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10.1 Help Summary

Here is a summary of help commands for accessing the built-in documentation. Most of these are described in more detail in the following sections.

C-h a topics RET

Display a list of commands whose names match topics (apropos-command). See Apropos.

C-h b

Display all active key bindings; minor mode bindings first, then those of the major mode, then global bindings (describe-bindings). See Misc Help.

C-h c key

Show the name of the command that the key sequence key is bound to (describe-key-briefly). Here c stands for “character”. For more extensive information on key, use C-h k. See Key Help.

C-h d topics RET

Display the commands and variables whose documentation matches topics (apropos-documentation). See Apropos.

C-h e

Display the *Messages* buffer (view-echo-area-messages). See Misc Help.

C-h f function RET

Display documentation on the Lisp function named function (describe-function). Since commands are Lisp functions, this works for commands too. See Name Help.

C-h h

Display the HELLO file, which shows examples of various character sets.

C-h i

Run Info, the GNU documentation browser (info). The Emacs manual is available in Info. See Misc Help.

C-h k key

Display the name and documentation of the command that key runs (describe-key). See Key Help.

C-h l

Display a description of your last 300 keystrokes (view-lossage). See Misc Help.

C-h m

Display documentation of the current major mode and minor modes (describe-mode). See Misc Help.

C-h n

Display news of recent Emacs changes (view-emacs-news). See Help Files.

C-h o symbol

Display documentation of the Lisp symbol named symbol (describe-symbol). This will show the documentation of all kinds of symbols: functions, variables, and faces. See Name Help.

C-h p

Find packages by topic keyword (finder-by-keyword). See Package Keywords. This lists packages using a package menu buffer. See Packages.

C-h P package RET

Display documentation about the specified package (describe-package). See Package Keywords.

C-h r

Display the Emacs manual in Info (info-emacs-manual).

C-h s

Display the contents of the current syntax table (describe-syntax). See Misc Help. The syntax table says which characters are opening delimiters, which are parts of words, and so on. See Syntax Tables in The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, for details.

C-h t

Enter the Emacs interactive tutorial (help-with-tutorial).

C-h v var RET

Display the documentation of the Lisp variable var (describe-variable). See Name Help.

C-h w command RET

Show which keys run the command named command (where-is). See Key Help.

C-h C coding RET

Describe the coding system coding (describe-coding-system). See Coding Systems.


Describe the coding systems currently in use.

C-h F command RET

Enter Info and go to the node that documents the Emacs command command (Info-goto-emacs-command-node). See Name Help.

C-h I method RET

Describe the input method method (describe-input-method). See Select Input Method.

C-h K key

Enter Info and go to the node that documents the key sequence key (Info-goto-emacs-key-command-node). See Key Help.

C-h L language-env RET

Display information on the character sets, coding systems, and input methods used in language environment language-env (describe-language-environment). See Language Environments.

C-h S symbol RET

Display the Info documentation on symbol symbol according to the programming language you are editing (info-lookup-symbol). See Misc Help.

C-h .

Display the help message for a special text area, if point is in one (display-local-help). (These include, for example, links in *Help* buffers.) See Help Echo.

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