Stand-alone GNU Info 5.2

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Stand-alone GNU Info

If you do not know how to use Info, but have a working Info reader, you should read the Info manual before this one (see Info), as it includes more background information and a thorough tutorial.

This documentation describes the stand-alone Info reader that is part of the Texinfo distribution, not the Info reader that is part of GNU Emacs.


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1 Stand-alone Info

The Info program described here is a stand-alone program, part of the Texinfo distribution, which is used to view Info files on an ASCII terminal. Info files are typically the result of processing Texinfo files with the program makeinfo (also in the Texinfo distribution).

Texinfo itself (see Texinfo) is a documentation system that uses a single source file to produce both on-line information and printed output. You can typeset and print the files that you read in Info.

GNU Emacs also provides an Info reader (just type M-x info in Emacs). Emacs Info and stand-alone Info have nearly identical user interfaces, although customization and other details are different (this manual explains the stand-alone Info reader). The Emacs Info reader supports the X Window System and other such bitmapped interfaces, not just plain ASCII, so if you want a prettier display for Info files, you should try it. You can use Emacs Info without using Emacs for anything else. (Type C-x C-c to exit; this also works in the stand-alone Info reader.)

Please report bugs in this stand-alone Info program to bug-texinfo@gnu.org. Bugs in the Emacs Info reader should be sent to bug-gnu-emacs@gnu.org.


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2 Invoking Info

GNU Info accepts several options to control the initial node being viewed, and to specify which directories to search for Info files. Here is a template showing an invocation of GNU Info from the shell:

info [option]… [menu-item…]

The program accepts the following options:

--all
-a

Find all files matching the given menu-item (a file or node name). Three usage patterns are supported, as follows.

First, if --all is used together with --where, info prints the names of all matching files found on standard output (including ‘*manpages*’ if relevant) and exits.

Second, if --all is used together with --output, the contents of all matched files are dumped to the specified output file.

Otherwise, an interactive session is initiated. If more than one file matches, a menu node is displayed listing the matches and allowing you to select one. This menu node can be brought back at any time by pressing C-x f. If there is only one match, info starts as usual.

The --index-search and --node options cannot be used together with this option.

--apropos=string
-k string

Specify a string to search in every index of every Info file installed on your system. Info looks up the named string in all the indices it can find, prints the results to standard output, and then exits. If you are not sure which Info file explains certain issues, this option is your friend. (If your system has a lot of Info files installed, searching all of them might take some time!)

You can invoke the apropos command from inside Info; see Searching Commands.

--debug=number
-x number

Print additional debugging information. The argument specifies the verbosity level, so a higher level includes all the information from lower levels. For all available debugging output, use -x -1. Info version 5.2 has these levels:

1

Print information about file handling, such as looking for dir files and nodes written with ‘--output’.

2

Print operations relating to INFOPATH.

3

Print information about node searching.

Before Info’s full-screen output is initialized, debugging output goes to standard error. After it is initialized, the debugging output is written to the file infodebug in the current working directory.

--directory directory-path
-d directory-path

Prepend directory-path to the list of directory paths searched when Info needs to find a file. You may issue --directory multiple times; once for each directory which contains Info files, or with a list of such directories separated by a colon (or semicolon on MS-DOS/MS-Windows). In the absence of --directory options the list of directories searched by Info is constructed from the value of the environment variable INFOPATH. The value of INFOPATH is a list of directories usually separated by a colon; on MS-DOS/MS-Windows systems, the semicolon is used. If you do not define INFOPATH, Info uses a default path defined when Info was built as the initial list of directories. If the value of INFOPATH ends with a colon (or semicolon on MS-DOS/MS-Windows), the initial list of directories is constructed by appending the build-time default to the value of INFOPATH.

If the list of directories contains the element PATH, that element is replaced by a list of directories derived from the value of the environment variable PATH. Each path element of the form dir/base is replaced by dir/share/info or dir/info, provided that directory exists.

--dribble=file

Specify a file where all user keystrokes will be recorded. This file can be used later to replay the same sequence of commands, see the ‘--restore’ option below.

--file manual
-f manual

Specify a particular manual to visit. By default, Info starts at a top-level “directory” (constructed by combining the dir files that it finds). With this option, it starts by trying to visit (manual)Top, i.e., the Top node in (typically) manual.info. If no such file (or node) can be found, Info just exits immediately.

Thus, info -f emacs is rather different from info emacs. With the latter, ‘emacs’ is treated as a menu item, meaning a case-insensitive match to the text before the colon in a typical dir entry:

* Emacs: (emacs).  The extensible ...

An exact match (‘* emacs:’) is preferred to a case-folding match. This can often happen when the name of a utility and its containing manual are the same.

If manual is an absolute file name, or begins with ./ or ../, or contains an intermediate directory, Info looks for manual only in that explicitly specified directory, and adds that directory to the value of INFOPATH. For example, info -f /usr/local/share/info/emacs and info -f ./emacs visit the Emacs manual in the given directory, or quits. Otherwise, manual is a simple name (info -f emacs), and Info will only look for it in the directories specified in INFOPATH—not relative to the current directory.

In every directory Info tries, if filename is not found, Info looks for it with a number of known extensions of Info files, namely .info, -info, /index, and .inf. For every known extension, Info looks for a compressed file, if a regular file isn’t found. Info supports files compressed with gzip, xz, bzip2, lzip, lzma, compress and yabba programs, assumed to have extensions .z, .gz, .xz, .bz2, .lz, .lzma, .Z, and .Y respectively, possibly after one of the known Info files extensions.

On MS-DOS, Info allows for the Info extension, such as .inf, and the short compressed file extensions, such as .z and .gz, to be merged into a single extension, since DOS doesn’t allow more than a single dot in the basename of a file. Thus, on MS-DOS, if Info looks for bison, file names like bison.igz and bison.inz will be found and decompressed by gunzip.

--help
-h

Output a brief description of the available Info command-line options.

--index-search string

After processing all command-line arguments, go to the index in the selected Info file and search for index entries which match string. If such an entry is found, the Info session begins with displaying the node pointed to by the first matching index entry; press , to step through the rest of the matching entries. If no such entry exists, print ‘no entries found’ and exit with nonzero status. This can be used from another program as a way to provide online help, or as a quick way of starting to read an Info file at a certain node when you don’t know the exact name of that node.

This command can also be invoked from inside Info; see Searching Commands.

--node nodename
-n nodename

Specify a particular node to visit in the initial file that Info loads. This is especially useful in conjunction with --file. You may specify --node multiple times; for an interactive Info, each nodename is visited in its own window, for a non-interactive Info (such as when --output is given) each nodename is processed sequentially.

You can specify both the file and node to the --node option using the usual Info syntax, but don’t forget to escape the open and close parentheses and whitespace from the shell; for example:
info --node "(emacs)Buffers"

--output file
-o file

Direct output to file. Each node that Info visits will be output to file instead of interactively viewed. A value of - for file means standard output.

--raw-escapes
--no-raw-escapes
-R

Do not remove ANSI escape sequences from documents. Some versions of Groff (see Groff) produce man pages with ANSI escape sequences for bold, italics, and underlined characters, and for colorized text. By default, Info lets those escape sequences pass through directly to the terminal. If your terminal does not support these escapes, use --no-raw-escapes to make Info remove them.

--restore=dribble-file

Read keystrokes from dribble-file, presumably recorded during previous Info session (see the description of the ‘--dribble’ option above). When the keystrokes in the files are all read, Info reverts its input to the usual interactive operation.

--show-malformed-multibytes
--no-show-malformed-multibytes

Show malformed multibyte sequences in the output. By default, such sequences are dropped.

--show-options
--usage
-O

Tell Info to look for the node that describes how to invoke the program and its command-line options, and begin the session by displaying that node. It is provided to make it easier to find the most important usage information in a manual without navigating through menu hierarchies. The effect is similar to the M-x goto-invocation command (see goto-invocation) from inside Info.

--speech-friendly
-b

On MS-DOS/MS-Windows only, this option causes Info to use standard file I/O functions for screen writes. (By default, Info uses direct writes to the video memory on these systems, for faster operation and colored display support.) This allows the speech synthesizers used by blind persons to catch the output and convert it to audible speech.

--strict-node-location

This option causes Info not to search “nearby” to locate nodes, and instead strictly use the information provided in the Info file. The practical use for this option is for debugging programs that write Info files, to check that they are outputting the correct locations. Due to bugs and malfeasances in the various Info writing programs over the years and versions, it is not advisable to ever use this option when just trying to read documentation.

