custom.texi   [plain text]

@c This is part of the Emacs manual.
@c Copyright (C) 1985, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001,
@c   2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
@c See file emacs.texi for copying conditions.
@node Customization, Quitting, Amusements, Top
@chapter Customization
@cindex customization

  This chapter talks about various topics relevant to adapting the
behavior of Emacs in ways we have anticipated.
See @cite{The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual}
@end iftex
@xref{Top, Emacs Lisp, Emacs Lisp, elisp, The Emacs Lisp
Reference Manual},
@end ifnottex
for how to make more far-reaching and open-ended changes.  @xref{X
Resources}, for information on using X resources to customize Emacs.

  Customization that you do within Emacs normally affects only the
particular Emacs session that you do it in---it does not persist
between sessions unless you save the customization in a file such as
your init file (@file{.emacs}) that will affect future sessions.
(@xref{Init File}.)  When you tell the customization buffer to save
customizations for future sessions, this actually works by editing
@file{.emacs} for you.

  Another means of customization is the keyboard macro, which is a
sequence of keystrokes to be replayed with a single command.
@xref{Keyboard Macros}, for full instruction how to record, manage, and
replay sequences of keys.

* Minor Modes::		Each minor mode is one feature you can turn on
			  independently of any others.
* Easy Customization::  Convenient way to browse and change settings.
* Variables::		Many Emacs commands examine Emacs variables
			  to decide what to do; by setting variables,
			  you can control their functioning.
* Key Bindings::	The keymaps say what command each key runs.
			  By changing them, you can "redefine keys".
* Syntax::		The syntax table controls how words and
			  expressions are parsed.
* Init File::		How to write common customizations in the
			  @file{.emacs} file.
@end menu

@node Minor Modes
@section Minor Modes
@cindex minor modes
@cindex mode, minor

  Minor modes are optional features which you can turn on or off.  For
example, Auto Fill mode is a minor mode in which @key{SPC} breaks lines
between words as you type.  All the minor modes are independent of each
other and of the selected major mode.  Most minor modes say in the mode
line when they are enabled; for example, @samp{Fill} in the mode line means
that Auto Fill mode is enabled.

  You should append @code{-mode} to the name of a minor mode to
produce the name of the command that turns the mode on or off.  Thus,
the command to enable or disable Auto Fill mode is called
@code{auto-fill-mode}.  These commands are usually invoked with
@kbd{M-x}, but you can bind keys to them if you wish.

  With no argument, the minor mode function turns the mode on if it
was off, and off if it was on.  This is known as @dfn{toggling}.  A
positive argument always turns the mode on, and an explicit zero
argument or a negative argument always turns it off.

  Some minor modes are global: while enabled, they affect everything
you do in the Emacs session, in all buffers.  Other minor modes are
buffer-local; they apply only to the current buffer, so you can enable
the mode in certain buffers and not others.

  For most minor modes, the command name is also the name of a
variable.  The variable's value is non-@code{nil} if the mode is
enabled and @code{nil} if it is disabled.  Some minor-mode commands
work by just setting the variable.  For example, the command
@code{abbrev-mode} works by setting the value of @code{abbrev-mode} as
a variable; it is this variable that directly turns Abbrev mode on and
off.  You can directly set the variable's value instead of calling the
mode function.  For other minor modes, you need to either set the
variable through the Customize interface or call the mode function to
correctly enable or disable the mode.  To check which of these two
possibilities applies to a given minor mode, use @kbd{C-h v} to ask
for documentation on the variable name.

  For minor mode commands that work by just setting the minor mode
variable, that variable provides a good way for Lisp programs to turn
minor modes on and off; it is also useful in a file's local variables
list (@pxref{File Variables}).  But please think twice before setting
minor modes with a local variables list, because most minor modes are
a matter of user preference---other users editing the same file might
not want the same minor modes you prefer.

  The most useful buffer-local minor modes include Abbrev mode, Auto
Fill mode, Auto Save mode, Font-Lock mode, Glasses mode, Outline minor
mode, Overwrite mode, and Binary Overwrite mode.

  Abbrev mode allows you to define abbreviations that automatically expand
as you type them.  For example, @samp{amd} might expand to @samp{abbrev
mode}.  @xref{Abbrevs}, for full information.

  Auto Fill mode allows you to enter filled text without breaking lines
explicitly.  Emacs inserts newlines as necessary to prevent lines from
becoming too long.  @xref{Filling}.

  Auto Save mode saves the buffer contents periodically to reduce the
amount of work you can lose in case of a crash.  @xref{Auto Save}.

  Enriched mode enables editing and saving of formatted text.
@xref{Formatted Text}.

  Flyspell mode automatically highlights misspelled words.

  Font-Lock mode automatically highlights certain textual units found
in programs, such as comments, strings, and function names being
defined.  This requires a display that can show multiple fonts or
colors.  @xref{Faces}.

  ISO Accents mode makes the characters @samp{`}, @samp{'}, @samp{"},
@samp{^}, @samp{/} and @samp{~} combine with the following letter, to
produce an accented letter in the ISO Latin-1 character set.  The
newer and more general feature of input methods more or less
supersedes ISO Accents mode.  @xref{Unibyte Mode}.
@end ignore

  Outline minor mode provides the same facilities as the major mode
called Outline mode; but since it is a minor mode instead, you can
combine it with any major mode.  @xref{Outline Mode}.

@cindex Overwrite mode
@cindex mode, Overwrite
  Overwrite mode causes ordinary printing characters to replace existing
text instead of shoving it to the right.  For example, if point is in
front of the @samp{B} in @samp{FOOBAR}, then in Overwrite mode typing a
@kbd{G} changes it to @samp{FOOGAR}, instead of producing @samp{FOOGBAR}
as usual.  In Overwrite mode, the command @kbd{C-q} inserts the next
character whatever it may be, even if it is a digit---this gives you a
way to insert a character instead of replacing an existing character.

@findex overwrite-mode
@kindex INSERT
  The command @code{overwrite-mode} is an exception to the rule that
commands which toggle minor modes are normally not bound to keys: it is
bound to the @key{INSERT} function key.  This is because many other
programs bind @key{INSERT} to similar functions.

@findex binary-overwrite-mode
  Binary Overwrite mode is a variant of Overwrite mode for editing
binary files; it treats newlines and tabs like other characters, so that
they overwrite other characters and can be overwritten by them.
In Binary Overwrite mode, digits after @kbd{C-q} specify an
octal character code, as usual.

  Here are some useful minor modes that normally apply to all buffers
at once.  Since Line Number mode and Transient Mark mode can be
enabled or disabled just by setting the value of the minor mode
variable, you @emph{can} set them differently for particular buffers,
by explicitly making the corresponding variable local in those
buffers.  @xref{Locals}.

  Icomplete mode displays an indication of available completions when
you are in the minibuffer and completion is active.  @xref{Completion

  Line Number mode enables continuous display in the mode line of the
line number of point, and Column Number mode enables display of the
column number.  @xref{Mode Line}.

  Scroll Bar mode gives each window a scroll bar (@pxref{Scroll Bars}).
Menu Bar mode gives each frame a menu bar (@pxref{Menu Bars}).  Both of
these modes are enabled by default when you use the X Window System.

  In Transient Mark mode, every change in the buffer contents
``deactivates'' the mark, so that commands that operate on the region
will get an error.  This means you must either set the mark, or
explicitly ``reactivate'' it, before each command that uses the region.
The advantage of Transient Mark mode is that Emacs can display the
region highlighted.  @xref{Mark}.

@node Easy Customization
@section Easy Customization Interface

@cindex settings
  Emacs has many @dfn{settings} which have values that you can specify
in order to customize various commands.  Many are documented in this
manual.  Most settings are @dfn{user options}---that is to say, Lisp
variables (@pxref{Variables})---so their names appear in the Variable
Index (@pxref{Variable Index}).  The other settings are faces and
their attributes (@pxref{Faces}).

@findex customize
@cindex customization buffer
  You can browse interactively through settings and change them using
@kbd{M-x customize}.  This command creates a @dfn{customization
buffer}, which offers commands to navigate through a logically
organized structure of the Emacs settings; you can also use it to edit
and set their values, and to save settings permanently in your
@file{~/.emacs} file (@pxref{Init File}).

  The appearance of the example buffers in this section is typically
different under a graphical display, since faces are then used to indicate
buttons, links and editable fields.

* Groups: Customization Groups.   How settings are classified in a structure.
* Browsing: Browsing Custom.   Browsing and searching for settings.
* Changing a Variable::      How to edit an option's value and set the option.
* Saving Customizations::    Specifying the file for saving customizations.
* Face Customization::       How to edit the attributes of a face.
* Specific Customization::   Making a customization buffer for specific
                                variables, faces, or groups.
* Custom Themes::            How to define collections of customized options
                                that can be loaded and unloaded together.
@end menu

@node Customization Groups
@subsection Customization Groups
@cindex customization groups

  For customization purposes, settings are organized into @dfn{groups}
to help you find them.  Groups are collected into bigger groups, all
the way up to a master group called @code{Emacs}.

