On graphical displays, each Emacs window normally has narrow
fringes on the left and right edges. The fringes are used to
display symbols that provide information about the text in the window.
You can type M-x fringe-mode to toggle display of the fringes or
to modify their width. This command affects fringes in all frames; to
modify fringes on the selected frame only, use M-x
set-fringe-style. You can make your changes to the fringes permanent
by customizing the variable
The most common use of the fringes is to indicate a continuation line (see Continuation Lines). When one line of text is split into multiple screen lines, the left fringe shows a curving arrow for each screen line except the first, indicating that this is not the real beginning. The right fringe shows a curving arrow for each screen line except the last, indicating that this is not the real end. If the line's direction is right-to-left (see Bidirectional Editing), the meanings of the curving arrows in the fringes are swapped.
The fringes indicate line truncation (see Line Truncation) with short horizontal arrows meaning there's more text on this line which is scrolled horizontally out of view. Clicking the mouse on one of the arrows scrolls the display horizontally in the direction of the arrow.
The fringes can also indicate other things, such as buffer boundaries (see Displaying Boundaries), unused lines near the end of the window (see indicate-empty-lines), and where a program you are debugging is executing (see Debuggers).
The fringe is also used for drawing the cursor, if the current line
is exactly as wide as the window and point is at the end of the line.
To disable this, change the variable
nil; this causes Emacs
to continue or truncate lines that are exactly as wide as the window.
If you customize
fringe-mode to remove the fringes on one or
both sides of the window display, the features that display on the
fringe are not available. Indicators of line continuation and
truncation are an exception: when fringes are not available, Emacs
uses the leftmost and rightmost character cells to indicate
continuation and truncation with special ASCII characters, see
Continuation Lines, and Line Truncation. This reduces the
width available for displaying text on each line, because the
character cells used for truncation and continuation indicators are
reserved for that purpose. Since buffer text can include
bidirectional text, and thus both left-to-right and right-to-left
paragraphs (see Bidirectional Editing), removing only one of the
fringes still reserves two character cells, one on each side of the
window, for truncation and continuation indicators, because these
indicators are displayed on opposite sides of the window in