--subnodes

This option only has meaning when given in conjunction with --output. It means to recursively output the nodes appearing in the menus of each node being output. Menu items which resolve to external Info files are not output, and neither are menu items which are members of an index. Each node is only output once.

-v name=value
--variable=name=value

Set the info variable name to value. See Variables.

--version

Prints the version information of Info and exits.

--vi-keys

This option binds functions to keys differently, to emulate the key bindings of vi and Less. The default key bindings are generally modeled after Emacs. (See Custom Key Bindings, for a more general way of altering GNU Info’s key bindings.)

--where
--location
-w

Show the filename that would be read and exit, instead of actually reading it and starting Info.

menu-item

Info treats its remaining arguments as the names of menu items. The first argument is a menu item in the initial node visited (generally dir), the second argument is a menu item in the first argument’s node, etc. You can easily move to the node of your choice by specifying the menu names which describe the path to that node. For example,

info emacs buffers

first selects the menu item ‘Emacs’ in the node ‘(dir)Top’, and then selects the menu item ‘Buffers’ in the node ‘(emacs)Top’.

To avoid searching the dir files and just show some arbitrary file, use ‘-f’ and the filename, as in ‘info -f ./foo.info’.

The index search and the search for the node which describes program invocation and command-line options begins after processing all the command-line menu items. Therefore, the Info file searched for the index or the invocation node is the file where Info finds itself after following all the menu items given on the command line. This is so ‘info emacs --show-options’ does what you’d expect.

Finally, Info defines many default key bindings and variables. See Custom Key Bindings, for information on how to customize these settings.


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3 Moving the Cursor

Many people find that reading screens of text page by page is made easier when one is able to indicate particular pieces of text with some kind of pointing device. Since this is the case, GNU Info (both the Emacs and stand-alone versions) have several commands which allow you to move the cursor about the screen. The notation used in this manual to describe keystrokes is identical to the notation used within the Emacs manual, and the GNU Readline manual. See User Input in The GNU Emacs Manual, if you are unfamiliar with the notation.1

The following table lists the basic cursor movement commands in Info. Each entry consists of the key sequence you should type to execute the cursor movement, the M-x2 command name (displayed in parentheses), and a short description of what the command does. All of the cursor motion commands can take a numeric argument (see to find out how to supply them. With a numeric argument, the motion commands are simply executed that many times; for example, a numeric argument of 4 given to next-line causes the cursor to move down 4 lines. With a negative numeric argument, the motion is reversed; an argument of -4 given to the next-line command would cause the cursor to move up 4 lines.

C-n (next-line)
DOWN (an arrow key)

Move the cursor down to the next line.

C-p (prev-line)
UP (an arrow key)

Move the cursor up to the previous line.

C-a (beginning-of-line)
Home (on DOS/Windows only)

Move the cursor to the start of the current line.

C-e (end-of-line)
End (on DOS/Windows only)

Move the cursor to the end of the current line.

C-f (forward-char)
RIGHT (an arrow key)

Move the cursor forward a character.

C-b (backward-char)
LEFT (an arrow key)

Move the cursor backward a character.

M-f (forward-word)
C-RIGHT (on DOS/Windows only)

Move the cursor forward a word.

M-b (backward-word)
C-LEFT (on DOS/Windows only)

Move the cursor backward a word.

M-< (beginning-of-node)
C-Home (on DOS/Windows only)
b
M-b, vi-like operation

Move the cursor to the start of the current node.

M-> (end-of-node)
C-End (on DOS/Windows only)
e

Move the cursor to the end of the current node.

M-r (move-to-window-line)

Move the cursor to a specific line of the window. Without a numeric argument, M-r moves the cursor to the start of the line in the center of the window. With a numeric argument of n, M-r moves the cursor to the start of the nth line in the window.


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4 Moving Text Within a Window

Sometimes you are looking at a screenful of text, and only part of the current paragraph you are reading is visible on the screen. The commands detailed in this section are used to shift which part of the current node is visible on the screen.

Scrolling commands are bound differently when ‘--vi-keys’ operation is in effect (see --vi-keys). These key bindings are designated with “vi-like operation”. See Custom Key Bindings, for information on arbitrarily customizing key bindings and variable settings.

SPC (scroll-forward)

Shift the text in this window up. That is, show more of the node which is currently below the bottom of the window. With a numeric argument, show that many more lines at the bottom of the window; a numeric argument of 4 would shift all of the text in the window up 4 lines (discarding the top 4 lines), and show you four new lines at the bottom of the window. Without a numeric argument, SPC takes the bottom two lines of the window and places them at the top of the window, redisplaying almost a completely new screenful of lines. If you are at the end of a node, SPC takes you to the “next” node, so that you can read an entire manual from start to finish by repeating SPC.

The default scroll size is one screen-full, but it can be changed by invoking the (scroll-forward-page-only-set-window) command, ‘z’ under ‘--vi-keys’, with a numeric argument.

NEXT (an arrow key) (scroll-forward-page-only)
C-v
C-f, vi-like operation
f, vi-like operation
M-SPC, vi-like operation

Shift the text in this window up. This is identical to the SPC operation above, except that it never scrolls beyond the end of the current node.

The NEXT key is known as the PageDown key on some keyboards.

z (scroll-forward-page-only-set-window, vi-like operation)

Scroll forward, like with NEXT, but if a numeric argument is specified, it becomes the default scroll size for subsequent scroll-forward and scroll-backward commands and their ilk.

DEL (scroll-backward)

Shift the text in this window down. The inverse of scroll-forward. If you are at the start of a node, DEL takes you to the “previous” node, so that you can read an entire manual from finish to start by repeating DEL. The default scroll size can be changed by invoking the (scroll-backward-page-only-set-window) command, ‘w’ under ‘--vi-keys’, with a numeric argument.

PREVIOUS (arrow key) (scroll-backward-page-only)
PRIOR (arrow key)
M-v
b, vi-like operation
C-b, vi-like operation

Shift the text in this window down. The inverse of scroll-forward-page-only. Does not scroll beyond the start of the current node. The default scroll size can be changed by invoking the(scroll-backward-page-only-set-window) command, ‘w’ under ‘--vi-keys’, with a numeric argument.

w (scroll-backward-page-only-set-window, vi-like operation)

Scroll backward, like with PREVIOUS, but if a numeric argument is specified, it becomes the default scroll size for subsequent scroll-forward and scroll-backward commands.

C-n (down-line, vi-like operation)
C-e, vi-like operation
RET, vi-like operation
LFD, vi-like operation
DOWN, vi-like operation

Scroll forward by one line. With a numeric argument, scroll forward that many lines.

C-p (up-line, vi-like operation)
UP, vi-like operation
y, vi-like operation
k, vi-like operation
C-k, vi-like operation
C-y, vi-like operation

Scroll backward one line. With a numeric argument, scroll backward that many lines.

d (scroll-half-screen-down, vi-like operation)
C-d, vi-like operation

Scroll forward by half of the screen size. With a numeric argument, scroll that many lines. If an argument is specified, it becomes the new default number of lines to scroll for subsequent ‘d’ and ‘u’ commands.

u (scroll-half-screen-up, vi-like operation)
C-u, vi-like operation

Scroll back by half of the screen size. With a numeric argument, scroll that many lines. If an argument is specified, it becomes the new default number of lines to scroll for subsequent ‘u’ and ‘d’ commands.

The scroll-forward and scroll-backward commands can also move forward and backward through the node structure of the file. If you press SPC while viewing the end of a node, or DEL while viewing the beginning of a node, what happens is controlled by the variable scroll-behavior (see scroll-behavior).

The scroll-forward-page-only and scroll-backward-page-only commands never scroll beyond the current node.

The PREVIOUS key is the PageUp key on many keyboards. Emacs refers to it by the name PRIOR. When you use PRIOR or PageUp to scroll, Info never scrolls beyond the beginning of the current node.

If your keyboard lacks the DEL key, look for a key called BS, or ‘Backspace’, sometimes designated with an arrow which points to the left, which should perform the same function.

C-l (redraw-display)

Redraw the display from scratch, or shift the line containing the cursor to a specified location. With no numeric argument, ‘C-l’ clears the screen, and then redraws its entire contents. Given a numeric argument of n, the line containing the cursor is shifted so that it is on the nth line of the window.