  @kbd{M-x customize} creates a customization buffer that shows the
top-level @code{Emacs} group and the second-level groups immediately
under it.  It looks like this, in part:

@c we want the buffer example to all be on one page, but unfortunately
@c that's quite a bit of text, so force all space to the bottom.
/- Emacs group: ---------------------------------------------------\
      [State]: visible group members are all at standard values.
   Customization of the One True Editor.
   See also [Manual].

Editing group: [Go to Group]
Basic text editing facilities.

External group: [Go to Group]
Interfacing to external utilities.

@var{more second-level groups}

\- Emacs group end ------------------------------------------------/
@end group
@end smallexample

This says that the buffer displays the contents of the @code{Emacs}
group.  The other groups are listed because they are its contents.  But
they are listed differently, without indentation and dashes, because
@emph{their} contents are not included.  Each group has a single-line
documentation string; the @code{Emacs} group also has a @samp{[State]}

@cindex editable fields (customization buffer)
@cindex buttons (customization buffer)
@cindex links (customization buffer)
  Most of the text in the customization buffer is read-only, but it
typically includes some @dfn{editable fields} that you can edit.
There are also @dfn{buttons} and @dfn{links}, which do something when
you @dfn{invoke} them.  To invoke a button or a link, either click on
it with @kbd{Mouse-1}, or move point to it and type @key{RET}.

  For example, the phrase @samp{[State]} that appears in
a second-level group is a button.  It operates on the same
customization buffer.  The phrase @samp{[Go to Group]} is a kind
of hypertext link to another group.  Invoking it creates a new
customization buffer, which shows that group and its contents.

  The @code{Emacs} group includes a few settings, but mainly it
contains other groups, which contain more groups, which contain the
settings.  By browsing the hierarchy of groups, you will eventually
find the feature you are interested in customizing.  Then you can use
the customization buffer to set that feature's settings.  You can also
go straight to a particular group by name, using the command @kbd{M-x

@node Browsing Custom
@subsection Browsing and Searching for Options and Faces
@findex customize-browse

  @kbd{M-x customize-browse} is another way to browse the available
settings.  This command creates a special customization buffer which
shows only the names of groups and settings, and puts them in a

  In this buffer, you can show the contents of a group by invoking the
@samp{[+]} button.  When the group contents are visible, this button
changes to @samp{[-]}; invoking that hides the group contents again.

  Each group or setting in this buffer has a link which says
@samp{[Group]}, @samp{[Option]} or @samp{[Face]}.  Invoking this link
creates an ordinary customization buffer showing just that group and
its contents, just that user option, or just that face.  This is the
way to change settings that you find with @kbd{M-x customize-browse}.

  If you can guess part of the name of the settings you are interested
in, @kbd{M-x customize-apropos} is another way to search for settings.
However, unlike @code{customize} and @code{customize-browse},
@code{customize-apropos} can only find groups and settings that are
loaded in the current Emacs session.  @xref{Specific Customization,,
Customizing Specific Items}.

@node Changing a Variable
@subsection Changing a Variable

  Here is an example of what a variable (a user option) looks like in
the customization buffer:

Kill Ring Max: [Hide Value] 60
   [State]: STANDARD.
Maximum length of kill ring before oldest elements are thrown away.
@end smallexample

  The text following @samp{[Hide Value]}, @samp{60} in this case, indicates
the current value of the variable.  If you see @samp{[Show Value]} instead of
@samp{[Hide Value]}, it means that the value is hidden; the customization
buffer initially hides values that take up several lines.  Invoke
@samp{[Show Value]} to show the value.

  The line after the variable name indicates the @dfn{customization
state} of the variable: in the example above, it says you have not
changed the option yet.  The @samp{[State]} button at the beginning of
this line gives you a menu of various operations for customizing the

  The line after the @samp{[State]} line displays the beginning of the
variable's documentation string.  If there are more lines of
documentation, this line ends with a @samp{[More]} button; invoke that
to show the full documentation string.

  To enter a new value for @samp{Kill Ring Max}, move point to the
value and edit it textually.  For example, you can type @kbd{M-d},
then insert another number.  As you begin to alter the text, you will
see the @samp{[State]} line change to say that you have edited the

[State]: EDITED, shown value does not take effect until you set or @r{@dots{}}
                                                           save it.
@end smallexample

@cindex user options, how to set
@cindex variables, how to set
@cindex settings, how to set
  Editing the value does not actually set the variable.  To do that,
you must @dfn{set} the variable.  To do this, invoke the
@samp{[State]} button and choose @samp{Set for Current Session}.

  The state of the variable changes visibly when you set it:

[State]: SET for current session only.
@end smallexample

   You don't have to worry about specifying a value that is not valid;
the @samp{Set for Current Session} operation checks for validity and
will not install an unacceptable value.

@kindex M-TAB @r{(customization buffer)}
@findex widget-complete
  While editing a field that is a file name, directory name,
command name, or anything else for which completion is defined, you
can type @kbd{M-@key{TAB}} (@code{widget-complete}) to do completion.
(@kbd{@key{ESC} @key{TAB}} and @kbd{C-M-i} do the same thing.)

  Some variables have a small fixed set of possible legitimate values.
These variables don't let you edit the value textually.  Instead, a
@samp{[Value Menu]} button appears before the value; invoke this
button to change the value.  For a boolean ``on or off'' value, the
button says @samp{[Toggle]}, and it changes to the other value.
@samp{[Value Menu]} and @samp{[Toggle]} simply edit the buffer; the
changes take real effect when you use the @samp{Set for Current
Session} operation.

  Some variables have values with complex structure.  For example, the
value of @code{file-coding-system-alist} is an association list.  Here
is how it appears in the customization buffer:

File Coding System Alist: [Hide Value]
[INS] [DEL] File regexp: \.elc\'
            Choice: [Value Menu] Encoding/decoding pair:
            Decoding: emacs-mule
            Encoding: emacs-mule
[INS] [DEL] File regexp: \(\`\|/\)loaddefs.el\'
            Choice: [Value Menu] Encoding/decoding pair:
            Decoding: raw-text
            Encoding: raw-text-unix
[INS] [DEL] File regexp: \.tar\'
            Choice: [Value Menu] Encoding/decoding pair:
            Decoding: no-conversion
            Encoding: no-conversion
[INS] [DEL] File regexp:
            Choice: [Value Menu] Encoding/decoding pair:
            Decoding: undecided
            Encoding: nil
   [State]: STANDARD.
Alist to decide a coding system to use for a file I/O @r{@dots{}}
                                operation. [Hide Rest]
The format is ((PATTERN . VAL) ...),
where PATTERN is a regular expression matching a file name,
@r{[@dots{}more lines of documentation@dots{}]}
@end smallexample

Each association in the list appears on four lines, with several
editable fields and/or buttons.  You can edit the regexps and coding
systems using ordinary editing commands.  You can also invoke
@samp{[Value Menu]} to switch to a different kind of value---for
instance, to specify a function instead of a pair of coding systems.

To delete an association from the list, invoke the @samp{[DEL]} button
for that item.  To add an association, invoke @samp{[INS]} at the
position where you want to add it.  There is an @samp{[INS]} button
between each pair of associations, another at the beginning and another
at the end, so you can add a new association at any position in the

@kindex TAB @r{(customization buffer)}
@kindex S-TAB @r{(customization buffer)}
@findex widget-forward
@findex widget-backward
  Two special commands, @key{TAB} and @kbd{S-@key{TAB}}, are useful
for moving through the customization buffer.  @key{TAB}
(@code{widget-forward}) moves forward to the next button or editable
field; @kbd{S-@key{TAB}} (@code{widget-backward}) moves backward to
the previous button or editable field.

  Typing @key{RET} on an editable field also moves forward, just like
@key{TAB}.  We set it up this way because people often type @key{RET}
when they are finished editing a field.  To insert a newline within an
editable field, use @kbd{C-o} or @kbd{C-q C-j}.

@cindex saving a setting
@cindex settings, how to save
  Setting the variable changes its value in the current Emacs session;
@dfn{saving} the value changes it for future sessions as well.  To
save the variable, invoke @samp{[State]} and select the @samp{Save for
Future Sessions} operation.  This works by writing code so as to set
the variable again, each time you start Emacs (@pxref{Saving

  You can also restore the variable to its standard value by invoking
@samp{[State]} and selecting the @samp{Erase Customization} operation.
There are actually four reset operations:

@table @samp
@item Undo Edits
If you have made some modifications and not yet set the variable,
this restores the text in the customization buffer to match
the actual value.

@item Reset to Saved
This restores the value of the variable to the last saved value,
and updates the text accordingly.

@item Erase Customization
This sets the variable to its standard value, and updates the text
accordingly.  This also eliminates any saved value for the variable,
so that you will get the standard value in future Emacs sessions.

@item Set to Backup Value
This sets the variable to a previous value that was set in the
customization buffer in this session.  If you customize a variable
and then reset it, which discards the customized value,
you can get the discarded value back again with this operation.
@end table

@cindex comments on customized settings
  Sometimes it is useful to record a comment about a specific
customization.  Use the @samp{Add Comment} item from the
@samp{[State]} menu to create a field for entering the comment.  The
comment you enter will be saved, and displayed again if you again view
the same variable in a customization buffer, even in another session.

