubdir/")

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5.17 How do I use an already running Emacs from another window?

emacsclient, which comes with Emacs, is for editing a file using an already running Emacs rather than starting up a new Emacs. It does this by sending a request to the already running Emacs, which must be expecting the request.

For more information, See Emacs Server in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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5.18 How do I make Emacs recognize my compiler’s funny error messages?

Customize the compilation-error-regexp-alist variable.

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5.19 How do I change the indentation for switch?

Many people want to indent their switch statements like this:

  switch(x) {
    case A:
    case B:

To achieve this, add the following line to your .emacs:

(c-set-offset 'case-label '+)

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5.20 How to customize indentation in C, C++, and Java buffers?

The Emacs cc-mode features an interactive procedure for customizing the indentation style, which is fully explained in the CC Mode manual that is part of the Emacs distribution, see Customization Indentation in The CC Mode Manual. Here’s a short summary of the procedure:

  1. Go to the beginning of the first line where you don’t like the indentation and type C-c C-o. Emacs will prompt you for the syntactic symbol; type RET to accept the default it suggests.
  2. Emacs now prompts for the offset of this syntactic symbol, showing the default (the current definition) inside parentheses. You can choose one of these:

    No extra indentation.


    Indent one basic offset.


    Outdent one basic offset.


    Indent two basic offsets


    Outdent two basic offsets.


    Indent half basic offset.


    Outdent half basic offset.

  3. After choosing one of these symbols, type C-c C-q to reindent the line or the block according to what you just specified.
  4. If you don’t like the result, go back to step 1. Otherwise, add the following line to your .emacs:
    (c-set-offset 'syntactic-symbol offset)

    where syntactic-symbol is the name Emacs shows in the minibuffer when you type C-c C-o at the beginning of the line, and offset is one of the indentation symbols listed above (+, /, 0, etc.) that you’ve chosen during the interactive procedure.

  5. Go to the next line whose indentation is not to your liking and repeat the process there.

It is recommended to put all the resulting (c-set-offset ...) customizations inside a C mode hook, like this:

(defun my-c-mode-hook ()
  (c-set-offset ...)
  (c-set-offset ...))
(add-hook 'c-mode-hook 'my-c-mode-hook)

Using c-mode-hook avoids the need to put a (require 'cc-mode) into your .emacs file, because c-set-offset might be unavailable when cc-mode is not loaded.

Note that c-mode-hook runs for C source files only; use c++-mode-hook for C++ sources, java-mode-hook for Java sources, etc. If you want the same customizations to be in effect in all languages supported by cc-mode, use c-mode-common-hook.

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5.21 How do I make Emacs “typeover” or “overwrite” instead of inserting?

M-x overwrite-mode (a minor mode). This toggles overwrite-mode on and off, so exiting from overwrite-mode is as easy as another M-x overwrite-mode.

On some systems, Insert toggles overwrite-mode on and off.

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5.22 How do I stop Emacs from beeping on a terminal?

Martin R. Frank writes:

Tell Emacs to use the visible bell instead of the audible bell, and set the visible bell to nothing.

That is, put the following in your TERMCAP environment variable (assuming you have one):

... :vb=: ...

And evaluate the following Lisp form:

(setq visible-bell t)

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5.23 How do I turn down the bell volume in Emacs running under X?

On X Window system, you can adjust the bell volume and duration for all programs with the shell command xset.

Invoking xset without any arguments produces some basic information, including the following:

usage:  xset [-display host:dpy] option ...
  To turn bell off:
      -b                b off               b 0
  To set bell volume, pitch and duration:
       b [vol [pitch [dur]]]          b on

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5.24 How do I tell Emacs to automatically indent a new line to the indentation of the previous line?

Such behavior is automatic (in Text mode) in Emacs 20 and later. From the etc/NEWS file for Emacs 20.2:

** In Text mode, now only blank lines separate paragraphs.  This makes
it possible to get the full benefit of Adaptive Fill mode in Text mode,
and other modes derived from it (such as Mail mode).  TAB in Text
mode now runs the command indent-relative; this makes a practical
difference only when you use indented paragraphs.

If you want spaces at the beginning of a line to start a paragraph, use
the new mode, Paragraph Indent Text mode.

If you have auto-fill-mode turned on (see Turning on auto-fill by default), you can tell Emacs to prefix every line with a certain character sequence, the fill prefix. Type the prefix at the beginning of a line, position point after it, and then type C-x . (set-fill-prefix) to set the fill prefix. Thereafter, auto-filling will automatically put the fill prefix at the beginning of new lines, and M-q (fill-paragraph) will maintain any fill prefix when refilling the paragraph.

If you have paragraphs with different levels of indentation, you will have to set the fill prefix to the correct value each time you move to a new paragraph. There are many packages available to deal with this (see Packages that do not come with Emacs). Look for “fill” and “indent” keywords for guidance.

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5.25 How do I show which parenthesis matches the one I’m looking at?

Call show-paren-mode in your .emacs file:

(show-paren-mode 1)

You can also enable this mode by selecting the ‘Paren Match Highlighting’ option from the ‘Options’ menu of the Emacs menu bar at the top of any Emacs frame.

Alternatives to this mode include:

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5.26 In C mode, can I show just the lines that will be left after #ifdef commands are handled by the compiler?

M-x hide-ifdef-mode. (This is a minor mode.) You might also want to investigate cpp.el, which is distributed with Emacs.

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5.27 How do I repeat a command as many times as possible?

Use the repeat command (C-x z) to repeat the last command. If you preface it with a prefix argument, the prefix arg is applied to the command.

You can also type C-x ESC ESC (repeat-complex-command) to reinvoke commands that used the minibuffer to get arguments. In repeat-complex-command you can type M-p and M-n (and also up-arrow and down-arrow, if your keyboard has these keys) to scan through all the different complex commands you’ve typed.

To repeat a set of commands, use keyboard macros. Use C-x ( and C-x ) to make a keyboard macro that invokes the command and then type C-x e. See Keyboard Macros in The GNU Emacs Manual.

If you’re really desperate for the . command in vi that redoes the last insertion/deletion, use VIPER, a vi emulation mode which comes with Emacs, and which appears to support it.

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5.28 What are the valid X resource settings (i.e., stuff in .Xdefaults)?

See X Resources in The GNU Emacs Manual.

You can also use a resource editor, such as editres (for X11R5 and onwards), to look at the resource names for the menu bar, assuming Emacs was compiled with the X toolkit.

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5.29 How do I execute (“evaluate”) a piece of Emacs Lisp code?

There are a number of ways to execute (evaluate, in Lisp lingo) an Emacs Lisp form:

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5.30 How do I change Emacs’s idea of the TAB character’s length?

Set the default value of the variable tab-width. For example, to set TAB stops every 10 characters, insert the following in your .emacs file:

(setq-default tab-width 10)

Do not confuse variable tab-width with variable tab-stop-list. The former is used for the display of literal TAB characters. The latter controls what characters are inserted when you press the TAB character in certain modes.

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5.31 How do I insert <some text> at the beginning of every line?

To do this to an entire buffer, type M-< M-x replace-regexp RET ^ RET your text RET.

To do this to a region, use string-insert-rectangle. Set the mark (C-SPC) at the beginning of the first line you want to prefix, move the cursor to last line to be prefixed, and type M-x string-insert-rectangle RET. To do this for the whole buffer, type C-x h M-x string-insert-rectangle RET.

If you are trying to prefix a yanked mail message with ‘>’, you might want to set the variable mail-yank-prefix. In Message buffers, you can even use M-; to cite yanked messages (M-; runs the function comment-region, it is a general-purpose mechanism to comment regions) (see Changing the included text prefix).

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5.32 How do I make Emacs behave like this: when I go up or down, the cursor should stay in the same column even if the line is too short?

Use M-x picture-mode.

See also the variable track-eol and the command set-goal-column bound to C-x C-n (see Moving Point in The GNU Emacs Manual).

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5.33 How do I tell Emacs to iconify itself?

C-z iconifies Emacs when running under X and suspends Emacs otherwise. See Frame Commands in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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5.34 How do I use regexps (regular expressions) in Emacs?

See Regexp Backslash in The GNU Emacs Manual.

The or operator is ‘\|’, not ‘|’, and the grouping operators are ‘\(’ and ‘\)’. Also, the string syntax for a backslash is ‘\\’. To specify a regular expression like ‘xxx\(foo\|bar\)’ in a Lisp string, use ‘xxx\\(foo\\|bar\\)’.

Note the doubled backslashes!

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5.35 How do I perform a replace operation across more than one file?

Dired mode (M-x dired RET, or C-x d) supports the command dired-do-find-regexp-and-replace (Q), which allows users to replace regular expressions in multiple files.

You can use this command to perform search/replace operations on multiple files by following the following steps:

Another way to do the same thing is to use the “tags” feature of Emacs: it includes the command tags-query-replace which performs a query-replace across all the files mentioned in the TAGS file. See Identifier Search in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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5.36 Where is the documentation for etags?

The etags man page should be in the same place as the emacs man page.

Quick command-line switch descriptions are also available. For example, ‘etags -H’.

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5.37 How do I disable backup files?

You probably don’t want to do this, since backups are useful, especially when something goes wrong.