C-x w (toggle-wrap)

Toggles the state of line wrapping in the current window. Normally, lines which are longer than the screen width wrap, i.e., they are continued on the next line. Lines which wrap have a ‘\’ appearing in the rightmost column of the screen. You can cause such lines to be terminated at the rightmost column by changing the state of line wrapping in the window with C-x w. When a line which needs more space than one screen width to display is displayed, a ‘$’ appears in the rightmost column of the screen, and the remainder of the line is invisible. When long lines are truncated, the modeline displays the ‘$’ character near its left edge.


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5 Selecting a Node

This section details the numerous Info commands which select a new node to view in the current window.

The most basic node commands are ‘n’, ‘p’, ‘u’, and ‘l’. Note that the commands to select nodes are mapped differently when ‘--vi-keys’ is in effect; these keybindings are designated below as “vi-like operation”.

When you are viewing a node, the top line of the node contains some Info pointers which describe where the next, previous, and up nodes are. Info uses this line to move about the node structure of the file when you use the following commands:

n (next-node)
C-NEXT (on DOS/Windows only)
C-x n, vi-like operation

Select the ‘Next’ node.

The NEXT key is known as the PgDn key on some keyboards.

p (prev-node)
C-PREVIOUS (on DOS/Windows only)

Select the ‘Prev’ node.

The PREVIOUS key is known as the PgUp key on some keyboards.

u (up-node)
C-UP (an arrow key on DOS/Windows only)
C-x u, vi-like operation

Select the ‘Up’ node.

You can easily select a node that you have already viewed in this window by using the ‘l’ command—this name stands for “last”, and actually moves backwards through the history of visited nodes for this window. This is handy when you followed a reference to another node, possibly to read about a related issue, and would like then to resume reading at the same place where you started the excursion.

Each node where you press ‘l’ is discarded from the history. Thus, by the time you get to the first node you visited in a window, the entire history of that window is discarded.

l (history-node)
C-CENTER (on DOS/Windows only)
', vi-like operation

Pop the most recently selected node in this window from the node history.

Two additional commands make it easy to select the most commonly selected nodes; they are ‘t’ and ‘d’.

t (top-node)
M-t, vi-like operation

Select the node ‘Top’ in the current Info file.

d (dir-node)
M-d, vi-like operation

Select the directory node (i.e., the node ‘(dir)’).

Here are some other commands which immediately result in the selection of a different node in the current window:

< (first-node)
g, vi-like operation

Selects the first node which appears in this file. This node is most often ‘Top’, but it does not have to be. With a numeric argument N, select the Nth node (the first node is node 1). An argument of zero is the same as the argument of 1.

> (last-node)
G, vi-like operation

Select the last node which appears in this file. With a numeric argument N, select the Nth node (the first node is node 1). An argument of zero is the same as no argument, i.e., it selects the last node.

] (global-next-node)

Move forward or down through node structure. If the node that you are currently viewing has a ‘Next’ pointer, that node is selected. Otherwise, if this node has a menu, the first menu item is selected. If there is no ‘Next’ and no menu, the same process is tried with the ‘Up’ node of this node.

[ (global-prev-node)

Move backward or up through node structure. If the node that you are currently viewing has a ‘Prev’ pointer, that node is selected. Otherwise, if the node has an ‘Up’ pointer, that node is selected, and if it has a menu, the last item in the menu is selected.

You can get the same behavior as global-next-node and global-prev-node while simply scrolling through the file with SPC and DEL (see scroll-behavior).

g (goto-node)
C-x g, vi-like operation

Read the name of a node and select it. While reading the node name, completion (see completion) is only done for the nodes which reside in one of the Info files that were loaded in the current Info session; if the desired node resides in some other file, you must type the node exactly as it appears in that Info file, and you must include the Info file of the other file. For example,

g(emacs)Buffers

finds the node ‘Buffers’ in the Info file emacs.

O (goto-invocation
I

Read the name of a program and look for a node in the current Info file which describes the invocation and the command-line options for that program. The default program name is derived from the name of the current Info file. This command does the same as the ‘--show-options’ command-line option (see --show-options), but it also allows to specify the program name; this is important for those manuals which describe several programs.

If you need to find the Invocation node of a program that is documented in another Info file, you need to visit that file before invoking ‘I’. For example, if you are reading the Emacs manual and want to see the command-line options of the makeinfo program, type g (texinfo) RET and then I makeinfo RET. If you don’t know what Info file documents the command, or if invoking ‘I’ doesn’t display the right node, go to the ‘(dir)’ node (using the ‘d’ command) and invoke ‘I’ from there.

G (menu-sequence)

Read a sequence of menu entries and follow it. Info prompts for a sequence of menu items separated by commas. (Since commas are not allowed in a node name, they are a natural choice for a delimiter in a list of menu items.) Info then looks up the first item in the menu of the node ‘(dir)’ (if the ‘(dir)’ node cannot be found, Info uses ‘Top’). If such an entry is found, Info goes to the node it points to and looks up the second item in the menu of that node, etc. In other words, you can specify a complete path which descends through the menu hierarchy of a particular Info file starting at the ‘(dir)’ node. This has the same effect as if you typed the menu item sequence on Info’s command line, see Info command-line arguments processing. For example,

 G Texinfo,Overview,Reporting Bugs RET

displays the node ‘Reporting Bugs’ in the Texinfo manual. (You don’t actually need to type the menu items in their full length, or in their exact letter-case. However, if you do type the menu items exactly, Info will find it faster.)

If any of the menu items you type are not found, Info stops at the last entry it did find and reports an error.

C-x k (kill-node)

Kill a node. The node name is prompted for in the echo area, with a default of the current node. Killing a node means that Info tries hard to forget about it, removing it from the list of history nodes kept for the window where that node is found. Another node is selected in the window which contained the killed node.

C-x C-f (view-file)

Read the name of a file and selects the entire file. The command

C-x C-f filename

is equivalent to typing

g(filename)*
C-x C-b (list-visited-nodes)

Make a window containing a menu of all of the currently visited nodes. This window becomes the selected window, and you may use the standard Info commands within it.

C-x b (select-visited-node)

Select a node which has been previously visited in a visible window. This is similar to ‘C-x C-b’ followed by ‘m’, but no window is created.


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6 Searching an Info File

GNU Info allows you to search for a sequence of characters throughout an entire Info file, search through the indices of an Info file, or find areas within an Info file which discuss a particular topic.

s (search)
/

Read a string in the echo area and search for it, either as a regular expression (by default) or a literal string. If the string includes upper-case characters, the Info file is searched case-sensitively; otherwise Info ignores the letter case. With a numeric argument of N, search for Nth occurrence of the string. Negative arguments search backwards.

Normally, the search pattern should not be shorter than some predefined limit. By default, this limit is set to 1 character. See min-search-length, for more information on this.

? (search-backward, vi-like operation)

Read a string in the echo area and search backward through the Info file for that string. If the string includes upper-case characters, the Info file is searched case-sensitively; otherwise Info ignores the letter case. With a numeric argument of N, search for Nth occurrence of the string. Negative arguments search forward.

R (toggle-regexp)

Toggle between using regular expressions and literal strings for searching. Info uses so-called ‘extended’ regular expression syntax, similar to Emacs (see Using Regular Expressions in The GNU Emacs Manual).

S (search-case-sensitively

Read a string in the echo area and search for it case-sensitively, even if the string includes only lower-case letters. With a numeric argument of N, search for Nth occurrence of the string. Negative arguments search backwards.

C-x n (search-next)
}
n, vi-like operation

Search for the same string used in the last search command, in the same direction, and with the same case-sensitivity option. With a numeric argument of n, search for nth next occurrence.

By default, the search starts at the position immediately following the cursor. However, if the variable search-skip-screen (see search-skip-screen) is set, it starts at the beginning of the next page, thereby skipping all visibly displayed lines (but not any further lines in the current node).

C-x N (search-previous)
{
N, vi-like operation

Search for the same string used in the last search command, and with the same case-sensitivity option, but in the reverse direction. With a numeric argument of n, search for the nth previous occurrence.

By default, the search starts at the position immediately preceding the cursor, but skips visible lines if the variable search-skip-screen is set, as with } (see preceding item).

C-s (isearch-forward)

Interactively search forward through the Info file for a string as you type it. If the string includes upper-case characters, the search is case-sensitive; otherwise Info ignores the letter case.

C-r (isearch-backward)

Interactively search backward through the Info file for a string as you type it. If the string includes upper-case characters, the search is case-sensitive; otherwise Info ignores the letter case.

i (index-search)

Look up a string in the indices for this Info file, and select a node to which the found index entry points.

The search string should not be shorter than a predefined limit, set to 1 character by default (see min-search-length).