  The state of a group indicates whether anything in that group has been
edited, set or saved.

  Near the top of the customization buffer there are two lines of buttons:

 [Set for Current Session] [Save for Future Sessions]
 [Undo Edits] [Reset to Saved] [Erase Customization]   [Finish]
@end smallexample

@vindex custom-buffer-done-function
Invoking @samp{[Finish]} either buries or kills this customization
buffer according to the setting of the option
@code{custom-buffer-done-kill}; the default is to bury the buffer.
Each of the other buttons performs an operation---set, save or
reset---on each of the settings in the buffer that could meaningfully
be set, saved or reset.  They do not operate on settings whose values
are hidden, nor on subgroups which are hidden or not visible in the buffer.

@node Saving Customizations
@subsection Saving Customizations

  Saving customizations from the customization buffer works by writing
code that future sessions will read, code to set up those
customizations again.

@vindex custom-file
  Normally this saves customizations in your init file,
@file{~/.emacs}.  If you wish, you can save customizations in another
file instead.  To make this work, your @file{~/.emacs} should set
@code{custom-file} to the name of that file.  Then you should load the
file by calling @code{load}.  For example:

(setq custom-file "~/.emacs-custom.el")
(load custom-file)
@end example

  You can use @code{custom-file} to specify different customization
files for different Emacs versions, like this:

(cond ((< emacs-major-version 21)
       ;; @r{Emacs 20 customization.}
       (setq custom-file "~/.custom-20.el"))
      ((and (= emacs-major-version 21) (< emacs-minor-version 4))
       ;; @r{Emacs 21 customization, before version 21.4.}
       (setq custom-file "~/.custom-21.el"))
      ((< emacs-major-version 22)
       ;; @r{Emacs version 21.4 or later.}
       (setq custom-file "~/.custom-21.4.el"))
       ;; @r{Emacs version 22.1 or later.}
       (setq custom-file "~/.custom-22.el")))

(load custom-file)
@end example

  If Emacs was invoked with the @option{-q} or @option{--no-init-file}
options (@pxref{Initial Options}), it will not let you save your
customizations in your @file{~/.emacs} init file.  This is because
saving customizations from such a session would wipe out all the other
customizations you might have on your init file.

@node Face Customization
@subsection Customizing Faces
@cindex customizing faces
@cindex bold font
@cindex italic font
@cindex fonts and faces

  In addition to variables, some customization groups also include
faces.  When you show the contents of a group, both the variables and
the faces in the group appear in the customization buffer.  Here is an
example of how a face looks:

Custom Changed Face:(sample) [Hide Face]
   [State]: STANDARD.
Face used when the customize item has been changed.
Parent groups: [Custom Magic Faces]
Attributes: [ ] Font Family: *
            [ ] Width: *
            [ ] Height: *
            [ ] Weight: *
            [ ] Slant: *
            [ ] Underline: *
            [ ] Overline: *
            [ ] Strike-through: *
            [ ] Box around text: *
            [ ] Inverse-video: *
            [X] Foreground: white       (sample)
            [X] Background: blue        (sample)
            [ ] Stipple: *
            [ ] Inherit: *
@end smallexample

  Each face attribute has its own line.  The @samp{[@var{x}]} button
before the attribute name indicates whether the attribute is
@dfn{enabled}; @samp{[X]} means that it's enabled, and @samp{[ ]}
means that it's disabled.  You can enable or disable the attribute by
clicking that button.  When the attribute is enabled, you can change
the attribute value in the usual ways.

  For the colors, you can specify a color name (use @kbd{M-x
list-colors-display} for a list of them) or a hexadecimal color
specification of the form @samp{#@var{rr}@var{gg}@var{bb}}.
(@samp{#000000} is black, @samp{#ff0000} is red, @samp{#00ff00} is
green, @samp{#0000ff} is blue, and @samp{#ffffff} is white.)  On a
black-and-white display, the colors you can use for the background are
@samp{black}, @samp{white}, @samp{gray}, @samp{gray1}, and
@samp{gray3}.  Emacs supports these shades of gray by using background
stipple patterns instead of a color.

  Setting, saving and resetting a face work like the same operations for
variables (@pxref{Changing a Variable}).

  A face can specify different appearances for different types of
display.  For example, a face can make text red on a color display, but
use a bold font on a monochrome display.  To specify multiple
appearances for a face, select @samp{For All Kinds of Displays} in the
menu you get from invoking @samp{[State]}.

@findex modify-face
  Another more basic way to set the attributes of a specific face is
with @kbd{M-x modify-face}.  This command reads the name of a face, then
reads the attributes one by one.  For the color and stipple attributes,
the attribute's current value is the default---type just @key{RET} if
you don't want to change that attribute.  Type @samp{none} if you want
to clear out the attribute.

@node Specific Customization
@subsection Customizing Specific Items

  Instead of finding the setting you want to change by navigating the
structure of groups, here are other ways to specify the settings that
you want to customize.

@table @kbd
@item M-x customize-option @key{RET} @var{option} @key{RET}
Set up a customization buffer with just one user option variable,
@item M-x customize-face @key{RET} @var{face} @key{RET}
Set up a customization buffer with just one face, @var{face}.
@item M-x customize-group @key{RET} @var{group} @key{RET}
Set up a customization buffer with just one group, @var{group}.
@item M-x customize-apropos @key{RET} @var{regexp} @key{RET}
Set up a customization buffer with all the settings and groups that
match @var{regexp}.
@item M-x customize-changed @key{RET} @var{version} @key{RET}
Set up a customization buffer with all the settings and groups
whose meaning has changed since Emacs version @var{version}.
@item M-x customize-saved
Set up a customization buffer containing all settings that you
have saved with customization buffers.
@item M-x customize-unsaved
Set up a customization buffer containing all settings that you have
set but not saved.
@end table

@findex customize-option
  If you want to alter a particular user option with the customization
buffer, and you know its name, you can use the command @kbd{M-x
customize-option} and specify the user option (variable) name.  This
sets up the customization buffer with just one user option---the one
that you asked for.  Editing, setting and saving the value work as
described above, but only for the specified user option.  Minibuffer
completion is handy if you only know part of the name.  However, this
command can only see options that have been loaded in the current
Emacs session.

@findex customize-face
  Likewise, you can modify a specific face, chosen by name, using
@kbd{M-x customize-face}.  By default it operates on the face used
on the character after point.

@findex customize-group
  You can also set up the customization buffer with a specific group,
using @kbd{M-x customize-group}.  The immediate contents of the chosen
group, including settings (user options and faces), and other groups,
all appear as well (even if not already loaded).  However, the
subgroups' own contents are not included.

@findex customize-apropos
  For a more general way of controlling what to customize, you can use
@kbd{M-x customize-apropos}.  You specify a regular expression as
argument; then all @emph{loaded} settings and groups whose names match
this regular expression are set up in the customization buffer.  If
you specify an empty regular expression, this includes @emph{all}
loaded groups and settings---which takes a long time to set up.

@findex customize-changed
  When you upgrade to a new Emacs version, you might want to consider
customizing new settings, and settings whose meanings or default
values have changed.  To do this, use @kbd{M-x customize-changed} and
specify a previous Emacs version number using the minibuffer.  It
creates a customization buffer which shows all the settings and groups
whose definitions have been changed since the specified version,
loading them if necessary.

@findex customize-saved
@findex customize-unsaved
  If you change settings and then decide the change was a mistake, you
can use two special commands to revisit your previous changes.  Use
@kbd{M-x customize-saved} to look at the settings that you have saved.
Use @kbd{M-x customize-unsaved} to look at the settings that you
have set but not saved.

@node Custom Themes
@subsection Customization Themes
@cindex custom themes

  @dfn{Custom themes} are collections of settings that can be enabled
or disabled as a unit.  You can use Custom themes to switch quickly
and easily between various collections of settings, and to transfer
such collections from one computer to another.

@findex customize-create-theme
  To define a Custom theme, use @kbd{M-x customize-create-theme},
which brings up a buffer named @samp{*New Custom Theme*}.  At the top
of the buffer is an editable field where you can specify the name of
the theme.  Click on the button labelled @samp{Insert Variable} to add
a variable to the theme, and click on @samp{Insert Face} to add a
face.  You can edit these values in the @samp{*New Custom Theme*}
buffer like in an ordinary Customize buffer.  To remove an option from
the theme, click on its @samp{State} button and select @samp{Delete}.

@vindex custom-theme-directory
  After adding the desired options, click on @samp{Save Theme} to save
the Custom theme.  This writes the theme definition to a file
@file{@var{foo}-theme.el} (where @var{foo} is the theme name you
supplied), in the directory @file{~/.emacs.d/}.  You can specify the
directory by setting @code{custom-theme-directory}.

  You can view and edit the settings of a previously-defined theme by
clicking on @samp{Visit Theme} and specifying the theme name.  You can
also import the variables and faces that you have set using Customize
by visiting the ``special'' theme named @samp{user}.  This theme, which
records all the options that you set in the ordinary customization
buffer, is always enabled, and always takes precedence over all other
enabled Custom themes.  Additionally, the @samp{user} theme is
recorded with code in your @file{.emacs} file, rather than a
@file{user-theme.el} file.