To avoid seeing backup files (and other “uninteresting” files) in Dired, load dired-x by adding the following to your .emacs file:

(add-hook 'dired-load-hook
          (lambda ()
           (require 'dired-x)))

With dired-x loaded, M-o toggles omitting in each dired buffer. You can make omitting the default for new dired buffers by putting the following in your .emacs:

(add-hook 'dired-mode-hook 'dired-omit-toggle)

If you’re tired of seeing backup files whenever you do an ‘ls’ at the Unix shell, try GNU ls with the ‘-B’ option. GNU ls is part of the GNU Fileutils package, available from and its mirrors (see Current GNU distributions).

To disable or change the way backups are made, see Backup Names in The GNU Emacs Manual.

Beginning with Emacs 21.1, you can control where Emacs puts backup files by customizing the variable backup-directory-alist. This variable’s value specifies that files whose names match specific patters should have their backups put in certain directories. A typical use is to add the element ("." . dir) to force Emacs to put all backup files in the directory dir.

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5.38 How do I disable auto-save-mode?

You probably don’t want to do this, since auto-saving is useful, especially when Emacs or your computer crashes while you are editing a document.

Instead, you might want to change the variable auto-save-interval, which specifies how many keystrokes Emacs waits before auto-saving. Increasing this value forces Emacs to wait longer between auto-saves, which might annoy you less.

You might also want to look into Sebastian Kremer’s auto-save package (see Packages that do not come with Emacs). This package also allows you to place all auto-save files in one directory, such as /tmp.

To disable or change how auto-save-mode works, see Auto Save in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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5.39 How can I go to a certain line given its number?

Are you sure you indeed need to go to a line by its number? Perhaps all you want is to display a line in your source file for which a compiler printed an error message? If so, compiling from within Emacs using the M-x compile and M-x recompile commands is a much more effective way of doing that. Emacs automatically intercepts the compile error messages, inserts them into a special buffer called *compilation*, and lets you visit the locus of each message in the source. Type C-x ` to step through the offending lines one by one (starting with Emacs 22, you can also use M-g M-p and M-g M-n to go to the previous and next matches directly). Click mouse-2 or press RET on a message text in the *compilation* buffer to go to the line whose number is mentioned in that message.

But if you indeed need to go to a certain text line, type M-g M-g (which is the default binding of the goto-line function starting with Emacs 22). Emacs will prompt you for the number of the line and go to that line.

You can do this faster by invoking goto-line with a numeric argument that is the line’s number. For example, C-u 286 M-g M-g will jump to line number 286 in the current buffer.

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5.40 How can I create or modify new pull-down menu options?

Each menu title (e.g., ‘File’, ‘Edit’, ‘Buffers’) represents a local or global keymap. Selecting a menu title with the mouse displays that keymap’s non-nil contents in the form of a menu.

So to add a menu option to an existing menu, all you have to do is add a new definition to the appropriate keymap. Adding a ‘Forward Word’ item to the ‘Edit’ menu thus requires the following Lisp code:

(define-key global-map
  [menu-bar edit forward]
  '("Forward word" . forward-word))

The first line adds the entry to the global keymap, which includes global menu bar entries. Replacing the reference to global-map with a local keymap would add this menu option only within a particular mode.

The second line describes the path from the menu-bar to the new entry. Placing this menu entry underneath the ‘File’ menu would mean changing the word edit in the second line to file.

The third line is a cons cell whose first element is the title that will be displayed, and whose second element is the function that will be called when that menu option is invoked.

To add a new menu, rather than a new option to an existing menu, we must define an entirely new keymap:

(define-key global-map [menu-bar words]
  (cons "Words" (make-sparse-keymap "Words")))

The above code creates a new sparse keymap, gives it the name ‘Words’, and attaches it to the global menu bar. Adding the ‘Forward Word’ item to this new menu would thus require the following code:

(define-key global-map
  [menu-bar words forward]
  '("Forward word" . forward-word))

Note that because of the way keymaps work, menu options are displayed with the more recently defined items at the top. Thus if you were to define menu options ‘foo’, ‘bar’, and ‘baz’ (in that order), the menu option ‘baz’ would appear at the top, and ‘foo’ would be at the bottom.

One way to avoid this problem is to use the function define-key-after, which works the same as define-key, but lets you modify where items appear. The following Lisp code would insert the ‘Forward Word’ item in the ‘Edit’ menu immediately following the ‘Undo’ item:

  (lookup-key global-map [menu-bar edit])
  '("Forward word" . forward-word)

Note how the second and third arguments to define-key-after are different from those of define-key, and that we have added a new (final) argument, the function after which our new key should be defined.

To move a menu option from one position to another, simply evaluate define-key-after with the appropriate final argument.

More detailed information—and more examples of how to create and modify menu options—are in the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, under “Menu Keymaps.” (See Emacs Lisp documentation, for information on this manual.)

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5.41 How do I delete menus and menu options?

The simplest way to remove a menu is to set its keymap to ‘nil’. For example, to delete the ‘Words’ menu (see Modifying pull-down menus), use:

(define-key global-map [menu-bar words] nil)

Similarly, removing a menu option requires redefining a keymap entry to nil. For example, to delete the ‘Forward word’ menu option from the ‘Edit’ menu (we added it in Modifying pull-down menus), use:

(define-key global-map [menu-bar edit forward] nil)

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5.42 How do I turn on syntax highlighting?

font-lock-mode is the standard way to have Emacs perform syntax highlighting in the current buffer. It is enabled by default in Emacs 22.1 and later.

With font-lock-mode turned on, different types of text will appear in different colors. For instance, in a programming mode, variables will appear in one face, keywords in a second, and comments in a third.

To turn font-lock-mode off within an existing buffer, use M-x font-lock-mode RET.

In Emacs 21 and earlier versions, you could use the following code in your .emacs file to turn on font-lock-mode globally:

(global-font-lock-mode 1)

Highlighting a buffer with font-lock-mode can take quite a while, and cause an annoying delay in display, so several features exist to work around this.

In Emacs 21 and later, turning on font-lock-mode automatically activates the new Just-In-Time fontification provided by jit-lock-mode. jit-lock-mode defers the fontification of portions of buffer until you actually need to see them, and can also fontify while Emacs is idle. This makes display of the visible portion of a buffer almost instantaneous. For details about customizing jit-lock-mode, type C-h f jit-lock-mode RET.

In versions of Emacs before 21, different levels of decoration are available, from slight to gaudy. More decoration means you need to wait more time for a buffer to be fontified (or a faster machine). To control how decorated your buffers should become, set the value of font-lock-maximum-decoration in your .emacs file, with a nil value indicating default (usually minimum) decoration, and a t value indicating the maximum decoration. For the gaudiest possible look, then, include the line

(setq font-lock-maximum-decoration t)

in your .emacs file. You can also set this variable such that different modes are highlighted in a different ways; for more information, see the documentation for font-lock-maximum-decoration with C-h v (or M-x describe-variable RET).

Also see the documentation for the function font-lock-mode, available by typing C-h f font-lock-mode (M-x describe-function RET font-lock-mode RET).

To print buffers with the faces (i.e., colors and fonts) intact, use M-x ps-print-buffer-with-faces or M-x ps-print-region-with-faces. You will need a way to send text to a PostScript printer, or a PostScript interpreter such as Ghostscript; consult the documentation of the variables ps-printer-name, ps-lpr-command, and ps-lpr-switches for more details.

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5.43 How can I force Emacs to scroll only one line when I move past the bottom of the screen?

Customize the scroll-conservatively variable with M-x customize-variable RET scroll-conservatively RET and set it to a large value like, say, 10000. For an explanation of what this means, see Auto Scrolling in The GNU Emacs Manual.

Alternatively, use the following Lisp form in your .emacs:

(setq scroll-conservatively most-positive-fixnum)

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5.44 How can I edit MS-DOS files using Emacs?

Detection and handling of MS-DOS (and Windows) files is performed transparently. You can open MS-DOS files on a Unix system, edit it, and save it without having to worry about the file format.

When editing an MS-DOS style file, the mode line will indicate that it is a DOS file. On Unix and GNU/Linux systems, and also on a Macintosh, the string ‘(DOS)’ will appear near the left edge of the mode line; on DOS and Windows, where the DOS end-of-line (EOL) format is the default, a backslash (‘\’) will appear in the mode line.

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5.45 How can I tell Emacs to fill paragraphs with a single space after each period?

Add the following line to your .emacs file:

(setq sentence-end-double-space nil)

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5.46 Why these strange escape sequences from ls from the Shell mode?

In many systems, ls is aliased to ‘ls --color’, which prints using ANSI color escape sequences. Emacs version 21.1 and later includes the ansi-color package, which lets Shell mode recognize these escape sequences. In Emacs 23.2 and later, the package is enabled by default; in earlier versions you can enable it by typing M-x ansi-color-for-comint-mode in the Shell buffer, or by adding (add-hook 'shell-mode-hook 'ansi-color-for-comint-mode-on) to your init file.

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5.47 How can I start Emacs in fullscreen mode on MS-Windows?

Beginning with Emacs 24.4 either run Emacs with the ‘--maximized’ command-line option or put the following form in your .emacs file:

(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook 'toggle-frame-maximized)

With older versions use the function w32-send-sys-command. For example, you can put the following in your .emacs file:

(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook
          (lambda () (w32-send-sys-command ?\xF030)))

To avoid the slightly distracting visual effect of Emacs starting with its default frame size and then growing to fullscreen, you can add an ‘Emacs.Geometry’ entry to the Windows registry settings. See X Resources in The GNU Emacs Manual.

To compute the correct values for width and height, first maximize the Emacs frame and then evaluate (frame-height) and (frame-width) with M-:.