I (virtual-index)

Look up a string in the indices for this Info file, and show all the matches in a new virtual node, synthesized on the fly.

, (next-index-match)

Move to the node containing the next matching index item from the last ‘i’ command.

M-x index-apropos

Grovel the indices of all the known Info files on your system for a string, and build a menu of the possible matches.

The most basic searching command is ‘s’ or ‘/’ (search). The ‘s’ command prompts you for a string in the echo area, and then searches the remainder of the Info file for an occurrence of that string. If the string is found, the node containing it is selected, and the cursor is left positioned at the start of the found string. Subsequent ‘s’ commands show you the default search string within ‘[’ and ‘]’; pressing RET instead of typing a new string will use the default search string. Under ‘--vi-keys’ (see --vi-keys), using the ‘n’ or ‘N’ commands is a faster way of searching for the same string.

Incremental searching is similar to basic searching, but the string is looked up while you are typing it, instead of waiting until the entire search string has been specified.

Both incremental and non-incremental search by default ignore the case of letters when comparing the Info file text with the search string. However, an uppercase letter in the search string makes the search case-sensitive. You can force a case-sensitive non-incremental search, even for a string that includes only lower-case letters, by using the ‘S’ command (search-case-sensitively). The ‘n’ and ‘N’ commands operate case-sensitively if the last search command was ‘S’.

The most efficient means of finding something quickly in a manual is the ‘i’ command (index-search). This command prompts for a string, and then looks for that string in all the indices of the current Info manual. If it finds a matching index entry, it displays the node to which that entry refers and prints the full text of the entry in the echo area. You can press ‘,’ (next-index-match) to find more matches. A good Info manual has all of its important concepts indexed, so the ‘i’ command lets you use a manual as a reference.

If you don’t know what manual documents something, try the M-x index-apropos command. It prompts for a string and then looks up that string in all the indices of all the Info documents installed on your system. It can also be invoked from the command line; see --apropos.


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7 Selecting Cross References

We have already discussed the ‘Next’, ‘Prev’, and ‘Up’ pointers which appear at the top of a node. In addition to these pointers, a node may contain other pointers which refer you to a different node, perhaps in another Info file. Such pointers are called cross references, or xrefs for short.


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7.1 Parts of an Xref

Cross references have two major parts: the first part is called the label; it is the name that you can use to refer to the cross reference, and the second is the target; it is the full name of the node that the cross reference points to.

The target is separated from the label by a colon ‘:’; first the label appears, and then the target. For example, in the sample menu cross reference below, the single colon separates the label from the target.

* Foo Label: Foo Target.        More information about Foo.

Note the ‘.’ which ends the name of the target. The ‘.’ is not part of the target; it serves only to let Info know where the target name ends.

A shorthand way of specifying references allows two adjacent colons to stand for a target name which is the same as the label name:

* Foo Commands::                Commands pertaining to Foo.

In the above example, the name of the target is the same as the name of the label, in this case Foo Commands.

You will normally see two types of cross reference while viewing nodes: menu references, and note references. Menu references appear within a node’s menu; they begin with a ‘*’ at the beginning of a line, and continue with a label, a target, and a comment which describes what the contents of the node pointed to contains.

Note references appear within the body of the node text; they begin with *Note, and continue with a label and a target.

Like ‘Next’, ‘Prev’, and ‘Up’ pointers, cross references can point to any valid node. They are used to refer you to a place where more detailed information can be found on a particular subject. Here is a cross reference which points to a node within the Texinfo documentation: See Writing an Xref in the Texinfo Manual, for more information on creating your own texinfo cross references.


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7.2 Selecting Xrefs

The following table lists the Info commands which operate on menu items.

1 (menu-digit)
29
M-1, vi-like operation
M-2M-9, vi-like operation

Within an Info window, pressing a single digit, (such as ‘1’), selects that menu item, and places its node in the current window. For convenience, there is one exception; pressing ‘0’ selects the last item in the node’s menu. When ‘--vi-keys’ is in effect, digits set the numeric argument, so these commands are remapped to their ‘M-’ varieties. For example, to select the last menu item, press M-0.

0 (last-menu-item)
M-0, vi-like operation

Select the last item in the current node’s menu.

m (menu-item)

Reads the name of a menu item in the echo area and selects its node. Completion is available while reading the menu label. See completion.

M-x find-menu

Move the cursor to the start of this node’s menu.

This table lists the Info commands which operate on cross references.

f (xref-item)
r
M-f, vi-like operation
C-x r, vi-like operation

Reads the name of a note cross reference in the echo area and selects its node. Completion is available while reading the cross reference label. See completion.

Finally, the next few commands operate on menu or note references alike:

TAB (move-to-next-xref)

Move the cursor to the start of the next nearest menu item or note reference in this node. You can then use RET (select-reference-this-line) to select the menu or note reference.

M-TAB (move-to-prev-xref)
Shift-TAB (on DOS/Windows only)

Move the cursor the start of the nearest previous menu item or note reference in this node.

On DOS/Windows only, the Shift-TAB key is an alias for M-TAB. This key is sometimes called ‘BackTab’.

RET (select-reference-this-line)
M-g, vi-like operation

Select the menu item or note reference appearing on this line.


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8 Manipulating Multiple Windows

A window is a place to show the text of a node. Windows have a view area where the text of the node is displayed, and an associated mode line, which briefly describes the node being viewed.

GNU Info supports multiple windows appearing in a single screen; each window is separated from the next by its modeline. At any time, there is only one active window, that is, the window in which the cursor appears. There are commands available for creating windows, changing the size of windows, selecting which window is active, and for deleting windows.


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8.1 The Mode Line

A mode line is a line of inverse video which appears at the bottom of an Info window. It describes the contents of the window just above it; this information includes the name of the file and node appearing in that window, the number of screen lines it takes to display the node, and the percentage of text that is above the top of the window. It can also tell you if the indirect tags table for this Info file needs to be updated, and whether or not the Info file was compressed when stored on disk.

Here is a sample mode line for a window containing an uncompressed file named dir, showing the node ‘Top’.

-----Info: (dir)Top, 40 lines --Top-------------------------------------
            ^^   ^   ^^^        ^^
          (file)Node #lines    where

When a node comes from a file which is compressed on disk, this is indicated in the mode line with two small ‘z’’s. In addition, if the Info file containing the node has been split into subfiles, the name of the subfile containing the node appears in the modeline as well:

--zz-Info: (emacs)Top, 291 lines --Top-- Subfile: emacs-1.Z-------------

Truncation of long lines (as opposed to wrapping them to the next display line, see toggle-wrap) is indicated by a ‘$’ at the left edge of the mode line:

--$--Info: (texinfo)Top, 480 lines --Top-- Subfile: texinfo-1-----------

When Info makes a node internally, such that there is no corresponding info file on disk, the name of the node is surrounded by asterisks (‘*’). The name itself tells you what the contents of the window are; the sample mode line below shows an internally constructed node showing possible completions:

-----Info: *Completions*, 7 lines --All---------------------------------

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8.2 Window Commands

It can be convenient to view more than one node at a time. To allow this, Info can display more than one window. Each window has its own mode line (see The Mode Line) and history of nodes viewed in that window (see history-node).

C-x o (next-window)

Select the next window on the screen. Note that the echo area can only be selected if it is already in use, and you have left it temporarily. Normally, ‘C-x o’ simply moves the cursor into the next window on the screen, or if you are already within the last window, into the first window on the screen. Given a numeric argument, ‘C-x o’ moves over that many windows. A negative argument causes ‘C-x o’ to select the previous window on the screen.

M-x prev-window

Select the previous window on the screen. This is identical to ‘C-x o’ with a negative argument.

C-x 2 (split-window)

Split the current window into two windows, both showing the same node. Each window is one half the size of the original window, and the cursor remains in the original window. The variable automatic-tiling can cause all of the windows on the screen to be resized for you automatically (see automatic-tiling).

C-x 0 (delete-window)

Delete the current window from the screen. If you have made too many windows and your screen appears cluttered, this is the way to get rid of some of them.

C-x 1 (keep-one-window)

Delete all of the windows excepting the current one.

ESC C-v (scroll-other-window)

Scroll the other window, in the same fashion that ‘C-v’ might scroll the current window. Given a negative argument, scroll the “other” window backward.

C-x ^ (grow-window)

Grow (or shrink) the current window. Given a numeric argument, grow the current window that many lines; with a negative numeric argument, shrink the window instead.

