1.7 Following Cross-References

In Info documentation, you will see many cross references. Cross references look like this: See Cross. That text is a real, live cross reference, whose name is ‘Cross’ and which points to the node named ‘Help-Cross’. (The node name is hidden in Emacs. Do M-x visible-mode to show or hide it.)

You can follow a cross reference by moving the cursor to it and press RET, just as in a menu. In Emacs, you can also click mouse-1 on a cross reference to follow it; you can see that the cross reference is mouse-sensitive by moving the mouse pointer to the reference and watching how the underlying text and the mouse pointer change in response.

Another way to follow a cross reference is to type f and then specify the name of the cross reference (in this case, ‘Cross’) as an argument. For this command, it does not matter where the cursor was. If the cursor is on or near a cross reference, f suggests that reference name in parentheses as the default; typing RET will follow that reference. However, if you type a different reference name, f will follow the other reference which has that name.

>> Type f, followed by Cross, and then RET.

As you enter the reference name, you can use the DEL (or BACKSPACE) key to edit your input. If you change your mind about following any reference, you can use Control-g to cancel the command. Completion is available in the f command; you can complete among all the cross reference names in the current node by typing a TAB.

To get a list of all the cross references in the current node, you can type ? after an f. The f continues to await a cross reference name even after displaying the list, so if you don’t actually want to follow a reference, you should type a Control-g to cancel the f.

>> Type f? to get a list of the cross references in this node.  Then
   type a Control-g and see how the ‘f’ gives up.

The TAB, M-TAB and S-TAB keys, which move between menu items in a menu, also move between cross references outside of menus.

Sometimes a cross reference (or a node) can lead to another file (in other words another “manual”), or, on occasion, even a file on a remote machine (although Info files distributed with Emacs or the stand-alone Info avoid using remote links). Such a cross reference looks like this: See Overview of Texinfo in Texinfo: The GNU Documentation Format. (After following this link, type l to get back to this node.) Here the name ‘texinfo’ between parentheses refers to the file name. This file name appears in cross references and node names if it differs from the current file, so you can always know that you are going to be switching to another manual and which one.

Emacs normally hides some text in cross references. If you put your mouse over the cross reference, then the information appearing in a separate box (tool tip) or in the echo area will show the full cross reference, including the file name and the node name of the cross reference if it leads to another file. If you have a mouse, just leave it over the next cross reference: See Overview of Texinfo in Texinfo: The GNU Documentation Format, and watch what happens. If you always like to have that information visible without having to move your mouse over the cross reference, use M-x visible-mode, or set Info-hide-note-references to a value other than t (see Emacs Info-mode Variables).

>> Now type n to learn more commands.