@vindex custom-enabled-themes
  Once you have defined a Custom theme, you can use it by customizing
the variable @code{custom-enabled-themes}.  This is a list of Custom
themes that are @dfn{enabled}, or put into effect.  If you set
@code{custom-enabled-themes} using the Customize interface, the theme
definitions are automatically loaded from the theme files, if they
aren't already.  If you save the value of @code{custom-enabled-themes}
for future Emacs sessions, those Custom themes will be enabled
whenever Emacs is started up.

  If two enabled themes specify different values for an option, the
theme occurring earlier in @code{custom-enabled-themes} takes effect.

@findex load-theme
@findex enable-theme
@findex disable-theme
  You can temporarily enable a Custom theme with @kbd{M-x
enable-theme}.  This prompts for a theme name in the minibuffer, loads
the theme from the theme file if necessary, and enables the theme.
You can @dfn{disable} any enabled theme with the command @kbd{M-x
disable-theme}; this returns the options specified in the theme to
their original values.  To re-enable the theme, type @kbd{M-x
enable-theme} again.  If a theme file is changed during your Emacs
session, you can reload it by typing @kbd{M-x load-theme}.  (This also
enables the theme.)

@node Variables
@section Variables
@cindex variable
@cindex option, user
@cindex user option

  A @dfn{variable} is a Lisp symbol which has a value.  The symbol's
name is also called the name of the variable.  A variable name can
contain any characters that can appear in a file, but conventionally
variable names consist of words separated by hyphens.  A variable can
have a documentation string which describes what kind of value it should
have and how the value will be used.

  Emacs Lisp allows any variable (with a few exceptions) to have any
kind of value, but most variables that Emacs uses expect a value of a
certain type.  Often the value should always be a string, or should
always be a number.  Sometimes we say that a certain feature is turned
on if a variable is ``non-@code{nil},'' meaning that if the variable's
value is @code{nil}, the feature is off, but the feature is on for
@emph{any} other value.  The conventional value to use to turn on the
feature---since you have to pick one particular value when you set the
variable---is @code{t}.

  Emacs uses many Lisp variables for internal record keeping, but the
most interesting variables for a non-programmer user are those meant
for users to change---these are called @dfn{user options}.

  Each user option that you can set with the customization buffer is
in fact a Lisp variable.  Emacs does not (usually) change the values
of these variables on its own; instead, you set the values in order to
control the behavior of certain Emacs commands.  Use of the
customization buffer is explained above (@pxref{Easy Customization});
here we describe other aspects of Emacs variables.

* Examining::	        Examining or setting one variable's value.
* Hooks::	        Hook variables let you specify programs for parts
		          of Emacs to run on particular occasions.
* Locals::	        Per-buffer values of variables.
* File Variables::      How files can specify variable values.
@end menu

@node Examining
@subsection Examining and Setting Variables
@cindex setting variables

@table @kbd
@item C-h v @var{var} @key{RET}
Display the value and documentation of variable @var{var}
@item M-x set-variable @key{RET} @var{var} @key{RET} @var{value} @key{RET}
Change the value of variable @var{var} to @var{value}.
@end table

  To examine the value of a single variable, use @kbd{C-h v}
(@code{describe-variable}), which reads a variable name using the
minibuffer, with completion.  It displays both the value and the
documentation of the variable.  For example,

C-h v fill-column @key{RET}
@end example

displays something like this:

fill-column is a variable defined in `C source code'.
fill-column's value is 70
Local in buffer custom.texi; global value is 70
Automatically becomes buffer-local when set in any fashion.

This variable is safe to use as a file local variable only if its value
satisfies the predicate `integerp'.

*Column beyond which automatic line-wrapping should happen.
Interactively, you can set the buffer local value using C-x f.

You can customize this variable.
@end smallexample

The line that says you can customize the variable indicates that this
variable is a user option.  (The star also indicates this, but it is
an obsolete indicator that may eventually disappear.)  @kbd{C-h v} is
not restricted to user options; it allows any variable name.

@findex set-variable
The most convenient way to set a specific user option variable is with
@kbd{M-x set-variable}.  This reads the variable name with the
minibuffer (with completion), and then reads a Lisp expression for the
new value using the minibuffer a second time (you can insert the old
value into the minibuffer for editing via @kbd{M-n}).  For example,

M-x set-variable @key{RET} fill-column @key{RET} 75 @key{RET}
@end example

sets @code{fill-column} to 75.

 @kbd{M-x set-variable} is limited to user option variables, but you can
set any variable with a Lisp expression, using the function @code{setq}.
Here is a @code{setq} expression to set @code{fill-column}:

(setq fill-column 75)
@end example

  To execute an expression like this one, go to the @samp{*scratch*}
buffer, type in the expression, and then type @kbd{C-j}.  @xref{Lisp

  Setting variables, like all means of customizing Emacs except where
otherwise stated, affects only the current Emacs session.  The only
way to alter the variable in future sessions is to put something in
the @file{~/.emacs} file to set it those sessions (@pxref{Init File}).

@node Hooks
@subsection Hooks
@cindex hook
@cindex running a hook

  @dfn{Hooks} are an important mechanism for customization of Emacs.  A
hook is a Lisp variable which holds a list of functions, to be called on
some well-defined occasion.  (This is called @dfn{running the hook}.)
The individual functions in the list are called the @dfn{hook functions}
of the hook.  With rare exceptions, hooks in Emacs are empty when Emacs
starts up, so the only hook functions in any given hook are the ones you
explicitly put there as customization.

  Most major modes run one or more @dfn{mode hooks} as the last step of
initialization.  This makes it easy for you to customize the behavior of
the mode, by setting up a hook function to override the local variable
assignments already made by the mode.  But hooks are also used in other
contexts.  For example, the hook @code{suspend-hook} runs just before
Emacs suspends itself (@pxref{Exiting}).

@cindex normal hook
  Most Emacs hooks are @dfn{normal hooks}.  This means that running the
hook operates by calling all the hook functions, unconditionally, with
no arguments.  We have made an effort to keep most hooks normal so that
you can use them in a uniform way.  Every variable in Emacs whose name
ends in @samp{-hook} is a normal hook.

@cindex abnormal hook
  There are also a few @dfn{abnormal hooks}.  These variables' names end
in @samp{-hooks} or @samp{-functions}, instead of @samp{-hook}.  What
makes these hooks abnormal is that there is something peculiar about the
way its functions are called---perhaps they are given arguments, or
perhaps the values they return are used in some way.  For example,
@code{find-file-not-found-functions} (@pxref{Visiting}) is abnormal because
as soon as one hook function returns a non-@code{nil} value, the rest
are not called at all.  The documentation of each abnormal hook variable
explains in detail what is peculiar about it.

@findex add-hook
  You can set a hook variable with @code{setq} like any other Lisp
variable, but the recommended way to add a hook function to a hook
(either normal or abnormal) is by calling @code{add-hook}.
@xref{Hooks,,, elisp, The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual}.

  For example, here's how to set up a hook to turn on Auto Fill mode
when entering Text mode and other modes based on Text mode:

(add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'turn-on-auto-fill)
@end example

  The next example shows how to use a hook to customize the indentation
of C code.  (People often have strong personal preferences for one
format compared to another.)  Here the hook function is an anonymous
lambda expression.

(setq my-c-style
  '((c-comment-only-line-offset . 4)
@end group
    (c-cleanup-list . (scope-operator
@end group
    (c-offsets-alist . ((arglist-close . c-lineup-arglist)
			(substatement-open . 0)))))
@end group

(add-hook 'c-mode-common-hook
  '(lambda ()
     (c-add-style "my-style" my-c-style t)))
@end group
@end example

  It is best to design your hook functions so that the order in which
they are executed does not matter.  Any dependence on the order is
``asking for trouble.''  However, the order is predictable: the most
recently added hook functions are executed first.

@findex remove-hook
  If you play with adding various different versions of a hook
function by calling @code{add-hook} over and over, remember that all
the versions you added will remain in the hook variable together.  You
can clear out individual functions by calling @code{remove-hook}, or
do @code{(setq @var{hook-variable} nil)} to remove everything.

@node Locals
@subsection Local Variables

@table @kbd
@item M-x make-local-variable @key{RET} @var{var} @key{RET}
Make variable @var{var} have a local value in the current buffer.
@item M-x kill-local-variable @key{RET} @var{var} @key{RET}
Make variable @var{var} use its global value in the current buffer.
@item M-x make-variable-buffer-local @key{RET} @var{var} @key{RET}
Mark variable @var{var} so that setting it will make it local to the
buffer that is current at that time.
@end table

@cindex local variables
  Almost any variable can be made @dfn{local} to a specific Emacs
buffer.  This means that its value in that buffer is independent of its
value in other buffers.  A few variables are always local in every
buffer.  Every other Emacs variable has a @dfn{global} value which is in
effect in all buffers that have not made the variable local.

@findex make-local-variable
  @kbd{M-x make-local-variable} reads the name of a variable and makes
it local to the current buffer.  Changing its value subsequently in
this buffer will not affect others, and changes in its global value
will not affect this buffer.