C-x t (tile-windows)

Divide the available screen space among all of the visible windows. Each window is given an equal portion of the screen in which to display its contents. The variable automatic-tiling can cause tile-windows to be called when a window is created or deleted. See automatic-tiling.


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8.3 The Echo Area

The echo area is a one line window which appears at the bottom of the screen. It is used to display informative or error messages, and to read lines of input from you when that is necessary. Almost all of the commands available in the echo area are identical to their Emacs counterparts, so please refer to that documentation for greater depth of discussion on the concepts of editing a line of text. The following table briefly lists the commands that are available while input is being read in the echo area:

C-f (echo-area-forward)
RIGHT (an arrow key)
M-h, vi-like operation

Move forward a character.

C-b (echo-area-backward)
LEFT (an arrow key)
M-l, vi-like operation

Move backward a character.

C-a (echo-area-beg-of-line)
M-0, vi-like operation

Move to the start of the input line.

C-e (echo-area-end-of-line)
M-$, vi-like operation

Move to the end of the input line.

M-f (echo-area-forward-word)
C-RIGHT (DOS/Windows only)
M-w, vi-like operation

Move forward a word.

On DOS/Windows, C-RIGHT moves forward by words.

M-b (echo-area-backward-word)
C-LEFT (DOS/Windows only)

Move backward a word.

On DOS/Windows, C-LEFT moves backward by words.

C-d (echo-area-delete)
M-x, vi-like operation

Delete the character under the cursor.

DEL (echo-area-rubout)

Delete the character behind the cursor.

On some keyboards, this key is designated BS, for ‘Backspace’. Those keyboards will usually bind DEL in the echo area to echo-area-delete.

C-g (echo-area-abort)
C-u, vi-like operation

Cancel or quit the current operation. If completion is being read, this command discards the text of the input line which does not match any completion. If the input line is empty, it aborts the calling function.

RET (echo-area-newline)

Accept (or forces completion of) the current input line.

C-q (echo-area-quoted-insert)
C-v, vi-like operation

Insert the next character verbatim. This is how you can insert control characters into a search string, for example, or the ‘?’ character when Info prompts with completion.

printing character (echo-area-insert)

Insert the character. Characters that have their 8th bit set, and not bound to ‘M-’ commands, are also inserted verbatim; this is useful for terminals which support Latin scripts.

M-TAB (echo-area-tab-insert)
Shift-TAB (on DOS/Windows only)

Insert a TAB character.

On DOS/Windows only, the Shift-TAB key is an alias for M-TAB. This key is sometimes called ‘BackTab’.

C-t (echo-area-transpose-chars)

Transpose the characters at the cursor.

The next group of commands deal with killing, and yanking text. (Sometimes these operations are called cut and paste, respectively.) For an in-depth discussion, see Killing and Deleting in the GNU Emacs Manual.

M-d (echo-area-kill-word)
M-X, vi-like operation

Kill the word following the cursor.

M-DEL (echo-area-backward-kill-word)
M-BS

Kill the word preceding the cursor.

On some keyboards, the ‘Backspace’ key is used instead of DEL, so M-Backspace has the same effect as M-DEL.

C-k (echo-area-kill-line)

Kill the text from the cursor to the end of the line.

C-x DEL (echo-area-backward-kill-line)

Kill the text from the cursor to the beginning of the line.

C-y (echo-area-yank)

Yank back the contents of the last kill.

M-y (echo-area-yank-pop)

Yank back a previous kill, removing the last yanked text first.

Sometimes when reading input in the echo area, the command that needed input will only accept one of a list of several choices. The choices represent the possible completions, and you must respond with one of them. Since there are a limited number of responses you can make, Info allows you to abbreviate what you type, only typing as much of the response as is necessary to uniquely identify it. In addition, you can request Info to fill in as much of the response as is possible; this is called completion.

The following commands are available when completing in the echo area:

TAB (echo-area-complete)
SPC

Insert as much of a completion as is possible.

? (echo-area-possible-completions)

Display a window containing a list of the possible completions of what you have typed so far. For example, if the available choices are:

bar
foliate
food
forget

and you have typed an ‘f’, followed by ‘?’, Info will pop up a window showing a node called ‘*Completions*’ which lists the possible completions like this:

3 completions:
foliate         food
forget

i.e., all of the choices which begin with ‘f’. Pressing SPC or TAB would result in ‘fo’ appearing in the echo area, since all of the choices which begin with ‘f’ continue with ‘o’. Now, typing ‘l’ followed by ‘TAB’ results in ‘foliate’ appearing in the echo area, since that is the only choice which begins with ‘fol’.

ESC C-v (echo-area-scroll-completions-window)

Scroll the completions window, if that is visible, or the “other” window if not.


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9 Printing Nodes

In general, we recommend that you use TeX to format the document and print sections of it, by running tex on the Texinfo source file. However, you may wish to print out the contents of a node as a quick reference document for later use, or if you don’t have TeX installed. Info provides you with a command for doing this.

M-x print-node

Pipe the contents of the current node through the command in the environment variable INFO_PRINT_COMMAND. If the variable does not exist, the node is simply piped to lpr (on DOS/Windows, the default is to print the node to the local printer device, PRN).

The value of INFO_PRINT_COMMAND may begin with the ‘>’ character, as in ‘>/dev/printer’, in which case Info treats the rest as the name of a file or a device. Instead of piping to a command, Info opens the file, writes the node contents, and closes the file, under the assumption that text written to that file will be printed by the underlying OS.


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10 Miscellaneous Commands

GNU Info contains several commands which self-document GNU Info:

M-x describe-command

Read the name of an Info command in the echo area and then display a brief description of what that command does.

M-x describe-key

Read a key sequence in the echo area, and then display the name and documentation of the Info command that the key sequence invokes.

M-x describe-variable

Read the name of a variable in the echo area and then display a brief description of what the variable affects.

M-x where-is

Read the name of an Info command in the echo area, and then display a key sequence which can be typed in order to invoke that command.

C-h (get-help-window)
?
F1 (on DOS/Windows only)
h, vi-like operation

Create (or Move into) the window displaying *Help*, and place a node containing a quick reference card into it. This window displays the most concise information about GNU Info available.

h (get-info-help-node)
M-h, vi-like operation

Try hard to visit the node (info)Help. The Info file info.texi distributed with GNU Info contains this node. Of course, the file must first be processed with makeinfo, and then placed into the location of your Info directory.

= (display-file-info)

Show information about what’s currently being viewed in the echo area: the Info file name, and current line number and percentage within the current node.

Here are the commands for creating a numeric argument:

C-u (universal-argument)

Start (or multiply by 4) the current numeric argument. ‘C-u’ is a good way to give a small numeric argument to cursor movement or scrolling commands; ‘C-u C-v’ scrolls the screen 4 lines, while ‘C-u C-u C-n’ moves the cursor down 16 lines. ‘C-u’ followed by digit keys sets the numeric argument to the number thus typed: C-u 1 2 0 sets the argument to 120.

M-1 (add-digit-to-numeric-arg)
1, vi-like operation
M-2M-9
29, vi-like operation
M-0
0, vi-like operation

Add the digit value of the invoking key to the current numeric argument. Once Info is reading a numeric argument, you may just type the digits of the argument, without the Meta prefix. For example, you might give ‘C-l’ a numeric argument of 32 by typing:

C-u 3 2 C-l

or

M-3 2 C-l
M-- (add-digit-to-numeric-arg
-

To make a negative argument, type -. Typing - alone makes a negative argument with a value of -1. If you continue to type digit or Meta-digit keys after -, the result is a negative number produced by those digits.

- doesn’t work when you type in the echo area, because you need to be able to insert the ‘-’ character itself; use M-- instead, if you need to specify negative arguments in the echo area.

C-g (C-c in vi-like mode) is used to abort the reading of a multi-character key sequence, to cancel lengthy operations (such as multi-file searches) and to cancel reading input in the echo area.

C-g (abort-key)
C-c, vi-like operation

Cancel current operation.

The ‘q’ command of Info simply quits running Info. Under ‘--vi-keys’ (see --vi-keys), you can also exit with ‘:q’ or ‘ZZ’.

q (quit)
C-x C-c
:q, vi-like operation
ZZ, vi-like operation

Exit GNU Info.

If the operating system tells GNU Info that the screen is 60 lines tall, and it is actually only 40 lines tall, here is a way to tell Info that the operating system is correct.

M-x set-screen-height

Read a height value in the echo area and set the height of the displayed screen to that value.

On MS-DOS/MS-Windows, this command actually tries to change the dimensions of the visible screen to the value you type in the echo area.