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6 Bugs and problems

The Emacs manual lists some common kinds of trouble users could get into, see Dealing with Emacs Trouble in The GNU Emacs Manual, so you might look there if the problem you encounter isn’t described in this chapter. If you decide you’ve discovered a bug, see Reporting Bugs in The GNU Emacs Manual, for instructions how to do that.

The file etc/PROBLEMS in the Emacs distribution lists various known problems with building and using Emacs on specific platforms; type C-h C-p to read it.

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6.1 Does Emacs have problems with large files?

Emacs has an inherent fixed limitation on the size of buffers. This limit is stricter than the maximum size of objects supported by other programs on the same architecture.

The maximum buffer size on 32-bit machines is 512 MBytes beginning with version 23.2. If Emacs was built using the --with-wide-int flag, the maximum buffer size on 32-bit machines is 2 GB.

Emacs compiled on a 64-bit machine can handle much larger buffers; up to most-positive-fixnum (2.3 exabytes).

Due to things like decoding of multibyte characters, you can only visit files with a size that is roughly half the buffer size limit. When visiting compressed archives, the file size limit will be smaller than that due to decompression.

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6.2 How do I get rid of ‘^M’ or echoed commands in my shell buffer?

Try typing M-x comint-strip-ctrl-m RET while in shell-mode to make them go away. If that doesn’t work, you have several options:

For tcsh, put this in your .cshrc (or .tcshrc) file:

if ($?INSIDE_EMACS && $?tcsh)
    unset edit
    stty -icrnl -onlcr -echo susp ^Z

Or put this in your .emacs_tcsh or ~/.emacs.d/ file:

unset edit
stty -icrnl -onlcr -echo susp ^Z

Alternatively, use csh in your shell buffers instead of tcsh. One way is:

(setq explicit-shell-file-name "/bin/csh")

and another is to do this in your .cshrc (or .tcshrc) file:

setenv ESHELL /bin/csh

(You must start Emacs over again with the environment variable properly set for this to take effect.)

You can also set the ESHELL environment variable in Emacs Lisp with the following Lisp form,

(setenv "ESHELL" "/bin/csh")

The above solutions try to prevent the shell from producing the ‘^M’ characters in the first place. If this is not possible (e.g., if you use a Windows shell), you can get Emacs to remove these characters from the buffer by adding this to your .emacs init file:

(add-hook 'comint-output-filter-functions #'comint-strip-ctrl-m)

On a related note: if your shell is echoing your input line in the shell buffer, you might want to customize the comint-process-echoes variable in your shell buffers, or try the following command in your shell start-up file:

stty -icrnl -onlcr -echo susp ^Z

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6.3 Why do I get an error message when I try to run M-x shell?

This might happen because Emacs tries to look for the shell in a wrong place. If you know where your shell executable is, set the variable explicit-shell-file-name in your .emacs file to point to its full file name.

Some people have trouble with Shell Mode on MS-Windows because of intrusive antivirus software; disabling the resident antivirus program solves the problems in those cases.

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6.4 Where is the termcap/terminfo entry for terminal type ‘emacs’?

The termcap entry for terminal type ‘emacs’ is ordinarily put in the ‘TERMCAP’ environment variable of subshells. It may help in certain situations (e.g., using rlogin from shell buffer) to add an entry for ‘emacs’ to the system-wide termcap file. Here is a correct termcap entry for ‘emacs’:


To make a terminfo entry for ‘emacs’, use tic or captoinfo. You need to generate /usr/lib/terminfo/e/emacs. It may work to simply copy /usr/lib/terminfo/d/dumb to /usr/lib/terminfo/e/emacs.

Having a termcap/terminfo entry will not enable the use of full screen programs in shell buffers. Use M-x term for that instead.

A workaround to the problem of missing termcap/terminfo entries is to change terminal type ‘emacs’ to type ‘dumb’ or ‘unknown’ in your shell start up file. csh users could put this in their .cshrc files:

if ("$term" == emacs) set term=dumb

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6.5 Why does Emacs say ‘Error in init file’?

An error occurred while loading either your .emacs file or the system-wide file site-lisp/default.el. Emacs 21.1 and later pops the *Messages* buffer, and puts there some additional information about the error, to provide some hints for debugging.

For information on how to debug your .emacs file, see Debugging a customization file.

It may be the case that you need to load some package first, or use a hook that will be evaluated after the package is loaded. A common case of this is explained in Terminal setup code works after Emacs has begun.

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6.6 Why does Emacs ignore my X resources (my .Xdefaults file)?

Emacs searches for X resources in the files specified by the following environment variables:

This emulates the functionality provided by programs written using the Xt toolkit.

XFILESEARCHPATH and XUSERFILESEARCHPATH should be a list of file names separated by colons. XAPPLRESDIR should be a list of directories separated by colons.

Emacs searches for X resources:

  1. specified on the command line, with the ‘-xrm RESOURCESTRING’ option,
  2. then in the value of the ‘XENVIRONMENT’ environment variable,
    • - or if that is unset, in the file named ~/.Xdefaults-hostname if it exists (where hostname is the name of the machine Emacs is running on),
  3. then in the screen-specific and server-wide resource properties provided by the server,
    • - or if those properties are unset, in the file named ~/.Xdefaults if it exists,
  4. then in the files listed in ‘XUSERFILESEARCHPATH’,
    • - or in files named lang/Emacs in directories listed in ‘XAPPLRESDIR’ (where lang is the value of the LANG environment variable), if the ‘LANG’ environment variable is set,
    • - or in files named Emacs in the directories listed in ‘XAPPLRESDIR
    • - or in ~/lang/Emacs (if the LANG environment variable is set),
    • - or in ~/Emacs,
  5. then in the files listed in XFILESEARCHPATH.

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6.7 Why don’t my customizations of the frame parameters work?

This probably happens because you have set the frame parameters in the variable initial-frame-alist. That variable holds parameters used only for the first frame created when Emacs starts. To customize the parameters of all frames, change the variable default-frame-alist instead.

These two variables exist because many users customize the initial frame in a special way. For example, you could determine the position and size of the initial frame, but would like to control the geometry of the other frames by individually positioning each one of them.

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6.8 How do I edit a file with a ‘$’ in its name?

When entering a file name in the minibuffer, Emacs will attempt to expand a ‘$’ followed by a word as an environment variable. To suppress this behavior, type $$ instead.

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6.9 Why does shell mode lose track of the shell’s current directory?

Emacs has no way of knowing when the shell actually changes its directory. This is an intrinsic limitation of Unix. So it tries to guess by recognizing ‘cd’ commands. If you type cd followed by directory with a variable reference (cd $HOME/bin) or with a shell metacharacter (cd ../lib*), Emacs will fail to correctly guess the shell’s new current directory. A huge variety of fixes and enhancements to shell mode for this problem have been written to handle this problem (see Finding a package with particular functionality).

You can tell Emacs the shell’s current directory with the command M-x dirs.

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6.10 Are there any security risks in Emacs?

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6.11 Dired says, ‘no file on this line’ when I try to do something.

Dired uses a regular expression to find the beginning of a file name. In a long Unix-style directory listing (‘ls -l’), the file name starts after the date. The regexp has thus been written to look for the date. By default, it should understand dates and times regardless of the language, but if your directory listing has an unusual format, Dired may get confused.

There are two approaches to solving this. The first one involves setting things up so that ‘ls -l’ outputs a more standard format. See your OS manual for more information.

The second approach involves changing the regular expression used by dired, directory-listing-before-filename-regexp.

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7 Compiling and installing Emacs

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7.1 How do I install Emacs?

This answer is meant for users of Unix and Unix-like systems. Users of other operating systems should see the series of questions beginning with Emacs for MS-DOS, which describe where to get non-Unix source and binaries, and how to install Emacs on those systems.

Most GNU/Linux distributions provide pre-built Emacs packages. If Emacs is not installed already, you can install it by running (as root) a command such as ‘dnf install emacs’ (Red Hat and derivatives; use ‘yum’ in older distributions) or ‘apt-get install emacs’ (Debian and derivatives).

If you want to compile Emacs yourself, read the file INSTALL in the source distribution. In brief:

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7.2 What should I do if I have trouble building Emacs?

First look in the file etc/PROBLEMS (where you unpack the Emacs source) to see if there is already a solution for your problem. Next, look for other questions in this FAQ that have to do with Emacs installation and compilation problems.

If you’d like to have someone look at your problem and help solve it, see Help installing Emacs.

If you cannot find a solution in the documentation, please report the problem (see Reporting bugs).

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8 Finding Emacs and related packages

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8.1 Where can I get Emacs on the net?

Information on downloading Emacs is available at the Emacs home-page.

See Installing Emacs, for information on how to obtain and build the latest version of Emacs, and see Current GNU distributions, for a list of archive sites that make GNU software available.

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8.2 How do I find an Emacs Lisp package that does XXX?

First of all, you should check to make sure that the package isn’t already available. For example, typing M-x apropos RET python RET lists all functions and variables containing the string ‘python’.

It is also possible that the package is on your system, but has not been loaded. To see which packages are available for loading, look through your computer’s lisp directory (see File-name conventions). The Lisp source to most packages contains a short description of how they should be loaded, invoked, and configured—so before you use or modify a Lisp package, see if the author has provided any hints in the source code.

The command C-h p (finder-by-keyword) allows you to browse the constituent Emacs packages.

For advice on how to find extra packages that are not part of Emacs, see Packages that do not come with Emacs.