@findex make-variable-buffer-local
@cindex per-buffer variables
  @kbd{M-x make-variable-buffer-local} marks a variable so it will
become local automatically whenever it is set.  More precisely, once a
variable has been marked in this way, the usual ways of setting the
variable automatically do @code{make-local-variable} first.  We call
such variables @dfn{per-buffer} variables.  Many variables in Emacs
are normally per-buffer; the variable's document string tells you when
this is so.  A per-buffer variable's global value is normally never
effective in any buffer, but it still has a meaning: it is the initial
value of the variable for each new buffer.

  Major modes (@pxref{Major Modes}) always make variables local to the
buffer before setting the variables.  This is why changing major modes
in one buffer has no effect on other buffers.  Minor modes also work
by setting variables---normally, each minor mode has one controlling
variable which is non-@code{nil} when the mode is enabled
(@pxref{Minor Modes}).  For many minor modes, the controlling variable
is per buffer, and thus always buffer-local.  Otherwise, you can make
it local in a specific buffer like any other variable.

  A few variables cannot be local to a buffer because they are always
local to each display instead (@pxref{Multiple Displays}).  If you try to
make one of these variables buffer-local, you'll get an error message.

@findex kill-local-variable
  @kbd{M-x kill-local-variable} makes a specified variable cease to be
local to the current buffer.  The global value of the variable
henceforth is in effect in this buffer.  Setting the major mode kills
all the local variables of the buffer except for a few variables
specially marked as @dfn{permanent locals}.

@findex setq-default
  To set the global value of a variable, regardless of whether the
variable has a local value in the current buffer, you can use the Lisp
construct @code{setq-default}.  This construct is used just like
@code{setq}, but it sets variables' global values instead of their local
values (if any).  When the current buffer does have a local value, the
new global value may not be visible until you switch to another buffer.
Here is an example:

(setq-default fill-column 75)
@end example

@code{setq-default} is the only way to set the global value of a variable
that has been marked with @code{make-variable-buffer-local}.

@findex default-value
  Lisp programs can use @code{default-value} to look at a variable's
default value.  This function takes a symbol as argument and returns its
default value.  The argument is evaluated; usually you must quote it
explicitly.  For example, here's how to obtain the default value of

(default-value 'fill-column)
@end example

@node File Variables
@subsection Local Variables in Files
@cindex local variables in files
@cindex file local variables

  A file can specify local variable values for use when you edit the
file with Emacs.  Visiting the file checks for local variable
specifications; it automatically makes these variables local to the
buffer, and sets them to the values specified in the file.

* Specifying File Variables:: Specifying file local variables.
* Safe File Variables::       Making sure file local variables are safe.
@end menu

@node Specifying File Variables
@subsubsection Specifying File Variables

  There are two ways to specify file local variable values: in the first
line, or with a local variables list.  Here's how to specify them in the
first line:

-*- mode: @var{modename}; @var{var}: @var{value}; @dots{} -*-
@end example

You can specify any number of variables/value pairs in this way, each
pair with a colon and semicolon as shown above.  @code{mode:
@var{modename};} specifies the major mode; this should come first in the
line.  The @var{value}s are not evaluated; they are used literally.
Here is an example that specifies Lisp mode and sets two variables with
numeric values:

;; -*- mode: Lisp; fill-column: 75; comment-column: 50; -*-
@end smallexample

  You can also specify the coding system for a file in this way: just
specify a value for the ``variable'' named @code{coding}.  The ``value''
must be a coding system name that Emacs recognizes.  @xref{Coding
Systems}.  @w{@samp{unibyte: t}} specifies unibyte loading for a
particular Lisp file.  @xref{Enabling Multibyte}.

  The @code{eval} pseudo-variable, described below, can be specified in
the first line as well.

@cindex shell scripts, and local file variables
  In shell scripts, the first line is used to identify the script
interpreter, so you cannot put any local variables there.  To
accommodate this, Emacs looks for local variable specifications in the
@emph{second} line when the first line specifies an interpreter.

  A @dfn{local variables list} goes near the end of the file, in the
last page.  (It is often best to put it on a page by itself.)  The local
variables list starts with a line containing the string @samp{Local
Variables:}, and ends with a line containing the string @samp{End:}.  In
between come the variable names and values, one set per line, as
@samp{@var{variable}:@: @var{value}}.  The @var{value}s are not
evaluated; they are used literally.  If a file has both a local
variables list and a @samp{-*-} line, Emacs processes @emph{everything}
in the @samp{-*-} line first, and @emph{everything} in the local
variables list afterward.

  Here is an example of a local variables list:

;; Local Variables: **
;; mode:lisp **
;; comment-column:0 **
;; comment-start: ";; "  **
;; comment-end:"**" **
;; End: **
@end example

  Each line starts with the prefix @samp{;; } and each line ends with
the suffix @samp{ **}.  Emacs recognizes these as the prefix and
suffix based on the first line of the list, by finding them
surrounding the magic string @samp{Local Variables:}; then it
automatically discards them from the other lines of the list.

  The usual reason for using a prefix and/or suffix is to embed the
local variables list in a comment, so it won't confuse other programs
that the file is intended as input for.  The example above is for a
language where comment lines start with @samp{;; } and end with
@samp{**}; the local values for @code{comment-start} and
@code{comment-end} customize the rest of Emacs for this unusual
syntax.  Don't use a prefix (or a suffix) if you don't need one.

  If you write a multi-line string value, you should put the prefix
and suffix on each line, even lines that start or end within the
string.  They will be stripped off for processing the list.  If you
want to split a long string across multiple lines of the file, you can
use backslash-newline, which is ignored in Lisp string constants.
Here's an example of doing this:

# Local Variables:
# compile-command: "cc foo.c -Dfoo=bar -Dhack=whatever \
#   -Dmumble=blaah"
# End:
@end example

  Some ``variable names'' have special meanings in a local variables
list.  Specifying the ``variable'' @code{mode} really sets the major
mode, while any value specified for the ``variable'' @code{eval} is
simply evaluated as an expression (its value is ignored).  A value for
@code{coding} specifies the coding system for character code
conversion of this file, and a value of @code{t} for @code{unibyte}
says to visit the file in a unibyte buffer.  These four ``variables''
are not really variables; setting them in any other context has no
special meaning.

  @emph{If @code{mode} is used to set a major mode, it should be the
first ``variable'' in the list.}  Otherwise, the entries that precede
it will usually be ignored, since most modes kill all local variables
as part of their initialization.

  You can use the @code{mode} ``variable'' to set minor modes as well
as the major modes; in fact, you can use it more than once, first to
set the major mode and then to set minor modes which are specific to
particular buffers.  But most minor modes should not be specified in
the file at all, because they represent user preferences.

  For example, you may be tempted to try to turn on Auto Fill mode with
a local variable list.  That is a mistake.  The choice of Auto Fill mode
or not is a matter of individual taste, not a matter of the contents of
particular files.  If you want to use Auto Fill, set up major mode hooks
with your @file{.emacs} file to turn it on (when appropriate) for you
alone (@pxref{Init File}).  Don't use a local variable list to impose
your taste on everyone.

  The start of the local variables list must be no more than 3000
characters from the end of the file, and must be in the last page if the
file is divided into pages.  Otherwise, Emacs will not notice it is
there.  The purpose of this rule is so that a stray @samp{Local
Variables:}@: not in the last page does not confuse Emacs, and so that
visiting a long file that is all one page and has no local variables
list need not take the time to search the whole file.

  Use the command @code{normal-mode} to reset the local variables and
major mode of a buffer according to the file name and contents,
including the local variables list if any.  @xref{Choosing Modes}.

@node Safe File Variables
@subsubsection Safety of File Variables

  File-local variables can be dangerous; when you visit someone else's
file, there's no telling what its local variables list could do to
your Emacs.  Improper values of the @code{eval} ``variable,'' and
other variables such as @code{load-path}, could execute Lisp code you
didn't intend to run.

  Therefore, whenever Emacs encounters file local variable values that
are not known to be safe, it displays the file's entire local
variables list, and asks you for confirmation before setting them.
You can type @kbd{y} or @key{SPC} to put the local variables list into
effect, or @kbd{n} to ignore it.  When Emacs is run in batch mode
(@pxref{Initial Options}), it can't really ask you, so it assumes the
answer @kbd{n}.

  Emacs normally recognizes certain variables/value pairs as safe.
For instance, it is safe to give @code{comment-column} or
@code{fill-column} any integer value.  If a file specifies only
known-safe variable/value pairs, Emacs does not ask for confirmation
before setting them.  Otherwise, you can tell Emacs to record all the
variable/value pairs in this file as safe, by typing @kbd{!} at the
confirmation prompt.  When Emacs encounters these variable/value pairs
subsequently, in the same file or others, it will assume they are

@vindex safe-local-variable-values
@cindex risky variable
  Some variables, such as @code{load-path}, are considered
particularly @dfn{risky}: there is seldom any reason to specify them
as local variables, and changing them can be dangerous.  Even if you
enter @kbd{!} at the confirmation prompt, Emacs will not record any
values as safe for these variables.  If you really want to record safe
values for these variables, do it directly by customizing
@samp{safe-local-variable-values} (@pxref{Easy Customization}).