Finally, Info provides a convenient way to display footnotes which might be associated with the current node that you are viewing:

ESC C-f (show-footnotes)

Show the footnotes (if any) associated with the current node in another window. You can have Info automatically display the footnotes associated with a node when the node is selected by setting the variable automatic-footnotes. See automatic-footnotes.


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11 Manipulating Variables

GNU Info uses several internal variables whose values are looked at by various Info commands. You can change the values of these variables, and thus change the behavior of Info, if desired.

There are three ways to set the value of a variable, listed here in order of precedence:

  1. interactively, using the set-variable command described below;
  2. on the command line, using the -v (--variable) command line option (see variable-assignment);
  3. in the #var section of the .infokey file (see Custom Key Bindings).
M-x set-variable

Read the name of a variable, and the value for it, in the echo area and then set the variable to that value. Completion is available when reading the variable name (see The Echo Area); completion is also available when reading the value when that makes sense.

M-x describe-variable

Read the name of a variable in the echo area and display its value and a brief description.

Here is a list of the variables that you can set in Info.

automatic-footnotes

When set to On, footnotes appear and disappear automatically; else, they appear at the bottom of the node text. This variable is Off by default. When a node is selected, a window containing the footnotes which appear in that node is created, and the footnotes are displayed within the new window. The window that Info creates to contain the footnotes is called *Footnotes*. If a node is selected which contains no footnotes, and a *Footnotes* window is on the screen, the *Footnotes* window is deleted. Footnote windows created in this fashion are not automatically tiled so that they can use as little of the display as is possible.

automatic-tiling

When set to On, creating or deleting a window resizes other windows. This variable is Off by default. Normally, typing ‘C-x 2’ divides the current window into two equal parts. When automatic-tiling is set to On, all of the windows are resized automatically, keeping an equal number of lines visible in each window. Any *Completions* and *Footnotes* windows are exceptions to the automatic tiling; they retain their original size.

cursor-movement-scrolls

By default, cursor movement commands stop when top or bottom of a node is reached (see Cursor Commands). When this variable is set to On, cursor movement commands become scrolling and their behavior is controlled by the scroll-behavior variable (see below).

errors-ring-bell

When set to On (the default), errors cause the bell to ring.

gc-compressed-files

When set to On, Info garbage collects files which had to be uncompressed. The default value of this variable is Off. Whenever a node is visited in Info, the Info file containing that node is read into memory, and Info reads information about the tags and nodes contained in that file. Once the tags information is read by Info, it is never forgotten. However, the actual text of the nodes does not need to be retained unless a particular Info window needs it. For non-compressed files, node text is not remembered when it is no longer in use. But de-compressing a file can be a time-consuming operation, and so Info tries hard not to do it twice. This variable tells Info it is okay to garbage collect the text of the nodes of a file which was compressed on disk.

ISO-Latin

When set to On, Info accepts and displays ISO Latin characters; the default is Off, i.e., an ASCII character set. ISO-Latin tells Info that it is running in an environment where the European standard character set is in use, and allows you to input such characters to Info, as well as display them.

min-search-length

Minimum length of a search string (default 1). Attempts to initiate a search for a string (or regular expression) shorter than this value, result in an error.

scroll-behavior
scroll-behaviour

Control what happens when forward scrolling is requested at the end of a node, or when backward scrolling is requested at the beginning of a node. The two variable names are synonyms. The default value for this variable is Continuous. Possible values:

Continuous

Try to get the first item in this node’s menu, or failing that, the ‘Next’ node, or failing that, the ‘Next’ of the ‘Up’ node. This behavior is identical to using the ‘]’ (global-next-node) and ‘[’ (global-prev-node) commands.

Next Only

Only try to get the ‘Next’ node.

Page Only

Just stop, changing nothing. With this value, no scrolling command can change the node that is being viewed.

This variable normally affects only scrolling commands. See cursor-movement-scrolls, for information on how to widen its scope to cursor movement commands.

scroll-last-node

Control what happens when a scrolling command is issued at the end of the last node. Possible values are:

Stop

Do not scroll. Display the ‘No more nodes within this document.’ message. This is the default.

Scroll

Scroll as usual. Since the last node is usually an index, this means that the very first node from the menu will be selected.

Top

Go to the top node of this document.

This variable is in effect only if scroll-behaviour is set to Continuous.

Notice that the default behavior has changed in version 4.12. Previous versions behaved as if scroll-last-node=Scroll was set. This behavior was counter-intuitive, therefore since version 4.12 the default is to stop at the last node.

scroll-step

The number of lines to scroll when the cursor moves out of the window. Scrolling happens automatically if the cursor has moved out of the visible portion of the node text when it is time to display. Usually the scrolling is done so as to put the cursor on the center line of the current window. However, if the variable scroll-step has a nonzero value, Info attempts to scroll the node text by that many lines; if that is enough to bring the cursor back into the window, that is what is done. The default value of this variable is 0, thus placing the cursor (and the text it is attached to) in the center of the window. Setting this variable to 1 causes a kind of “smooth scrolling” which some people prefer.

search-skip-screen

Set the starting point of repeated searches (see repeated-search). When set to Off (the default), repeated searches start at the position immediately following (when searching in forward direction), or immediately preceding (when searching backwards) the cursor. When set to On, repeated searches omit lines visibly displayed on the screen. In other words, forward searches (}) start at the beginning of the next page, and backward searches ({) start at the end of the previous page.

show-index-match

When set to On (the default), the portion of the matched search string that you typed is indicated (by displaying it in the “opposite” case) in the result message (see next-index-match).

visible-bell

When set to On, Info attempts to flash the screen instead of ringing the bell. This variable is Off by default. If the terminal does not allow flashing, this variable has no effect. (But you can still make Info perform quietly by setting the errors-ring-bell variable to Off; or using an external command to mute the bell, e.g., xset b 0 0 0.)


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12 Customizing Key Bindings and Variables

GNU Info provides a way to define arbitrary key-to-command bindings and variable settings, overriding the defaults described in this document. (The --vi-keys option rebinds many keys at once; see --vi-keys.)

On startup, GNU Info looks for a configuration file in the invoker’s HOME directory called .info. (Due to the limitations of DOS filesystems, the MS-DOS version of Info looks for a file _info instead. If the HOME variable is not defined, Info additionally looks in the current directory.) If it is present, and appears to contain Info configuration data, and was created with the current version of the infokey command, then Info adopts the key bindings and variable settings contained therein.

The .info file contains compact, non-textual data for reasons of efficiency and because its design was lifted wholesale from the GNU Less program, which also does it that way. It must be created by compiling a textual source file using the infokey command.


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12.1 Invoking infokey

By default, infokey reads a source file ($HOME/.infokey containing Info customizations. (This file is named _infokey in the MS-DOS version, and is looked for in the current directory if HOME is undefined.) It compiles this into a binary format, $HOME/.info by default. GNU Info reads the binary file at startup to override the default key bindings and variable definitions. Synopsis:

infokey [option…] [input-file]

Besides the standard --help and --version, the only option is --output file. This tells infokey to write the binary data to file instead of $HOME/.info.


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12.2 infokey source format

The format of the source file read by infokey is most easily illustrated by example. For instance, here is a sample .infokey source file suitable for aficionados of vi or less:

#info
j       next-line
k       prev-line
l       forward-char
h       backward-char
\kd     next-line
\ku     prev-line
\kr     forward-char
\kl     backward-char
\       scroll-forward
\kD     scroll-forward-page-only
b       scroll-backward
\kU     scroll-backward-page-only
g       beginning-of-node
\kh     beginning-of-node
G       end-of-node
\ke     end-of-node
\t      select-reference-this-line
-       history-node
n       next-node
p       prev-node
u       up-node
t       top-node
d       dir-node
#var
scroll-step=1

The source file consists of one or more sections. Each section starts with a line that identifies the type of section. Possible sections are:

#info

Key bindings for Info windows. The start of this section is indicated by a line containing just #info by itself. If this is the first section in the source file, the #info line can be omitted. The rest of this section consists of lines of the form:

string whitespace action [ whitespace [ # comment ] ] newline

Whitespace is any sequence of one or more spaces and/or tabs. Comment is any sequence of any characters, excluding newline. string is the key sequence which invokes the action. action is the name of an Info command. The characters in string are interpreted literally or prefixed by a caret (^) to indicate a control character. A backslash followed by certain characters specifies input keystrokes as follows:

\b

Backspace

\e

Escape (ESC)

\n

Newline

\r

Return

\t

Tab

\ku

Up arrow

\kd

Down arrow

\kl

Left arrow

\kr

Right arrow

\kU

Page Up

\kD

Page Down

\kh

HOME

\ke

END

\kx

Delete (DEL)

\mx

Meta-x where x is any character as described above.