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8.3 Where can I get Emacs Lisp packages that don’t come with Emacs?

The easiest way to add more features to your Emacs is to use the command M-x list-packages. This contacts the GNU ELPA (“Emacs Lisp Package Archive”) server and fetches the list of additional packages that it offers. These are GNU packages that are available for use with Emacs, but are distributed separately from Emacs itself, for reasons of space, etc. You can browse the resulting *Packages* buffer to see what is available, and then Emacs can automatically download and install the packages that you select. See Packages in The GNU Emacs Manual.

There are other Emacs Lisp package archives. To use additional archives, you can customize the package-archives variable. Those archives have no affiliation with GNU Emacs, and we do not monitor how they are maintained. They may pay close attention to correctness and safety of the code, or they may give only cursory attention.

Also, packages hosted on these other archives may encourage or require you to install and use other nonfree programs. Unless you can verify that a package is free software, and that it functions without installing any nonfree software, we recommend for your freedom’s sake that you stay away from it.

The GNU Emacs sources mailing list, which is gatewayed to the Emacs sources newsgroup (although the connection between the two can be unreliable) is an official place where people can post or announce their extensions to Emacs.

The Emacs Wiki contains pointers to some additional extensions. WikEmacs is an alternative wiki for Emacs.

The Emacs Lisp List (ELL), has pointers to many Emacs Lisp files, but at time of writing it is no longer being updated.

It is impossible for us to list here all the sites that offer Emacs Lisp packages. If you are interested in a specific feature, then after checking Emacs itself and GNU ELPA, a web search is often the best way to find results.

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8.4 Spell-checkers

Various spell-checkers are compatible with Emacs, including:


GNU Aspell



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8.5 Where can I get other up-to-date GNU stuff?

The most up-to-date official GNU software is normally kept at

A list of sites mirroring ‘’ can be found at

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8.6 What is the difference between Emacs and XEmacs (formerly Lucid Emacs)?

XEmacs was a branch version of Emacs that is no longer actively developed. XEmacs was first called Lucid Emacs, and was initially derived from a prerelease version of Emacs 19. In this FAQ, we use the name “Emacs” only for the official version.

XEmacs last released a new version on January 30, 2009, and it lacks many important features that exists in Emacs. In the past, it was not uncommon for Emacs packages to include code for compatibility with XEmacs. Nowadays, although some packages still maintain such compatibility code, several of the more popular built-in and third party packages have either stopped supporting XEmacs or were developed exclusively for Emacs.

Some XEmacs code has been contributed to Emacs, and we would like to use other parts, but the earlier XEmacs maintainers did not always keep track of the authors of contributed code, which makes it impossible for the FSF to get copyright papers signed for that code. (The FSF requires these papers for all the code included in the Emacs release, aside from generic C support packages that retain their separate identity and are not integrated into the code of Emacs proper.)

If you want to talk about these two versions and distinguish them, please call them “Emacs” and “XEmacs.” To contrast “XEmacs” with “GNU Emacs” would be misleading, since XEmacs too has its origin in the work of the GNU Project. Terms such as “Emacsen” and “(X)Emacs” are not wrong, but they are not very clear, so it is better to write “Emacs and XEmacs.”

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8.7 I don’t have enough disk space to install Emacs

GNU Zile is a lightweight Emacs clone. Zile is short for ‘Zile Is Lossy Emacs’. It has all of Emacs’s basic editing features. The Zile binary typically has a size of about 130 kbytes, so this can be useful if you are in an extremely space-restricted environment. More information is available from

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8.8 Where can I get Emacs for MS-DOS?

To build Emacs from source for MS-DOS, see the instructions in the file msdos/INSTALL in the distribution. The DOS port builds and runs on plain DOS, and also on all versions of MS-Windows from version 3.X onwards, including Windows XP and Vista.

The file etc/PROBLEMS contains some additional information regarding Emacs under MS-DOS.

A pre-built binary distribution of the old Emacs 24 is available, as described at

For a list of other MS-DOS implementations of Emacs (and Emacs look-alikes), consult the list of “Emacs implementations and literature,” available at

Note that while many of these programs look similar to Emacs, they often lack certain features, such as the Emacs Lisp extension language.

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8.9 Where can I get Emacs for Microsoft Windows?

There is a separate FAQ for Emacs on MS-Windows, see FAQ for Emacs on MS Windows. For MS-DOS, see Emacs for MS-DOS.

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8.10 Where can I get Emacs for GNUstep?

Beginning with version 23.1, Emacs supports GNUstep natively. See the file nextstep/INSTALL in the distribution.

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8.11 Where can I get Emacs for macOS?

Beginning with version 22.1, Emacs supports macOS natively. See the file nextstep/INSTALL in the distribution.

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9 Key bindings

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9.1 How do I bind keys (including function keys) to commands?

Keys can be bound to commands either interactively or in your .emacs file. To interactively bind keys for all modes, type M-x global-set-key RET key cmd RET.

To bind a key just in the current major mode, type M-x local-set-key RET key cmd RET.

See Key Bindings in The GNU Emacs Manual.

To make the process of binding keys interactively easier, use the following “trick”: First bind the key interactively, then immediately type C-x ESC ESC C-a C-k C-g. Now, the command needed to bind the key is in the kill ring, and can be yanked into your .emacs file. If the key binding is global, no changes to the command are required. For example,

(global-set-key [f1] 'help-for-help)

can be placed directly into the .emacs file. If the key binding is local, the command is used in conjunction with the ‘add-hook’ function. For example, in TeX mode, a local binding might be

(add-hook 'tex-mode-hook
  (lambda ()
   (local-set-key [f1] 'help-for-help)))

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9.2 Why does Emacs say ‘Key sequence XXX uses invalid prefix characters’?

Usually, one of two things has happened. In one case, the control character in the key sequence has been misspecified (e.g., ‘C-f’ used instead of ‘\C-f’ within a Lisp expression). In the other case, a prefix key in the keystroke sequence you were trying to bind was already bound as a complete key. Historically, the ‘ESC [’ prefix was usually the problem, in which case you should evaluate either of these forms before attempting to bind the key sequence:

(global-unset-key [?\e ?[])  ;;  or
(global-unset-key "\e[")

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9.3 Why doesn’t this [terminal or window-system setup] code work in my .emacs file, but it works just fine after Emacs starts up?

During startup, Emacs initializes itself according to a given code/file order. If some of the code executed in your .emacs file needs to be postponed until the initial terminal or window-system setup code has been executed but is not, then you will experience this problem (this code/file execution order is not enforced after startup).

To postpone the execution of Emacs Lisp code until after terminal or window-system setup, treat the code as a lambda list and add it to emacs-startup-hook (or tty-setup-hook in Emacs 24.4 and newer). For example,

(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook
          (lambda ()
           (when (string-match "\\`vt220" (or (getenv "TERM") ""))
             ;; Make vt220's "Do" key behave like M-x:
             (global-set-key [do] 'execute-extended-command))))

For information on what Emacs does every time it is started, see the lisp/startup.el file.

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9.4 How do I tell what characters or symbols my function or arrow keys emit?

Type C-h c then the function or arrow keys. The command will return either a function key symbol or character sequence (see the Emacs documentation for an explanation). This works for other keys as well.

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9.5 How do I set the X key “translations” for Emacs?

Emacs is not written using the Xt library by default, so there are no “translations” to be set. (We aren’t sure how to set such translations if you do build Emacs with Xt; please let us know if you’ve done this!)

The only way to affect the behavior of keys within Emacs is through xmodmap (outside Emacs) or define-key (inside Emacs). The define-key command should be used in conjunction with the local-function-key-map map. For instance,

(define-key function-key-map [M-TAB] [?\M-\t])

defines the M-TAB key sequence.

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9.6 Why does the Backspace key invoke help?

The Backspace key (on most keyboards) generates ASCII code 8. C-h sends the same code. In Emacs by default C-h invokes help-command. This is intended to be easy to remember since the first letter of ‘help’ is ‘h’. The easiest solution to this problem is to use C-h (and Backspace) for help and DEL (the Delete key) for deleting the previous character.

For many people this solution may be problematic:

When Emacs 21 or later runs on a windowed display, it binds the Delete key to a command which deletes the character at point, to make Emacs more consistent with keyboard operation on these systems.

For more information about troubleshooting this problem, see If DEL Fails to Delete in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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9.7 How do I swap two keys?

You can swap two keys (or key sequences) by using the keyboard-translate function. For example, to turn C-h into DEL and DEL to C-h, use

(keyboard-translate ?\C-h ?\C-?)  ; translate 'C-h' to DEL
(keyboard-translate ?\C-? ?\C-h)  ; translate DEL to 'C-h'.

The first key sequence of the pair after the function identifies what is produced by the keyboard; the second, what is matched for in the keymaps.

However, in the specific case of C-h and DEL, you should toggle normal-erase-is-backspace-mode instead of calling keyboard-translate. See DEL Does Not Delete in The GNU Emacs Manual.

Keyboard translations are not the same as key bindings in keymaps. Emacs contains numerous keymaps that apply in different situations, but there is only one set of keyboard translations, and it applies to every character that Emacs reads from the terminal. Keyboard translations take place at the lowest level of input processing; the keys that are looked up in keymaps contain the characters that result from keyboard translation.

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9.8 How do I produce C-XXX with my keyboard?