@vindex enable-local-variables
  The variable @code{enable-local-variables} allows you to change the
way Emacs processes local variables.  Its default value is @code{t},
which specifies the behavior described above.  If it is @code{nil},
Emacs simply ignores all file local variables.  @code{:safe} means use
only the safe values and ignore the rest.  Any other value says to
query you about each file that has local variables, without trying to
determine whether the values are known to be safe.

@vindex enable-local-eval
  The variable @code{enable-local-eval} controls whether Emacs
processes @code{eval} variables.  The three possibilities for the
variable's value are @code{t}, @code{nil}, and anything else, just as
for @code{enable-local-variables}.  The default is @code{maybe}, which
is neither @code{t} nor @code{nil}, so normally Emacs does ask for
confirmation about processing @code{eval} variables.

@vindex safe-local-eval-forms
  But there is an exception.  The @code{safe-local-eval-forms} is a
customizable list of eval forms which are safe.  Emacs does not ask
for confirmation when it finds these forms for the @code{eval}

@node Key Bindings
@section Customizing Key Bindings
@cindex key bindings

  This section describes @dfn{key bindings}, which map keys to commands,
and @dfn{keymaps}, which record key bindings.  It also explains how
to customize key bindings.

  Recall that a command is a Lisp function whose definition provides for
interactive use.  Like every Lisp function, a command has a function
name, which usually consists of lower-case letters and hyphens.

* Keymaps::             Generalities.  The global keymap.
* Prefix Keymaps::      Keymaps for prefix keys.
* Local Keymaps::       Major and minor modes have their own keymaps.
* Minibuffer Maps::     The minibuffer uses its own local keymaps.
* Rebinding::           How to redefine one key's meaning conveniently.
* Init Rebinding::      Rebinding keys with your init file, @file{.emacs}.
* Function Keys::       Rebinding terminal function keys.
* Named ASCII Chars::   Distinguishing @key{TAB} from @kbd{C-i}, and so on.
* Mouse Buttons::       Rebinding mouse buttons in Emacs.
* Disabling::           Disabling a command means confirmation is required
                          before it can be executed.  This is done to protect
                          beginners from surprises.
@end menu

@node Keymaps
@subsection Keymaps
@cindex keymap

  The bindings between key sequences and command functions are recorded
in data structures called @dfn{keymaps}.  Emacs has many of these, each
used on particular occasions.

  Recall that a @dfn{key sequence} (@dfn{key}, for short) is a sequence
of @dfn{input events} that have a meaning as a unit.  Input events
include characters, function keys and mouse buttons---all the inputs
that you can send to the computer with your terminal.  A key sequence
gets its meaning from its @dfn{binding}, which says what command it
runs.  The function of keymaps is to record these bindings.

@cindex global keymap
  The @dfn{global} keymap is the most important keymap because it is
always in effect.  The global keymap defines keys for Fundamental mode;
most of these definitions are common to most or all major modes.  Each
major or minor mode can have its own keymap which overrides the global
definitions of some keys.

  For example, a self-inserting character such as @kbd{g} is
self-inserting because the global keymap binds it to the command
@code{self-insert-command}.  The standard Emacs editing characters such
as @kbd{C-a} also get their standard meanings from the global keymap.
Commands to rebind keys, such as @kbd{M-x global-set-key}, actually work
by storing the new binding in the proper place in the global map.

   Meta characters work differently; Emacs translates each Meta
character into a pair of characters starting with @key{ESC}.  When you
type the character @kbd{M-a} in a key sequence, Emacs replaces it with
@kbd{@key{ESC} a}.  A meta key comes in as a single input event, but
becomes two events for purposes of key bindings.  The reason for this is
historical, and we might change it someday.

@cindex function key
  Most modern keyboards have function keys as well as character keys.
Function keys send input events just as character keys do, and keymaps
can have bindings for them.

  On text terminals, typing a function key actually sends the computer a
sequence of characters; the precise details of the sequence depends on
which function key and on the model of terminal you are using.  (Often
the sequence starts with @kbd{@key{ESC} [}.)  If Emacs understands your
terminal type properly, it recognizes the character sequences forming
function keys wherever they occur in a key sequence (not just at the
beginning).  Thus, for most purposes, you can pretend the function keys
reach Emacs directly and ignore their encoding as character sequences.

@cindex mouse
  Mouse buttons also produce input events.  These events come with other
data---the window and position where you pressed or released the button,
and a time stamp.  But only the choice of button matters for key
bindings; the other data matters only if a command looks at it.
(Commands designed for mouse invocation usually do look at the other

  A keymap records definitions for single events.  Interpreting a key
sequence of multiple events involves a chain of keymaps.  The first
keymap gives a definition for the first event; this definition is
another keymap, which is used to look up the second event in the
sequence, and so on.

  Key sequences can mix function keys and characters.  For example,
@kbd{C-x @key{SELECT}} is meaningful.  If you make @key{SELECT} a prefix
key, then @kbd{@key{SELECT} C-n} makes sense.  You can even mix mouse
events with keyboard events, but we recommend against it, because such
key sequences are inconvenient to use.

  As a user, you can redefine any key; but it is usually best to stick
to key sequences that consist of @kbd{C-c} followed by a letter (upper
or lower case).  These keys are ``reserved for users,'' so they won't
conflict with any properly designed Emacs extension.  The function
keys @key{F5} through @key{F9} are also reserved for users.  If you
redefine some other key, your definition may be overridden by certain
extensions or major modes which redefine the same key.

@node Prefix Keymaps
@subsection Prefix Keymaps

  A prefix key such as @kbd{C-x} or @key{ESC} has its own keymap,
which holds the definition for the event that immediately follows
that prefix.

  The definition of a prefix key is usually the keymap to use for
looking up the following event.  The definition can also be a Lisp
symbol whose function definition is the following keymap; the effect is
the same, but it provides a command name for the prefix key that can be
used as a description of what the prefix key is for.  Thus, the binding
of @kbd{C-x} is the symbol @code{Control-X-prefix}, whose function
definition is the keymap for @kbd{C-x} commands.  The definitions of
@kbd{C-c}, @kbd{C-x}, @kbd{C-h} and @key{ESC} as prefix keys appear in
the global map, so these prefix keys are always available.

  Aside from ordinary prefix keys, there is a fictitious ``prefix key''
which represents the menu bar; see @ref{Menu Bar,,,elisp, The Emacs Lisp
Reference Manual}, for special information about menu bar key bindings.
Mouse button events that invoke pop-up menus are also prefix keys; see
@ref{Menu Keymaps,,,elisp, The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual}, for more

  Some prefix keymaps are stored in variables with names:

@itemize @bullet
@vindex ctl-x-map
@code{ctl-x-map} is the variable name for the map used for characters that
follow @kbd{C-x}.
@vindex help-map
@code{help-map} is for characters that follow @kbd{C-h}.
@vindex esc-map
@code{esc-map} is for characters that follow @key{ESC}.  Thus, all Meta
characters are actually defined by this map.
@vindex ctl-x-4-map
@code{ctl-x-4-map} is for characters that follow @kbd{C-x 4}.
@vindex mode-specific-map
@code{mode-specific-map} is for characters that follow @kbd{C-c}.
@end itemize

@node Local Keymaps
@subsection Local Keymaps

@cindex local keymap
  So far we have explained the ins and outs of the global map.  Major
modes customize Emacs by providing their own key bindings in @dfn{local
keymaps}.  For example, C mode overrides @key{TAB} to make it indent the
current line for C code.  Portions of text in the buffer can specify
their own keymaps to substitute for the keymap of the buffer's major

@cindex minor mode keymap
  Minor modes can also have local keymaps.  Whenever a minor mode is
in effect, the definitions in its keymap override both the major
mode's local keymap and the global keymap.

  A local keymap can locally redefine a key as a prefix key by defining
it as a prefix keymap.  If the key is also defined globally as a prefix,
then its local and global definitions (both keymaps) effectively
combine: both of them are used to look up the event that follows the
prefix key.  Thus, if the mode's local keymap defines @kbd{C-c} as
another keymap, and that keymap defines @kbd{C-z} as a command, this
provides a local meaning for @kbd{C-c C-z}.  This does not affect other
sequences that start with @kbd{C-c}; if those sequences don't have their
own local bindings, their global bindings remain in effect.

  Another way to think of this is that Emacs handles a multi-event key
sequence by looking in several keymaps, one by one, for a binding of the
whole key sequence.  First it checks the minor mode keymaps for minor
modes that are enabled, then it checks the major mode's keymap, and then
it checks the global keymap.  This is not precisely how key lookup
works, but it's good enough for understanding the results in ordinary

@cindex rebinding major mode keys
  Most major modes construct their keymaps when the mode is used for
the first time in a session.  If you wish to change one of these
keymaps, you must use the major mode's @dfn{mode hook}

@findex define-key
  For example, the command @code{texinfo-mode} to select Texinfo mode
runs the hook @code{texinfo-mode-hook}.  Here's how you can use the hook
to add local bindings (not very useful, we admit) for @kbd{C-c n} and
@kbd{C-c p} in Texinfo mode:

(add-hook 'texinfo-mode-hook
          '(lambda ()
             (define-key texinfo-mode-map "\C-cp"
             (define-key texinfo-mode-map "\C-cn"
@end example

@node Minibuffer Maps
@subsection Minibuffer Keymaps

@cindex minibuffer keymaps
@vindex minibuffer-local-map
@vindex minibuffer-local-ns-map
@vindex minibuffer-local-completion-map
@vindex minibuffer-local-must-match-map
@vindex minibuffer-local-filename-completion-map
@vindex minibuffer-local-must-match-filename-map
  The minibuffer has its own set of local keymaps; they contain various
completion and exit commands.