Backslash followed by any other character indicates that character is to be taken literally. Characters which must be preceded by a backslash include caret, space, tab, and backslash itself.

#echo-area

Key bindings for the echo area. The start of this section is indicated by a line containing just #echo-area by itself. The rest of this section has a syntax identical to that for the key definitions for the Info area, described above.

#var

Variable initializations. The start of this section is indicated by a line containing just #var by itself. Following this line is a list of variable assignments, one per line. Each line consists of a variable name (see Variables) followed by = followed by a value. There may be no white space between the variable name and the =, and all characters following the =, including white space, are included in the value.

Blank lines and lines starting with # are ignored, except for the special section header lines.

Key bindings defined in the .info file take precedence over GNU Info’s default key bindings, whether or not ‘--vi-keys’ is used. A default key binding may be disabled by overriding it in the .info file with the action invalid. In addition, all default key bindings can be disabled by adding this line anywhere in the relevant section:

#stop

This will cause GNU Info to ignore all the default key commands for that section.

Beware: #stop can be dangerous. Since it disables all default key bindings, you must supply enough new key bindings to enable all necessary actions. Failure to bind any key to the quit command, for example, can lead to frustration.

The order in which key bindings are defined in the .info file is not important, except that the command summary produced by the get-help-window command only displays the first key that is bound to each command.


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Appendix A Index

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Index Entry  Section

'
', vi-like operation: Node Commands

*
*Footnotes* window: Variables

,
,: Searching Commands

-
-: Miscellaneous Commands
--all (-a) command line option: Invoking Info
--apropos (-k) command line option: Invoking Info
--debug (-x) command line option: Invoking Info
--directory (-d) command line option: Invoking Info
--dribble command line option: Invoking Info
--file (-f) command line option: Invoking Info
--help (-h) command line option: Invoking Info
--index-search command line option: Invoking Info
--node (-n) command line option: Invoking Info
--output (-o) command line option: Invoking Info
--raw-escapes (-R) command line option: Invoking Info
--restore command line option: Invoking Info
--show-malformed-multibytes command line option: Invoking Info
--show-options (--usage, -O) command line option: Invoking Info
--speech-friendly (-b) command line option: Invoking Info
--strict-node-location command line option: Invoking Info
--subnodes, command line option: Invoking Info
--variable (-v) command line option: Invoking Info
--version command line option: Invoking Info
--vi-keys command line option: Invoking Info
--where (--location, -w) command line option: Invoking Info

.
.infokey source format: infokey source format

/
/: Searching Commands

0
0 … 9, vi-like operation: Miscellaneous Commands
0, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs

1
1 … 9, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs
1 … 9, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs

<
<: Node Commands

=
=, in Info windows: Miscellaneous Commands

>
>: Node Commands

?
?, in Info windows: Miscellaneous Commands
?, in the echo area: The Echo Area
?, vi-like operation: Searching Commands

[
[: Node Commands

]
]: Node Commands

_
_info file (MS-DOS): Custom Key Bindings
_infokey file (MS-DOS): Invoking infokey

{
{: Searching Commands

}
}: Searching Commands

A
abort-key: Miscellaneous Commands
add-digit-to-numeric-arg: Miscellaneous Commands
ANSI escape sequences in documents: Invoking Info
Apropos, in Info files: Invoking Info
arguments, command line: Invoking Info
arguments, negative: Miscellaneous Commands
automatic-footnotes: Variables
automatic-tiling: Variables

B
b, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
b, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
BackTab, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs
BackTab, in the echo area: The Echo Area
backward-char: Cursor Commands
backward-word: Cursor Commands
beginning-of-line: Cursor Commands
beginning-of-node: Cursor Commands
BS (backspace): Scrolling Commands
bugs, reporting: Stand-alone Info

C
C-a, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
C-a, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-b, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
C-b, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-b, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-c, vi-like operation: Miscellaneous Commands
C-CENTER: Node Commands
C-d, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-d, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-e, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
C-e, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-e, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-End: Cursor Commands
C-f, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
C-f, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-f, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-g, in Info windows: Miscellaneous Commands
C-g, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-g, vi-like operation: Miscellaneous Commands
C-h: Miscellaneous Commands
C-Home: Cursor Commands
C-k, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-k, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-l: Scrolling Commands
C-LEFT: Cursor Commands
C-LEFT, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-n: Cursor Commands
C-n, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-NEXT: Node Commands
C-p: Cursor Commands
C-p, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-PgDn: Node Commands
C-PgUp: Node Commands
C-PREVIOUS: Node Commands
C-q, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-r: Searching Commands
C-RIGHT: Cursor Commands
C-RIGHT, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-s: Searching Commands
C-t, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-u: Miscellaneous Commands
C-u, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
C-u, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
C-UP: Node Commands
C-v: Scrolling Commands
C-v, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
C-w: Scrolling Commands
C-x 0: Basic Windows
C-x 1: Basic Windows
C-x 2: Basic Windows
C-x b: Node Commands
C-x C-b: Node Commands
C-x C-c: Miscellaneous Commands
C-x C-f: Node Commands
C-x DEL, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-x g, vi-like operation: Node Commands
C-x k: Node Commands
C-x n: Searching Commands
C-x N: Searching Commands
C-x n, vi-like operation: Node Commands
C-x o: Basic Windows
C-x r, vi-like operation: Selecting Xrefs
C-x t: Basic Windows
C-x u, vi-like operation: Node Commands
C-x ^: Basic Windows
C-y, in the echo area: The Echo Area
C-y, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
cancelling the current operation: Miscellaneous Commands
cancelling typeahead: Miscellaneous Commands
case-sensitive search: Searching Commands
case-sensitivity, and search: Searching Commands
colors in documents: Invoking Info
command line options: Invoking Info
command-line options, how to find: Invoking Info
commands, describing: Miscellaneous Commands
completion: The Echo Area
compressed Info files: Invoking Info
current file, information about: Miscellaneous Commands
cursor, moving: Cursor Commands
customizing key bindings: Custom Key Bindings

D
d: Node Commands
d, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
debugging: Invoking Info
default key bindings, overriding: Custom Key Bindings
DEL, in Info windows: Scrolling Commands
DEL, in the echo area: The Echo Area
delete-window: Basic Windows
describe-command: Miscellaneous Commands
describe-key: Miscellaneous Commands
describe-variable: Variables
dir-node: Node Commands
directory path: Invoking Info
display-file-info: Miscellaneous Commands
DOWN (an arrow key): Cursor Commands
DOWN, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
down-line: Scrolling Commands

E
e, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
echo area: The Echo Area
echo-area-abort: The Echo Area
echo-area-backward: The Echo Area
echo-area-backward-kill-line: The Echo Area
echo-area-backward-kill-word: The Echo Area
echo-area-backward-word: The Echo Area
echo-area-beg-of-line: The Echo Area
echo-area-complete: The Echo Area
echo-area-delete: The Echo Area
echo-area-end-of-line: The Echo Area
echo-area-forward: The Echo Area
echo-area-forward-word: The Echo Area
echo-area-insert: The Echo Area
echo-area-kill-line: The Echo Area
echo-area-kill-word: The Echo Area
echo-area-newline: The Echo Area
echo-area-possible-completions: The Echo Area
echo-area-quoted-insert: The Echo Area
echo-area-rubout: The Echo Area
echo-area-scroll-completions-window: The Echo Area
echo-area-tab-insert: The Echo Area
echo-area-transpose-chars: The Echo Area
echo-area-yank: The Echo Area
echo-area-yank-pop: The Echo Area
Emacs Info reader: Stand-alone Info
End: Cursor Commands
end-of-line: Cursor Commands
end-of-node: Cursor Commands
errors-ring-bell: Variables
ESC C-f: Miscellaneous Commands
ESC C-v, in Info windows: Basic Windows
ESC C-v, in the echo area: The Echo Area

F
f: Selecting Xrefs
f, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
F1: Miscellaneous Commands
file names, relative: Invoking Info
file, outputting to: Invoking Info
files, compressed: Invoking Info
find-menu: Selecting Xrefs
finding the Invocation node: Node Commands
first-node: Node Commands
footnotes window: Variables
footnotes, displaying: Miscellaneous Commands
format of .infokey source: infokey source format
forward-char: Cursor Commands
forward-word: Cursor Commands
functions, describing: Miscellaneous Commands

