1.8 Some intermediate Info commands

The introductory course is almost over; please continue a little longer to learn some intermediate-level commands.

Most Info files have an index, which is actually a large node containing little but a menu. The menu has one menu item for each topic listed in the index. (As a special feature, menus for indices may also include the line number within the node of the index entry. This allows Info readers to go to the exact line of an entry, not just the start of the containing node.)

You can get to the index from the main menu of the file with the m command and the name of the index node; then you can use the m command again in the index node to go to the node that describes the topic you want.

There is also a short-cut Info command, i, which does all of that for you. It searches the index for a given topic (a string) and goes to the node which is listed in the index for that topic. See i searches the indices for specific subjects, for a full explanation.

If you have been moving around to different nodes and wish to retrace your steps, the l command (l for last) will do that, one node-step at a time. As you move from node to node, Info records the nodes where you have been in a special history list. The l command revisits nodes in the history list; each successive l command moves one step back through the history.

>> Try typing p p n and then three l’s, pausing in between
to see what each l does.  You should wind up right back here.

Note the difference between l and p: l moves to where you last were, whereas p always moves to the node which the header says is the ‘Previous’ node (from this node, the ‘Prev’ link leads to ‘Help-Xref’).

You can use the r command (Info-history-forward in Emacs) to revisit nodes in the history list in the forward direction, so that r will return you to the node you came from by typing l.

Clicking the mouse on the left arrow icon in the tool-bar while holding down the CTRL key in Emacs opens a menu of previously visited nodes: the same nodes that you can revisit by Info-history-back. Selecting a node after clicking on the right arrow icon revisits the same nodes as available by Info-history-forward.

The L command (Info-history in Emacs) creates a virtual node that contains a list of all nodes you visited. You can select a previously visited node from this menu to revisit it.

The d command (Info-directory in Emacs) gets you instantly to the Directory node. This node, which is the first one you saw when you entered Info, has a menu which leads (directly or indirectly, through other menus), to all the nodes that exist. The Directory node lists all the manuals and other Info documents that are, or could be, installed on your system.

>> Try doing a d, then do an l to return here (yes,
   do return).

The t command moves to the ‘Top’ node of the manual. This is useful if you want to browse the manual’s main menu, or select some specific top-level menu item. The Emacs command run by t is Info-top-node.

>> Now type n to see the last node of the course.

See Advanced Info Commands, for more advanced Info features.