@itemize @bullet
@code{minibuffer-local-map} is used for ordinary input (no completion).
@code{minibuffer-local-ns-map} is similar, except that @key{SPC} exits
just like @key{RET}.  This is used mainly for Mocklisp compatibility.
@code{minibuffer-local-completion-map} is for permissive completion.
@code{minibuffer-local-must-match-map} is for strict completion and
for cautious completion.
Finally, @code{minibuffer-local-filename-completion-map} and
@code{minibuffer-local-must-match-filename-map} are like the two
previous ones, but they are specifically for file name completion.
They do not bind @key{SPC}.
@end itemize

@node Rebinding
@subsection Changing Key Bindings Interactively
@cindex key rebinding, this session
@cindex redefining keys, this session

  The way to redefine an Emacs key is to change its entry in a keymap.
You can change the global keymap, in which case the change is effective in
all major modes (except those that have their own overriding local
definitions for the same key).  Or you can change the current buffer's
local map, which affects all buffers using the same major mode.

@findex global-set-key
@findex local-set-key
@findex global-unset-key
@findex local-unset-key
@table @kbd
@item M-x global-set-key @key{RET} @var{key} @var{cmd} @key{RET}
Define @var{key} globally to run @var{cmd}.
@item M-x local-set-key @key{RET} @var{key} @var{cmd} @key{RET}
Define @var{key} locally (in the major mode now in effect) to run
@item M-x global-unset-key @key{RET} @var{key}
Make @var{key} undefined in the global map.
@item M-x local-unset-key @key{RET} @var{key}
Make @var{key} undefined locally (in the major mode now in effect).
@end table

  For example, suppose you like to execute commands in a subshell within
an Emacs buffer, instead of suspending Emacs and executing commands in
your login shell.  Normally, @kbd{C-z} is bound to the function
@code{suspend-emacs} (when not using the X Window System), but you can
change @kbd{C-z} to invoke an interactive subshell within Emacs, by
binding it to @code{shell} as follows:

M-x global-set-key @key{RET} C-z shell @key{RET}
@end example

@code{global-set-key} reads the command name after the key.   After you
press the key, a message like this appears so that you can confirm that
you are binding the key you want:

Set key C-z to command:
@end example

  You can redefine function keys and mouse events in the same way; just
type the function key or click the mouse when it's time to specify the
key to rebind.

  You can rebind a key that contains more than one event in the same
way.  Emacs keeps reading the key to rebind until it is a complete key
(that is, not a prefix key).  Thus, if you type @kbd{C-f} for
@var{key}, that's the end; it enters the minibuffer immediately to
read @var{cmd}.  But if you type @kbd{C-x}, since that's a prefix, it
reads another character; if that is @kbd{4}, another prefix character,
it reads one more character, and so on.  For example,

M-x global-set-key @key{RET} C-x 4 $ spell-other-window @key{RET}
@end example

redefines @kbd{C-x 4 $} to run the (fictitious) command

  The two-character keys consisting of @kbd{C-c} followed by a letter
are reserved for user customizations.  Lisp programs are not supposed to
define these keys, so the bindings you make for them will be available
in all major modes and will never get in the way of anything.

  You can remove the global definition of a key with
@code{global-unset-key}.  This makes the key @dfn{undefined}; if you
type it, Emacs will just beep.  Similarly, @code{local-unset-key} makes
a key undefined in the current major mode keymap, which makes the global
definition (or lack of one) come back into effect in that major mode.

  If you have redefined (or undefined) a key and you subsequently wish
to retract the change, undefining the key will not do the job---you need
to redefine the key with its standard definition.  To find the name of
the standard definition of a key, go to a Fundamental mode buffer in a
fresh Emacs and use @kbd{C-h c}.  The documentation of keys in this
manual also lists their command names.

  If you want to prevent yourself from invoking a command by mistake, it
is better to disable the command than to undefine the key.  A disabled
command is less work to invoke when you really want to.

@node Init Rebinding
@subsection Rebinding Keys in Your Init File

  If you have a set of key bindings that you like to use all the time,
you can specify them in your @file{.emacs} file by using their Lisp
syntax.  (@xref{Init File}.)

  The simplest method for doing this works for @acronym{ASCII} characters and
Meta-modified @acronym{ASCII} characters only.  This method uses a string to
represent the key sequence you want to rebind.  For example, here's how
to bind @kbd{C-z} to @code{shell}:

(global-set-key "\C-z" 'shell)
@end example

This example uses a string constant containing one character,
@kbd{C-z}.  (@samp{\C-} is string syntax for a control character.)  The
single-quote before the command name, @code{shell}, marks it as a
constant symbol rather than a variable.  If you omit the quote, Emacs
would try to evaluate @code{shell} immediately as a variable.  This
probably causes an error; it certainly isn't what you want.

  Here is another example that binds the key sequence @kbd{C-x M-l}:

(global-set-key "\C-x\M-l" 'make-symbolic-link)
@end example

  To put @key{TAB}, @key{RET}, @key{ESC}, or @key{DEL} in the
string, you can use the Emacs Lisp escape sequences, @samp{\t},
@samp{\r}, @samp{\e}, and @samp{\d}.  Here is an example which binds
@kbd{C-x @key{TAB}}:

(global-set-key "\C-x\t" 'indent-rigidly)
@end example

  These examples show how to write some other special @acronym{ASCII} characters
in strings for key bindings:

(global-set-key "\r" 'newline)               ;; @key{RET}
(global-set-key "\d" 'delete-backward-char)  ;; @key{DEL}
(global-set-key "\C-x\e\e" 'repeat-complex-command)  ;; @key{ESC}
@end example

  When the key sequence includes function keys or mouse button events,
or non-@acronym{ASCII} characters such as @code{C-=} or @code{H-a}, you must use
the more general method of rebinding, which uses a vector to specify the
key sequence.

  The way to write a vector in Emacs Lisp is with square brackets around
the vector elements.  Use spaces to separate the elements.  If an
element is a symbol, simply write the symbol's name---no other
delimiters or punctuation are needed.  If a vector element is a
character, write it as a Lisp character constant: @samp{?} followed by
the character as it would appear in a string.

  Here are examples of using vectors to rebind @kbd{C-=} (a control
character not in @acronym{ASCII}), @kbd{C-M-=} (not in @acronym{ASCII} because @kbd{C-=}
is not), @kbd{H-a} (a Hyper character; @acronym{ASCII} doesn't have Hyper at
all), @key{F7} (a function key), and @kbd{C-Mouse-1} (a
keyboard-modified mouse button):

(global-set-key [?\C-=] 'make-symbolic-link)
(global-set-key [?\M-\C-=] 'make-symbolic-link)
(global-set-key [?\H-a] 'make-symbolic-link)
(global-set-key [f7] 'make-symbolic-link)
(global-set-key [C-mouse-1] 'make-symbolic-link)
@end example

  You can use a vector for the simple cases too.  Here's how to
rewrite the first six examples above to use vectors:

(global-set-key [?\C-z] 'shell)
(global-set-key [?\C-x ?l] 'make-symbolic-link)
(global-set-key [?\C-x ?\t] 'indent-rigidly)
(global-set-key [?\r] 'newline)
(global-set-key [?\d] 'delete-backward-char)
(global-set-key [?\C-x ?\e ?\e] 'repeat-complex-command)
@end example

As you see, you represent a multi-character key sequence with a vector
by listing all of the characters, in order, within the square brackets
that delimit the vector.

  Language and coding systems can cause problems with key bindings
for non-@acronym{ASCII} characters.  @xref{Init Non-ASCII}.

@node Function Keys
@subsection Rebinding Function Keys

  Key sequences can contain function keys as well as ordinary
characters.  Just as Lisp characters (actually integers) represent
keyboard characters, Lisp symbols represent function keys.  If the
function key has a word as its label, then that word is also the name of
the corresponding Lisp symbol.  Here are the conventional Lisp names for
common function keys:

@table @asis
@item @code{left}, @code{up}, @code{right}, @code{down}
Cursor arrow keys.

@item @code{begin}, @code{end}, @code{home}, @code{next}, @code{prior}
Other cursor repositioning keys.

@item @code{select}, @code{print}, @code{execute}, @code{backtab}
@itemx @code{insert}, @code{undo}, @code{redo}, @code{clearline}
@itemx @code{insertline}, @code{deleteline}, @code{insertchar}, @code{deletechar}
Miscellaneous function keys.

@item @code{f1}, @code{f2}, @dots{} @code{f35}
Numbered function keys (across the top of the keyboard).