On terminals (but not under X), some common “aliases” are:

C-2 or C-SPC




C-7 or C-S--








Often other aliases exist; use the C-h c command and try CTRL with all of the digits on your keyboard to see what gets generated. You can also try the C-h w command if you know the name of the command.

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9.9 What if I don’t have a Meta key?

On many keyboards, the Alt key acts as Meta, so try it.

Instead of typing M-a, you can type ESC a. In fact, Emacs converts M-a internally into ESC a anyway (depending on the value of meta-prefix-char). Note that you press Meta and a together, but with ESC, you press ESC, release it, and then press a.

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9.10 What if I don’t have an Escape key?

Type C-[ instead. This should send ASCII code 27 just like an Escape key would. C-3 may also work on some terminal (but not under X). For many terminals (notably DEC terminals) F11 generates ESC. If not, the following form can be used to bind it:

;; F11 is the documented ESC replacement on DEC terminals.
(define-key function-key-map [f11] [?\e])

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9.11 Can I make my Compose Character key behave like a Meta key?

On a dumb terminal such as a VT220, no. It is rumored that certain VT220 clones could have their Compose key configured this way. If you’re using X, you might be able to do this with the xmodmap command.

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9.12 How do I bind a combination of modifier key and function key?

You can represent modified function keys in vector format by adding prefixes to the function key symbol. For example (from the Emacs documentation):

(global-set-key [?\C-x right] 'forward-page)

where ‘?\C-x’ is the Lisp character constant for the character C-x.

You can use the modifier keys Control, Meta, Hyper, Super, Alt, and Shift with function keys. To represent these modifiers, prepend the strings ‘C-’, ‘M-’, ‘H-’, ‘s-’, ‘A-’, and ‘S-’ to the symbol name. Here is how to make H-M-RIGHT move forward a word:

(global-set-key [H-M-right] 'forward-word)

See Binding keys to commands, for general key binding instructions.

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9.13 Why doesn’t my Meta key work in an xterm window?

See Single-Byte Character Set Support in The GNU Emacs Manual.

If the advice in the Emacs manual fails, try all of these methods before asking for further help:

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9.14 Why doesn’t my ExtendChar key work as a Meta key under HP-UX 8.0 and 9.x?

This is a result of an internationalization extension in X11R4 and the fact that HP is now using this extension. Emacs assumes that the XLookupString function returns the same result regardless of the Meta key state which is no longer necessarily true. Until Emacs is fixed, the temporary kludge is to run this command after each time the X server is started but preferably before any xterm clients are:

xmodmap -e 'remove mod1 = Mode_switch'

This will disable the use of the extra keysyms systemwide, which may be undesirable if you actually intend to use them.

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9.15 Why doesn’t SPC complete file names anymore?

Starting with Emacs 22.1, SPC no longer completes file names in the minibuffer, so that file names with embedded spaces could be typed without the need to quote the spaces.

You can get the old behavior by binding SPC to minibuffer-complete-word in the minibuffer, as follows:

(define-key minibuffer-local-filename-completion-map (kbd "SPC")

(define-key minibuffer-local-must-match-filename-map (kbd "SPC")

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10 Alternate character sets

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10.1 How do I make Emacs display 8-bit characters?

See Single-byte Character Set Support in The GNU Emacs Manual. On a Unix, when Emacs runs on a text-only terminal display or is invoked with ‘emacs -nw’, you typically need to use set-terminal-coding-system to tell Emacs what the terminal can display, even after setting the language environment; otherwise non-ASCII characters will display as ‘?’. On other operating systems, such as MS-DOS and MS-Windows, Emacs queries the OS about the character set supported by the display, and sets up the required terminal coding system automatically.

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10.2 How do I input eight-bit characters?

Various methods are available for input of eight-bit characters. See Single-byte Character Set Support in The GNU Emacs Manual. For more sophisticated methods, see Input Methods in The GNU Emacs Manual.

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10.3 Where is an Emacs that can handle Semitic (right-to-left) alphabets?

Emacs supports display and editing of bidirectional scripts, such as Arabic, Farsi, and Hebrew, since version 24.1. See bidirectional display.

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10.4 How do I add fonts for use with Emacs?

First, download and install the BDF font files and any auxiliary packages they need. The GNU Intlfonts distribution can be found on the GNU Software Directory Web site.

Next, if you are on X Window system, issue the following two commands from the shell’s prompt:

  xset +fp /usr/local/share/emacs/fonts
  xset fp rehash

(Modify the first command if you installed the fonts in a directory that is not /usr/local/share/emacs/fonts.) You also need to arrange for these two commands to run whenever you log in, e.g., by adding them to your window-system startup file, such as ~/.xsessionrc or ~/.gnomerc.

Now, add the following line to your ~/.emacs init file:

  (add-to-list 'bdf-directory-list "/usr/share/emacs/fonts/bdf")

(Again, modify the file name if you installed the fonts elsewhere.)

Finally, if you wish to use the installed fonts with ps-print, add the following line to your ~/.emacs:

  (setq ps-multibyte-buffer 'bdf-font-except-latin)

A few additional steps are necessary for MS-Windows; they are listed below.

First, make sure all the directories with BDF font files are mentioned in bdf-directory-list. On Unix and GNU/Linux systems, one normally runs make install to install the BDF fonts in the same directory. By contrast, Windows users typically don’t run the Intlfonts installation command, but unpack the distribution in some directory, which leaves the BDF fonts in its subdirectories. For example, assume that you unpacked Intlfonts in C:/Intlfonts; then you should set bdf-directory-list as follows:

  (setq bdf-directory-list
      "C:/Intlfonts/Chinese" "C:/Intlfonts/Chinese.X"
      "C:/Intlfonts/Chinese.BIG" "C:/Intlfonts/Ethiopic"
      "C:/Intlfonts/European" "C:/Intlfonts/European.BIG"
      "C:/Intlfonts/Japanese" "C:/Intlfonts/Japanese.X"
      "C:/Intlfonts/Japanese.BIG" "C:/Intlfonts/Korean.X"

Next, you need to set up the variable w32-bdf-filename-alist to an alist of the BDF fonts and their corresponding file names. Assuming you have set bdf-directory-list to name all the directories with the BDF font files, the following Lisp snippet will set up w32-bdf-filename-alist:

  (setq w32-bdf-filename-alist
     (w32-find-bdf-fonts bdf-directory-list))

Now, create fontsets for the BDF fonts:


Many of the international bdf fonts from Intlfonts are type 0, and therefore need to be added to font-encoding-alist:

  (setq font-encoding-alist
        (append '(("MuleTibetan-0" (tibetan . 0))
                  ("GB2312"        (chinese-gb2312 . 0))
                  ("JISX0208"      (japanese-jisx0208 . 0))
                  ("JISX0212"      (japanese-jisx0212 . 0))
                  ("VISCII"        (vietnamese-viscii-lower . 0))
                  ("KSC5601"       (korean-ksc5601 . 0))
                  ("MuleArabic-0"  (arabic-digit . 0))
                  ("MuleArabic-1"  (arabic-1-column . 0))
                  ("MuleArabic-2"  (arabic-2-column . 0)))

You can now use the Emacs font menu to select the ‘bdf: 16-dot medium’ fontset, or you can select it by setting the default font in your ~/.emacs:

  (set-frame-font "fontset-bdf")

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11 Mail and news

Next: , Up: Mail and news   [Contents][Index]

11.1 How do I change the included text prefix in mail/news followups?

If you read mail with Rmail, set the variable mail-yank-prefix. For Gnus, set message-yank-prefix. For VM, set vm-included-text-prefix. For mh-e, set mh-ins-buf-prefix.

For fancier control of citations, use Supercite (see the Supercite Manual in The Supercite Manual).

To prevent Emacs from including various headers of the replied-to message, set the value of mail-yank-ignored-headers to an appropriate regexp.

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11.2 How do I save a copy of outgoing mail?

You can either mail yourself a copy by including a ‘BCC’ header in the mail message, or store a copy of the message directly to a file by including an ‘FCC’ header.

If you use standard mail, you can automatically create a ‘BCC’ to yourself by putting

(setq mail-self-blind t)

in your .emacs file. You can automatically include an ‘FCC’ field by putting something like the following in your .emacs file:

(setq mail-archive-file-name (expand-file-name "~/outgoing"))

The output file will be in Unix mail format.

If you use mh-e, add an ‘FCC’ or ‘BCC’ field to your components file.

It does not work to put ‘set record filename’ in the .mailrc file.

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11.3 Why doesn’t Emacs expand my aliases when sending mail?

See The Emacs Manual in The Emacs Manual.

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11.4 How can I sort the messages in my Rmail folder?

In Rmail, type C-c C-s C-h to get a list of sorting functions and their key bindings.

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11.5 Why does Rmail need to write to /var/spool/mail?

This is the behavior of the movemail program which Rmail uses. This indicates that movemail is configured to use lock files.

RMS writes:

Certain systems require lock files to interlock access to mail files. On these systems, movemail must write lock files, or you risk losing mail. You simply must arrange to let movemail write them.

Other systems use the flock system call to interlock access. On these systems, you should configure movemail to use flock.

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11.6 How can I force Rmail to reply to the sender of a message, but not the other recipients?