G
g: Node Commands
G: Node Commands
g, vi-like operation: Node Commands
G, vi-like operation: Node Commands
gc-compressed-files: Variables
get-help-window: Miscellaneous Commands
get-info-help-node: Miscellaneous Commands
global-next-node: Node Commands
global-prev-node: Node Commands
goto-invocation: Node Commands
goto-node: Node Commands
grow-window: Basic Windows

H
h: Miscellaneous Commands
h, vi-like operation: Miscellaneous Commands
history-node: Node Commands
Home: Cursor Commands

I
I: Node Commands
i: Searching Commands
I: Searching Commands
incremental search: Searching Commands
index search, selecting from the command line: Invoking Info
index, searching: Searching Commands
index, virtual: Searching Commands
index-apropos: Searching Commands
index-search: Searching Commands
Info files, compressed: Invoking Info
Info files, reading in Emacs: Stand-alone Info
Info files, relative: Invoking Info
Info files, searching all indices: Invoking Info
Info manual location: Invoking Info
Info manual, specifying initial: Invoking Info
Info, invoking: Invoking Info
infodebug output file: Invoking Info
infokey source format: infokey source format
infokey, invoking: Invoking infokey
infokey, program for customizing key bindings: Custom Key Bindings
INFO_PRINT_COMMAND, environment variable: Printing Nodes
initial node, specifying: Invoking Info
invocation description, how to find: Invoking Info
invoking Info: Invoking Info
invoking infokey: Invoking infokey
isearch-backward: Searching Commands
isearch-forward: Searching Commands
ISO Latin characters: Variables
ISO-Latin: Variables

K
k, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
keep-one-window: Basic Windows
key bindings, customizing: Custom Key Bindings
keys, describing: Miscellaneous Commands
keystrokes, recording: Invoking Info
kill-node: Node Commands

L
l: Node Commands
last-menu-item: Selecting Xrefs
last-node: Node Commands
LEFT (an arrow key): Cursor Commands
LEFT, in the echo area: The Echo Area
Less-like key bindings: Invoking Info
LFD, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
list-visited-nodes: Node Commands
local printer device: Printing Nodes

M
m: Selecting Xrefs
M-$, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M--: Miscellaneous Commands
M-0 … M-9: Miscellaneous Commands
M-0, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M-0, vi-like operation: Selecting Xrefs
M-1 … M-9, vi-like operation: Selecting Xrefs
M-1 … M-9, vi-like operation: Selecting Xrefs
M-<: Cursor Commands
M->: Cursor Commands
M-b, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
M-b, in the echo area: The Echo Area
M-b, vi-like operation: Cursor Commands
M-BS, in the echo area: The Echo Area
M-d, in the echo area: The Echo Area
M-d, vi-like operation: Node Commands
M-DEL, in the echo area: The Echo Area
M-f, in Info windows: Cursor Commands
M-f, in the echo area: The Echo Area
M-f, vi-like operation: Selecting Xrefs
M-g, vi-like operation: Selecting Xrefs
M-h, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M-h, vi-like operation: Miscellaneous Commands
M-l, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M-r: Cursor Commands
M-SPC, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
M-t, vi-like operation: Node Commands
M-TAB, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs
M-TAB, in the echo area: The Echo Area
M-v: Scrolling Commands
M-w, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M-x, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M-X, in the echo area, vi-like operation: The Echo Area
M-y, in the echo area: The Echo Area
malformed multibyte sequences, showing: Invoking Info
menu, following: Invoking Info
menu, following, from inside Info: Node Commands
menu-digit: Selecting Xrefs
menu-item: Selecting Xrefs
menu-sequence: Node Commands
move-to-next-xref: Selecting Xrefs
move-to-prev-xref: Selecting Xrefs
move-to-window-line: Cursor Commands
moving the cursor: Cursor Commands

N
n: Node Commands
n, vi-like operation: Searching Commands
n, vi-like operation: Searching Commands
negative arguments: Miscellaneous Commands
NEXT: Scrolling Commands
next-index-match: Searching Commands
next-line: Cursor Commands
next-node: Node Commands
next-window: Basic Windows
node, selecting from the command line: Invoking Info
nodes, selection of: Node Commands
numeric arguments: Miscellaneous Commands
numeric arguments, negative: Miscellaneous Commands

O
O: Node Commands
online help, using Info as: Invoking Info
options, command line: Invoking Info
outputting to a file: Invoking Info
overriding default key bindings: Custom Key Bindings

P
p: Node Commands
PageDown: Scrolling Commands
PageUp: Scrolling Commands
prev-line: Cursor Commands
prev-node: Node Commands
prev-window: Basic Windows
PREVIOUS: Scrolling Commands
print-node: Printing Nodes
printing: Printing Nodes
printing characters, in the echo area: The Echo Area
printing nodes to the local printer: Printing Nodes

Q
q: Miscellaneous Commands
quit: Miscellaneous Commands
quitting: Miscellaneous Commands

R
R: Searching Commands
r: Selecting Xrefs
redraw-display: Scrolling Commands
regular expression search: Searching Commands
relative Info file names: Invoking Info
remembering user keystrokes: Invoking Info
repeated search: Searching Commands
replaying recorded keystrokes: Invoking Info
RET, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs
RET, in the echo area: The Echo Area
RET, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
RIGHT (an arrow key): Cursor Commands
RIGHT, in the echo area: The Echo Area

S
s: Searching Commands
S: Searching Commands
screen, changing the height of: Miscellaneous Commands
scroll-backward: Scrolling Commands
scroll-backward-page-only: Scrolling Commands
scroll-backward-page-only-set-window: Scrolling Commands
scroll-behavior: Variables
scroll-behaviour: Variables
scroll-forward: Scrolling Commands
scroll-forward-page-only: Scrolling Commands
scroll-forward-page-only-set-window: Scrolling Commands
scroll-half-screen-down: Scrolling Commands
scroll-half-screen-up: Scrolling Commands
scroll-last-node: Variables
scroll-other-window: Basic Windows
scroll-step: Variables
scrolling: Scrolling Commands
scrolling through node structure: Scrolling Commands
search: Searching Commands
search, and case-sensitivity: Searching Commands
search, case-sensitive: Searching Commands
search-backward: Searching Commands
search-case-sensitively: Searching Commands
search-next: Searching Commands
search-previous: Searching Commands
search-skip-screen: Variables
searching: Searching Commands
Searching all indices: Invoking Info
searching, in the indices: Searching Commands
select-reference-this-line: Selecting Xrefs
select-visited-node: Node Commands
set-screen-height: Miscellaneous Commands
set-variable: Variables
Shift-TAB, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs
Shift-TAB, in the echo area: The Echo Area
Shift-TAB, in the echo area: The Echo Area
show-footnotes: Miscellaneous Commands
show-index-match: Variables
SPC, in Info windows: Scrolling Commands
SPC, in the echo area: The Echo Area
speech synthesizers: Invoking Info
split-window: Basic Windows
startup node, specifying: Invoking Info

T
t: Node Commands
TAB, in Info windows: Selecting Xrefs
TAB, in the echo area: The Echo Area
tile-windows: Basic Windows
tiling: Basic Windows
toggle-regexp: Searching Commands
toggle-wrap: Scrolling Commands
top-node: Node Commands

U
u: Node Commands
u, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
universal-argument: Miscellaneous Commands
UP (an arrow key): Cursor Commands
UP, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
up-line: Scrolling Commands
up-node: Node Commands

V
variable assignment: Invoking Info
variables, describing: Variables
variables, setting: Variables
version information: Invoking Info
vi-like key bindings: Invoking Info
view-file: Node Commands
virtual-index: Searching Commands
visible-bell: Variables

W
w, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
Where is an Info manual?: Invoking Info
where-is: Miscellaneous Commands
windows, creating: Basic Windows
windows, deleting: Basic Windows
windows, manipulating: Window Commands
windows, selecting: Basic Windows

X
xref-item: Selecting Xrefs

Y
y, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands

Z
z, vi-like operation: Scrolling Commands
ZZ, vi-like operation: Miscellaneous Commands

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Footnotes

(1)

Here’s a short summary. C-x means press the CTRL key and the key x. M-x means press the META key and the key x. On many terminals th META key is known as the ALT key. SPC is the space bar. The other keys are usually called by the names imprinted on them.

(2)

M-x is also a command; it invokes execute-extended-command, letting you run a command by name. See Executing an extended command in The GNU Emacs Manual, for more detailed information.