Ron Isaacson says: When you hit r to reply in Rmail, by default it Ccs all of the original recipients (everyone on the original ‘To’ and ‘CC’ lists). With a prefix argument (i.e., typing C-u before r), it replies only to the sender. However, going through the whole C-u business every time you want to reply is a pain. This is the best fix I’ve been able to come up with:

(defun rmail-reply-t ()
  "Reply only to the sender of the current message. (See rmail-reply.)"
  (rmail-reply t))

(add-hook 'rmail-mode-hook
  (lambda ()
    (define-key rmail-mode-map "r" 'rmail-reply-t)
    (define-key rmail-mode-map "R" 'rmail-reply)))

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11.7 How do I make Emacs automatically start my mail/news reader?

To start Emacs in Gnus:

emacs -f gnus

in Rmail:

emacs -f rmail

A more convenient way to start with Gnus:

alias gnus 'emacs -f gnus'

It is probably unwise to automatically start your mail or news reader from your .emacs file. This would cause problems if you needed to run two copies of Emacs at the same time. Also, this would make it difficult for you to start Emacs quickly when you needed to.

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11.8 How do I read news under Emacs?

Use M-x gnus. For more information on Gnus, see the Gnus Manual in The Gnus Manual, which includes the Gnus FAQ in The Gnus Manual.

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11.9 How do I make Gnus faster?

From the Gnus FAQ (see Reading news with Emacs):

If you have a slow machine, or are just really impatient, there are a few things you can do to make Gnus run faster.

Set gnus-check-new-newsgroups and gnus-check-bogus-newsgroups to nil to make startup faster.

Set gnus-show-threads, gnus-use-cross-reference and gnus-nov-is-evil to nil to make entering and exiting the summary buffer faster.

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11.10 How do I catch up all newsgroups in Gnus?

In the *Newsgroup* buffer, type M-< C-x ( c y C-x ) M-0 C-x e

Leave off the initial M-< if you only want to catch up from point to the end of the *Newsgroup* buffer.

Previous: , Up: Top   [Contents][Index]

Concept Index

Jump to:   #   $   -   .   /   2  
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z  
Index Entry  Section

#ifdef, selective display of: Hiding #ifdef lines

$’ in file names: Editing files with $ in the name

-debug-init’ option: Debugging a customization file

., equivalent to vi command: Repeating commands
.emacs debugging: Debugging a customization file
.emacs file, errors in: Errors with init files
.emacs file, locating: Setting up a customization file
.emacs file, setting up: Setting up a customization file
.Xdefaults: Emacs ignores X resources

/var/spool/mail and Rmail: Rmail writes to /var/spool/mail

24-bit direct color mode: Colors on a TTY

Abbrevs, turning on by default: Turning on abbrevs by default
Acronyms, definitions for: Common acronyms
add fonts for use with Emacs: How to add fonts
Adding to load-path: Changing load-path
Alternate character sets: Alternate character sets
Alternative Info file viewers: Viewing Info files outside of Emacs
Anti-aliased fonts: New in Emacs 23
Antivirus programs, and Shell Mode: Problems with Shell Mode
Apple computers, Emacs for: Emacs for macOS
Apropos: Learning how to do something
Arabic: Right-to-left alphabets
Archived postings from Newsgroup archives
Arrow keys, symbols generated by: Working with function and arrow keys
Aspell: Spell-checkers
Associating modes with files: Associating modes with files
auto-fill-mode, activating automatically: Turning on auto-fill by default
auto-fill-mode, introduction to: Wrapping words automatically
auto-mode-alist, modifying: Associating modes with files
Auto-saving: Disabling auto-save-mode
automatic display of Lisp APIs: New in Emacs 25
Automatic entry to auto-fill-mode: Turning on auto-fill by default
Automatic filing of outgoing mail: Saving a copy of outgoing mail

Backspace key invokes help: Backspace invokes help
Backup files in a single directory: Disabling backups
Backups, disabling: Disabling backups
Basic editing with Emacs: Basic editing
Basic keys: Basic keys
Bazaar repository, Emacs: Latest version of Emacs
Beeping, turning off: Turning off beeping
Beginning editing: Basic editing
Bell, visible: Turning off beeping
Bell, volume of: Turning the volume down
bidirectional display: New in Emacs 24
bidirectional editing: New in Emacs 25
bidirectional scripts: Right-to-left alphabets
bignum support: New in Emacs 27
Binding keys to commands: Binding keys to commands
Binding modifiers and function keys: Binding combinations of modifiers and function keys
bracketed paste mode: New in Emacs 25
Bug reporting: Reporting bugs
Bugs and problems: Bugs and problems
Building Emacs from source: Installing Emacs

C-h, definition of: Basic keys
C-M-h, definition of: Basic keys
Case sensitivity in replacements: Controlling case sensitivity
Case sensitivity of searches: Controlling case sensitivity
case-fold-search: Controlling case sensitivity
case-replace: Controlling case sensitivity
Catching up all newsgroups in Gnus: Catching up in all newsgroups
character folding in searches: New in Emacs 25
Character sets: New in Emacs 23
Checking spelling: Spell-checkers
Colorizing text: Turning on syntax highlighting
Colors on a TTY: Colors on a TTY
Colors on text-only terminals: New in Emacs 21
Column, displaying the current: Displaying the current line or column
Command description in the manual: Learning how to do something
Commands, binding keys to: Binding keys to commands
Commands, extended: Extended commands
Commands, repeating many times: Repeating commands
Common acronyms, definitions for: Common acronyms
Common requests: Common requests
Compilation error messages: Going to a line by number
Compiler error messages, recognizing: Compiler error messages
Compiling and installing Emacs: Compiling and installing Emacs
Compiling Emacs for DOS: Emacs for MS-DOS
Compose Character key, using as Meta: Compose Character
Console, colors: Colors on a TTY
Contracting the FSF: Contacting the FSF
Control characters, generating: Producing C-XXX with the keyboard
Control characters, working with: Working with unprintable characters
Control key, notation for: Basic keys
Control-Meta characters, notation for: Basic keys
Conventions for file names: File-name conventions
Copying outgoing mail to a file: Saving a copy of outgoing mail
COPYING, description of file: Informational files for Emacs
Copyleft, real meaning of: Real meaning of copyleft
Creating new menu options: Modifying pull-down menus
Crosspostings make Gnus catching up slow: Making Gnus faster
Current directory and shell-mode: Shell mode loses the current directory
Current GNU distributions: Current GNU distributions
Customization file, setting up: Setting up a customization file
Customize groups: Using Customize
Customize indentation: Customizing C and C++ indentation
Customizing faces: Using Customize
Customizing variables: Using Customize

Daemon mode: New in Emacs 23
Debugging .emacs file: Debugging a customization file
Debugging .emacs file: Errors with init files
Decoration level, in font-lock-mode: Turning on syntax highlighting
DEL key does not delete: Backspace invokes help
DEL, definition of: Basic keys
delete-selection-mode: Replacing highlighted text
Deleting menus and menu options: Deleting menus and menu options
Development, Emacs: Latest version of Emacs
Difference Emacs and XEmacs: Difference between Emacs and XEmacs
Differences between Emacs 19 and Emacs 20: New in Emacs 20
Differences between Emacs 20 and Emacs 21: New in Emacs 21
Differences between Emacs 21 and Emacs 22: New in Emacs 22
Differences between Emacs 22 and Emacs 23: New in Emacs 23
Differences between Emacs 23 and Emacs 24: New in Emacs 24
Differences between Emacs 24 and Emacs 25: New in Emacs 25
Differences between Emacs 25 and Emacs 26: New in Emacs 26
Differences between Emacs 26 and Emacs 27: New in Emacs 27
Differences between Unix and Emacs regexps: Using regular expressions
direct color in terminals: Colors on a TTY
Directories and files that come with Emacs: File-name conventions
Directory, current in shell-mode: Shell mode loses the current directory
Directory-local variables: New in Emacs 23
Dired does not see a file: Dired claims that no file is on this line
Disabling auto-save-mode: Disabling auto-save-mode
Disabling backups: Disabling backups
Discussion of the GPL: Real meaning of copyleft
Displaying eight-bit characters: Emacs does not display 8-bit characters
Displaying the current line or column: Displaying the current line or column
DISTRIB, description of file: Informational files for Emacs
Do key: Extended commands
Documentation: New in Emacs 22
Documentation for etags: Documentation for etags
Documentation on Emacs Lisp: Emacs Lisp documentation
Documentation, installing new Texinfo files: Installing Texinfo documentation
DOS, Emacs for: Emacs for MS-DOS
double-buffering: New in Emacs 26
Downloading and installing Emacs: Installing Emacs
Downloading Emacs: Finding Emacs on the Internet
Drag-and-drop: New in Emacs 22

early init file: New in Emacs 27
Echoed commands in shell-mode: ^M in the shell buffer
Editing files with ‘$’ in the name: Editing files with $ in the name
Editing MS-DOS files: Editing MS-DOS files
Eight-bit characters, displaying: Emacs does not display 8-bit characters
Eight-bit characters, entering: Inputting eight-bit characters
Eight-bit characters, working with: Working with unprintable characters
Emacs 20, new features in: New in Emacs 20
Emacs 21, new features in: New in Emacs 21
Emacs 22, new features in: New in Emacs 22
Emacs 23, new features in: New in Emacs 23
Emacs 24, new features in: New in Emacs 24
Emacs 25, new features in: New in Emacs 25
Emacs 26, new features in: New in Emacs 26
Emacs 27, new features in: New in Emacs 27
Emacs entries for termcap/terminfo: Termcap/Terminfo entries for Emacs
Emacs for MS-DOS: Emacs for MS-DOS
Emacs for MS-Windows: Emacs for MS-Windows
Emacs Lisp Archive: Packages that do not come with Emacs
Emacs Lisp List: Packages that do not come with Emacs
Emacs Lisp Manual: New in Emacs 22
Emacs Lisp Reference Manual: Emacs Lisp documentation
Emacs manual, obtaining a printed or HTML copy of: Getting a printed manual
Emacs manual, reading topics in: Emacs manual
Emacs name origin: Origin of the term Emacs
Emacs server functions: Using an already running Emacs process
emacsclient: Using an already running Emacs process
Enchant: Spell-checkers
Enchant support: New in Emacs 26
Entering eight-bit characters: Inputting eight-bit characters
Epoch: Difference between Emacs and XEmacs
Error in .emacs: Errors with init files
Error in init file: Errors with init files
Errors when building Emacs: Problems building Emacs
Errors, recognizing compiler: Compiler error messages
ESC, definition of: Basic keys
Escape key, lacking: No Escape key
Escape sequences in ls output: Escape sequences in shell output
etags, documentation for: Documentation for etags
Evaluating Lisp code: Evaluating Emacs Lisp code
eww: New in Emacs 25
Expanding aliases when sending mail: Expanding aliases when sending mail
explicit-shell-file-name: Problems with Shell Mode
ExtendChar key as Meta: ExtendChar key does not work as Meta
Extended commands: Extended commands

FAQ for Emacs on MS-Windows: Emacs for MS-Windows
FAQ for Gnus: Reading news with Emacs
FAQ notation: FAQ notation
FAQ, font-lock-mode: Turning on syntax highlighting
FAQ, obtaining the: Obtaining the FAQ
Farsi: Right-to-left alphabets
Faster, starting Gnus: Making Gnus faster
File extensions and modes: Associating modes with files
File name, displaying in the titlebar: Displaying the current file name in the titlebar
File names containing ‘$’, editing: Editing files with $ in the name
file-local-variable and security: Security risks with Emacs
File-name conventions: File-name conventions
Files included with Emacs: Informational files for Emacs
Files, maximum size: Problems with very large files
Files, replacing strings across multiple: Replacing text across multiple files
Filing outgoing mail: Saving a copy of outgoing mail
Fill prefix: Automatic indentation
fill-column, default value: Wrapping words automatically
Filling automatically: Turning on auto-fill by default
Finding an Emacs Lisp package: Finding a package with particular functionality
Finding commands and variables: Learning how to do something
Finding current GNU software: Current GNU distributions
Finding Emacs and related packages: Finding Emacs and related packages
Finding Emacs on the Internet: Finding Emacs on the Internet
Finding other packages: Packages that do not come with Emacs
Finding topics in the Emacs manual: Emacs manual
Folder, sorting messages in an Rmail: Sorting the messages in an Rmail folder
font-lock-mode: Turning on syntax highlighting
Frame parameters: Emacs ignores frame parameters
frame-title-format: Displaying the current file name in the titlebar
Free Software Foundation, contacting: Contacting the FSF
Freetype fonts: New in Emacs 23
FSF, definition of: Common acronyms
Fullscreen mode: Fullscreen mode on MS-Windows
Function documentation: Emacs Lisp documentation
Function keys and modifiers: Binding combinations of modifiers and function keys
Function keys, symbols generated by: Working with function and arrow keys
Functionality, finding a particular package: Finding a package with particular functionality

General Public License, real meaning of: Real meaning of copyleft
General questions: General questions
Generating control characters: Producing C-XXX with the keyboard
Getting help: Getting help
GNU mailing lists: Guidelines for newsgroup postings
GNU newsgroups, appropriate messages for: Guidelines for newsgroup postings
GNU, definition of: Common acronyms
Gnus FAQ: Reading news with Emacs
Gnus is slow when catching up: Making Gnus faster
Gnus newsreader: Reading news with Emacs
Gnus, Catching up all newsgroups in: Catching up in all newsgroups
Gnus, starting faster: Making Gnus faster
GNUstep port: New in Emacs 23
GNUstep, Emacs for: Emacs for GNUstep
Going to a line by number: Going to a line by number
Good bug reports: Reporting bugs
GPL, definition of: Common acronyms
GPL, real meaning of: Real meaning of copyleft
GTK+ Toolkit: New in Emacs 22

HarfBuzz: New in Emacs 27
Hebrew, handling with Emacs: Right-to-left alphabets
Help for Emacs: Learning how to do something
Help installing Emacs: Help installing Emacs
Help invoked by Backspace: Backspace invokes help
Help system, entering the: Basic editing
hide-ifdef, C/C++ expressions in macros: New in Emacs 25
hide-ifdef-mode: Hiding #ifdef lines
Hiding #ifdef text: Hiding #ifdef lines
Highlighting and replacing text: Replacing highlighted text
Highlighting based on syntax: Turning on syntax highlighting
Highlighting matching parentheses: Matching parentheses
horizontal scroll bars: New in Emacs 25
horizontal scrolling of current line: New in Emacs 26
How to submit a bug report: Reporting bugs
HP-UX, the ExtendChar key: ExtendChar key does not work as Meta
Hunspell: Spell-checkers

Iconification under the X Window System: Forcing Emacs to iconify itself
Ignored X resources: Emacs ignores X resources
Ignoring case in searches: Controlling case sensitivity
Included text prefix, changing: Changing the included text prefix
Indentation, how to customize: Customizing C and C++ indentation
Indenting new lines: Automatic indentation
Indenting of switch: Indenting switch statements
Index search in a manual: Learning how to do something
Info file viewers: Viewing Info files outside of Emacs
Info files, how to install: Installing Texinfo documentation
Info, finding topics in: Emacs manual
Informational files included with Emacs: Informational files for Emacs
Init file debugging: Debugging a customization file
Init file, errors in: Errors with init files
Init file, setting up: Setting up a customization file
Input, 8-bit characters: Inputting eight-bit characters
Insert: Overwrite mode
Installation help: Help installing Emacs
Installing Emacs: Installing Emacs
Installing Texinfo documentation: Installing Texinfo documentation
intlfonts: How to add fonts
Invalid prefix characters: Invalid prefix characters
isearch yanking: Yanking text in isearch
Ispell: Spell-checkers

JSON, native parsing: New in Emacs 27
Just-In-Time syntax highlighting: Turning on syntax highlighting

Key bindings: Key bindings
Key translations under X: X key translations for Emacs
keyboard-translate: Swapping keys
Keymaps and menus: Modifying pull-down menus
Keys, binding to commands: Binding keys to commands
Keys, swapping: Swapping keys

Lacking an Escape key: No Escape key
Large files, opening: Problems with very large files
Latest FAQ version, obtaining the: Obtaining the FAQ
Latest version of Emacs: Latest version of Emacs
Learning more about Gnus: Reading news with Emacs
Learning to do something in Emacs: Learning how to do something
Length of tab character: Changing the length of a Tab
Levels of syntax highlighting: Turning on syntax highlighting
lexical binding: New in Emacs 24
LFD, definition of: Basic keys
line number display: New in Emacs 26
Line number, displaying the current: Displaying the current line or column
Line wrap: Wrapping words automatically
line-number-mode: Displaying the current line or column
Lisp forms, evaluating: Evaluating Emacs Lisp code
Lisp packages that do not come with Emacs: Packages that do not come with Emacs
load-path, modifying: Changing load-path
loadable modules: New in Emacs 25
Lookup a subject in a manual: Learning how to do something
ls in Shell mode: Escape sequences in shell output
Lucid Emacs: Difference between Emacs and XEmacs

M-x, meaning of: Extended commands
MACHINES, description of file: Informational files for Emacs
Macintosh, Emacs for: Emacs for macOS
macOS Cocoa: New in Emacs 23
macOS, Emacs for: Emacs for macOS
Mail alias expansion: Expanding aliases when sending mail
Mail and news: Mail and news
Mail reader, starting automatically: Automatically starting a mail or news reader
Mail replies, inserting a prefix character: Inserting text at the beginning of each line
Mail, saving outgoing automatically: Saving a copy of outgoing mail
mail-yank-prefix: Inserting text at the beginning of each line
Mailing lists, appropriate messages for: Guidelines for newsgroup postings
Major mode for shell scripts: Associating modes with files
Manual, obtaining a printed or HTML copy of: Getting a printed manual
Matching parentheses: Matching parentheses
Maximize frame: Fullscreen mode on MS-Windows
Maximum file size: Problems with very large files
Maximum line width, default value: Wrapping words automatically
Menus and keymaps: Modifying pull-down menus
Menus, creating or modifying: Modifying pull-down menus
Menus, deleting: Deleting menus and menu options
Meta key and xterm: Meta key does not work in xterm
Meta key, notation for: Basic keys
Meta key, what to do if you lack it: No Meta key
Meta, using Compose Character for: Compose Character
Meta, using ExtendChar for: ExtendChar key does not work as Meta
Microsoft files, editing: Editing MS-DOS files
Microsoft Windows, Emacs for: Emacs for MS-Windows
Misspecified key sequences: Invalid prefix characters
mode-line-format: Displaying the current line or column
Modes, associating with file extensions: Associating modes with files
Modifiers and function keys: Binding combinations of modifiers and function keys
Modifying load-path: Changing load-path
Modifying pull-down menus: Modifying pull-down menus
Mouse wheel: New in Emacs 22
movemail’ and security: Security risks with Emacs
MS-DOS files, editing: Editing MS-DOS files
MS-DOS, Emacs for: Emacs for MS-DOS
Multi-tty support: New in Emacs 23
Multilingual Environment: New in Emacs 22
Multiple files, replacing across: Replacing text across multiple files

New lines, indenting of: Automatic indentation
New modes: New in Emacs 22
New Texinfo files, installing: Installing Texinfo documentation
News reader, starting automatically: Automatically starting a mail or news reader
News replies, inserting a prefix character: Inserting text at the beginning of each line
NEWS, description of file: Informational files for Emacs
Newsgroups, appropriate messages for: Guidelines for newsgroup postings
NeXTstep port: New in Emacs 23
No Escape key: No Escape key
No Meta key: No Meta key
Not enough disk space to install Emacs: Emacs for minimalists
Notation for keys: Basic keys

Official GNU software sites: Current GNU distributions
Old Usenet postings for GNU groups: Newsgroup archives
One space following periods: Filling paragraphs with a single space
Opening very large files: Problems with very large files
Ordering GNU software: Contacting the FSF
Origin of the term “Emacs”: Origin of the term Emacs
Original version of Emacs: Origin of the term Emacs
Overview of help systems: Learning how to do something
overwrite-mode: Overwrite mode
Overwriting existing text: Overwrite mode

Package, finding: Finding a package with particular functionality
packages, installing more: New in Emacs 24
Packages, those that do not come with Emacs: Packages that do not come with Emacs
Pairs of parentheses, highlighting: Matching parentheses
paren.el: Matching parentheses
Parentheses, matching: Matching parentheses
pasting text on text terminals: New in Emacs 25
Periods, one space following: Filling paragraphs with a single space
picture-mode: Forcing the cursor to remain in the same column
portable dumper: New in Emacs 27
Posting messages to newsgroups: Guidelines for newsgroup postings
Prefix character, inserting in mail/news replies: Inserting text at the beginning of each line
Prefix characters, invalid: Invalid prefix characters
Prefix in mail/news followups, changing: Changing the included text prefix
Prefixing a region with some text: Inserting text at the beginning of each line
Prefixing lines: Automatic indentation
Previous line, indenting according to: Automatic indentation
Printed Emacs manual, obtaining: Getting a printed manual
Printing a Texinfo file: Printing a Texinfo file
Printing documentation: Printing a Texinfo file
Problems building Emacs: Problems building Emacs
Producing control characters: Producing C-XXX with the keyboard
project: New in Emacs 25
Pull-down menus, creating or modifying: Modifying pull-down menus

Quoting in mail messages: Changing the included text prefix

Reading news under Emacs: Reading news with Emacs
Reading the Emacs manual: Learning how to do something
Reading topics in the Emacs manual: Emacs manual
Recognizing non-standard compiler errors: Compiler error messages
Recompilation: Going to a line by number
Recursive search/replace operations: Replacing text across multiple files
Reducing the increment when scrolling: Scrolling only one line
Reference card for Emacs: Learning how to do something
Reference cards, in other languages: Learning how to do something
Reference manual for Emacs Lisp: Emacs Lisp documentation
Regexps: Using regular expressions
Regexps and unprintable characters: Working with unprintable characters
Regexps for recognizing compiler errors: Compiler error messages
Regular expressions: Using regular expressions
Remaining in the same column, regardless of contents: Forcing the cursor to remain in the same column
Removing yourself from GNU mailing lists: Unsubscribing from Emacs lists
Repeating commands many times: Repeating commands
Replacing highlighted text: Replacing highlighted text
Replacing newlines: Searching for/replacing newlines
Replacing strings across files: Replacing text across multiple files
Replacing, and case sensitivity: Controlling case sensitivity
Replies to mail/news, inserting a prefix character: Inserting text at the beginning of each line
Replying only to the sender of a message: Replying to the sender of a message
Reporting bugs: Reporting bugs
Repository, Emacs: Latest version of Emacs
Resources, X: Valid X resources
RET, definition of: Basic keys
Richard Stallman, acronym for: Common acronyms
Right-to-left alphabets: Right-to-left alphabets
right-to-left languages: New in Emacs 24
Rmail and /var/spool/mail: Rmail writes to /var/spool/mail
rmail, and HTML mails: New in Emacs 25
Rmail, replying to the sender of a message in: Replying to the sender of a message
Rmail, sorting messages in: Sorting the messages in an Rmail folder
RMS, definition of: Common acronyms

Saving a copy of outgoing mail: Saving a copy of outgoing mail
Saving at frequent intervals: Disabling auto-save-mode
Scrolling only one line: Scrolling only one line
Searching for newlines: Searching for/replacing newlines
Searching for unprintable characters: Working with unprintable characters
Searching without case sensitivity: Controlling case sensitivity
Security with Emacs: Security risks with Emacs
Selectively displaying #ifdef code: Hiding #ifdef lines
Self-paced tutorial, invoking the: Basic editing
Semitic alphabets: Right-to-left alphabets
Sender, replying only to: Replying to the sender of a message
Sending mail with aliases: Expanding aliases when sending mail
Set number capability in vi emulators: Displaying the current line or column
Setting the included text character: Changing the included text prefix
Setting X resources: Valid X resources
Shell buffer, echoed commands and ‘^M’ in: ^M in the shell buffer
Shell Mode, problems: Problems with Shell Mode
shell-mode and current directory: Shell mode loses the current directory
Show matching paren as in vi: Matching parentheses
Single space following periods: Filling paragraphs with a single space
Slow catch up in Gnus: Making Gnus faster
Sorting messages in an Rmail folder: Sorting the messages in an Rmail folder
Source code, building Emacs from: Installing Emacs
Sources for current GNU distributions: Current GNU distributions
SPC file name completion: SPC no longer completes file names
SPC, definition of: Basic keys
Spell-checker: Spell-checkers
Stallman, Richard, acronym for: Common acronyms
Starting Gnus faster: Making Gnus faster
Starting mail/news reader automatically: Automatically starting a mail or news reader
Status of Emacs: Status of Emacs
Stuff, current GNU: Current GNU distributions
support for push commands in VC: New in Emacs 25
Supported systems: New in Emacs 22
Suspending Emacs: Forcing Emacs to iconify itself
Swapping keys: Swapping keys
switch, indenting: Indenting switch statements
Symbols generated by function keys: Working with function and arrow keys
Syntax highlighting: Turning on syntax highlighting
Syntax highlighting on a TTY: Colors on a TTY
Synthetic X events and security: Security risks with Emacs
systemd support: New in Emacs 26

Tab length: Changing the length of a Tab
TAB, definition of: Basic keys
tabs: New in Emacs 27
TECO: Origin of the term Emacs
Termcap: Termcap/Terminfo entries for Emacs
Terminal setup code in .emacs: Terminal setup code works after Emacs has begun
Terminfo: Termcap/Terminfo entries for Emacs
Texinfo documentation, installing: Installing Texinfo documentation
Texinfo file, printing: Printing a Texinfo file
Text indentation: Automatic indentation
Text strings, putting regexps in: Using regular expressions
themes: New in Emacs 24
threads: New in Emacs 26
Titlebar, displaying the current file name in: Displaying the current file name in the titlebar
Toggling overwrite-mode: Overwrite mode
Toolbar support: New in Emacs 21
Translations for keys under X: X key translations for Emacs
TTY colors: New in Emacs 21
Tutorial, invoking the: Basic editing

Unbundled packages: Packages that do not come with Emacs
Unicode: New in Emacs 23
Unicode 11.0.0: New in Emacs 26
Unicode 9.0.0: New in Emacs 25
Unicode characters, typing easily: New in Emacs 25
Unix regexps, differences from Emacs: Using regular expressions
Unix systems, installing Emacs on: Installing Emacs
Unprintable characters, working with: Working with unprintable characters
Unsubscribing from GNU mailing lists: Unsubscribing from Emacs lists
Up-to-date GNU stuff: Current GNU distributions
Usenet archives for GNU groups: Newsgroup archives
Usenet groups, appropriate messages for: Guidelines for newsgroup postings
Usenet reader in Emacs: Reading news with Emacs
Using an existing Emacs process: Using an already running Emacs process

Variable documentation: Emacs Lisp documentation
Variable-size fonts: New in Emacs 21
Version, latest: Latest version of Emacs
Vertical movement in empty documents: Forcing the cursor to remain in the same column
Very large files, opening: Problems with very large files
Viewing Info files: Viewing Info files outside of Emacs
Visible bell: Turning off beeping
Volume of bell: Turning the volume down

w32-bdf-filename-alist: How to add fonts
w32-find-bdf-fonts: How to add fonts
Why Emacs?: Origin of the term Emacs
Windows files, editing: Editing MS-DOS files
Working with arrow keys: Working with function and arrow keys
Working with function keys: Working with function and arrow keys
Working with unprintable characters: Working with unprintable characters
Wrapping lines: Wrapping words automatically
Wrapping word automatically: Wrapping words automatically

X and tty displays: New in Emacs 23
X events and security: Security risks with Emacs
X key translations: X key translations for Emacs
X resources: Valid X resources
X resources being ignored: Emacs ignores X resources
X Window System and iconification: Forcing Emacs to iconify itself
XDG convention: New in Emacs 27
XEmacs: Difference between Emacs and XEmacs
xref: New in Emacs 25
Xterm and Meta key: Meta key does not work in xterm
xwidgets: New in Emacs 25

Yanking text into the search string: Yanking text in isearch

Zile: Emacs for minimalists

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DOS and Windows terminals don’t set bit 7 when the Meta key is pressed.