@item @code{kp-add}, @code{kp-subtract}, @code{kp-multiply}, @code{kp-divide}
@itemx @code{kp-backtab}, @code{kp-space}, @code{kp-tab}, @code{kp-enter}
@itemx @code{kp-separator}, @code{kp-decimal}, @code{kp-equal}
Keypad keys (to the right of the regular keyboard), with names or punctuation.

@item @code{kp-0}, @code{kp-1}, @dots{} @code{kp-9}
Keypad keys with digits.

@item @code{kp-f1}, @code{kp-f2}, @code{kp-f3}, @code{kp-f4}
Keypad PF keys.
@end table

  These names are conventional, but some systems (especially when using
X) may use different names.  To make certain what symbol is used for a
given function key on your terminal, type @kbd{C-h c} followed by that

  A key sequence which contains function key symbols (or anything but
@acronym{ASCII} characters) must be a vector rather than a string.
Thus, to bind function key @samp{f1} to the command @code{rmail},
write the following:

(global-set-key [f1] 'rmail)
@end example

To bind the right-arrow key to the command @code{forward-char}, you can
use this expression:

(global-set-key [right] 'forward-char)
@end example

This uses the Lisp syntax for a vector containing the symbol
@code{right}.  (This binding is present in Emacs by default.)

  @xref{Init Rebinding}, for more information about using vectors for

  You can mix function keys and characters in a key sequence.  This
example binds @kbd{C-x @key{NEXT}} to the command @code{forward-page}.

(global-set-key [?\C-x next] 'forward-page)
@end example

where @code{?\C-x} is the Lisp character constant for the character
@kbd{C-x}.  The vector element @code{next} is a symbol and therefore
does not take a question mark.

  You can use the modifier keys @key{CTRL}, @key{META}, @key{HYPER},
@key{SUPER}, @key{ALT} and @key{SHIFT} with function keys.  To represent
these modifiers, add the strings @samp{C-}, @samp{M-}, @samp{H-},
@samp{s-}, @samp{A-} and @samp{S-} at the front of the symbol name.
Thus, here is how to make @kbd{Hyper-Meta-@key{RIGHT}} move forward a

(global-set-key [H-M-right] 'forward-word)
@end example

@cindex keypad
  Many keyboards have a ``numeric keypad'' on the right hand side.
The numeric keys in the keypad double up as cursor motion keys,
toggled by a key labeled @samp{Num Lock}.  By default, Emacs
translates these keys to the corresponding keys in the main keyboard.
For example, when @samp{Num Lock} is on, the key labeled @samp{8} on
the numeric keypad produces @code{kp-8}, which is translated to
@kbd{8}; when @samp{Num Lock} is off, the same key produces
@code{kp-up}, which is translated to @key{UP}.  If you rebind a key
such as @kbd{8} or @key{UP}, it affects the equivalent keypad key too.
However, if you rebind a @samp{kp-} key directly, that won't affect
its non-keypad equivalent.

  Emacs provides a convenient method for binding the numeric keypad
keys, using the variables @code{keypad-setup},
@code{keypad-numlock-setup}, @code{keypad-shifted-setup}, and
@code{keypad-numlock-shifted-setup}.  These can be found in the
@samp{keyboard} customization group (@pxref{Easy Customization}).  You
can rebind the keys to perform other tasks, such as issuing numeric
prefix arguments.

@node Named ASCII Chars
@subsection Named @acronym{ASCII} Control Characters

  @key{TAB}, @key{RET}, @key{BS}, @key{LFD}, @key{ESC} and @key{DEL}
started out as names for certain @acronym{ASCII} control characters,
used so often that they have special keys of their own.  For instance,
@key{TAB} was another name for @kbd{C-i}.  Later, users found it
convenient to distinguish in Emacs between these keys and the ``same''
control characters typed with the @key{CTRL} key.  Therefore, on most
modern terminals, they are no longer the same, and @key{TAB} is
distinguishable from @kbd{C-i}.

  Emacs can distinguish these two kinds of input if the keyboard does.
It treats the ``special'' keys as function keys named @code{tab},
@code{return}, @code{backspace}, @code{linefeed}, @code{escape}, and
@code{delete}.  These function keys translate automatically into the
corresponding @acronym{ASCII} characters @emph{if} they have no
bindings of their own.  As a result, neither users nor Lisp programs
need to pay attention to the distinction unless they care to.

  If you do not want to distinguish between (for example) @key{TAB} and
@kbd{C-i}, make just one binding, for the @acronym{ASCII} character @key{TAB}
(octal code 011).  If you do want to distinguish, make one binding for
this @acronym{ASCII} character, and another for the ``function key'' @code{tab}.

  With an ordinary @acronym{ASCII} terminal, there is no way to distinguish
between @key{TAB} and @kbd{C-i} (and likewise for other such pairs),
because the terminal sends the same character in both cases.

@node Mouse Buttons
@subsection Rebinding Mouse Buttons
@cindex mouse button events
@cindex rebinding mouse buttons
@cindex click events
@cindex drag events
@cindex down events
@cindex button down events

  Emacs uses Lisp symbols to designate mouse buttons, too.  The ordinary
mouse events in Emacs are @dfn{click} events; these happen when you
press a button and release it without moving the mouse.  You can also
get @dfn{drag} events, when you move the mouse while holding the button
down.  Drag events happen when you finally let go of the button.

  The symbols for basic click events are @code{mouse-1} for the leftmost
button, @code{mouse-2} for the next, and so on.  Here is how you can
redefine the second mouse button to split the current window:

(global-set-key [mouse-2] 'split-window-vertically)
@end example

  The symbols for drag events are similar, but have the prefix
@samp{drag-} before the word @samp{mouse}.  For example, dragging the
first button generates a @code{drag-mouse-1} event.

  You can also define bindings for events that occur when a mouse button
is pressed down.  These events start with @samp{down-} instead of
@samp{drag-}.  Such events are generated only if they have key bindings.
When you get a button-down event, a corresponding click or drag event
will always follow.

@cindex double clicks
@cindex triple clicks
  If you wish, you can distinguish single, double, and triple clicks.  A
double click means clicking a mouse button twice in approximately the
same place.  The first click generates an ordinary click event.  The
second click, if it comes soon enough, generates a double-click event
instead.  The event type for a double-click event starts with
@samp{double-}: for example, @code{double-mouse-3}.

  This means that you can give a special meaning to the second click at
the same place, but it must act on the assumption that the ordinary
single click definition has run when the first click was received.

  This constrains what you can do with double clicks, but user interface
designers say that this constraint ought to be followed in any case.  A
double click should do something similar to the single click, only
``more so.''  The command for the double-click event should perform the
extra work for the double click.

  If a double-click event has no binding, it changes to the
corresponding single-click event.  Thus, if you don't define a
particular double click specially, it executes the single-click command

  Emacs also supports triple-click events whose names start with
@samp{triple-}.  Emacs does not distinguish quadruple clicks as event
types; clicks beyond the third generate additional triple-click events.
However, the full number of clicks is recorded in the event list, so
if you know Emacs Lisp you can distinguish if you really want to
(@pxref{Accessing Events,,, elisp, The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual}).
We don't recommend distinct meanings for more than three clicks, but
sometimes it is useful for subsequent clicks to cycle through the same
set of three meanings, so that four clicks are equivalent to one
click, five are equivalent to two, and six are equivalent to three.

  Emacs also records multiple presses in drag and button-down events.
For example, when you press a button twice, then move the mouse while
holding the button, Emacs gets a @samp{double-drag-} event.  And at the
moment when you press it down for the second time, Emacs gets a
@samp{double-down-} event (which is ignored, like all button-down
events, if it has no binding).

@vindex double-click-time
  The variable @code{double-click-time} specifies how much time can
elapse between clicks and still allow them to be grouped as a multiple
click.  Its value is in units of milliseconds.  If the value is
@code{nil}, double clicks are not detected at all.  If the value is
@code{t}, then there is no time limit.  The default is 500.

@vindex double-click-fuzz
  The variable @code{double-click-fuzz} specifies how much the mouse
can move between clicks and still allow them to be grouped as a multiple
click.  Its value is in units of pixels on windowed displays and in
units of 1/8 of a character cell on text-mode terminals; the default is

  The symbols for mouse events also indicate the status of the modifier
keys, with the usual prefixes @samp{C-}, @samp{M-}, @samp{H-},
@samp{s-}, @samp{A-} and @samp{S-}.  These always precede @samp{double-}
or @samp{triple-}, which always precede @samp{drag-} or @samp{down-}.

  A frame includes areas that don't show text from the buffer, such as
the mode line and the scroll bar.  You can tell whether a mouse button
comes from a special area of the screen by means of dummy ``prefix
keys.''  For example, if you click the mouse in the mode line, you get
the prefix key @code{mode-line} before the ordinary mouse-button symbol.
Thus, here is how to define the command for clicking the first button in
a mode line to run @code{scroll-up}:

(global-set-key [mode-line mouse-1] 'scroll-up)
@end example

  Here is the complete list of these dummy prefix keys and their

@table @code
@item mode-line
The mouse was in the mode line of a window.
@item vertical-line
The mouse was in the vertical line separating side-by-side windows.  (If
you use scroll bars, they appear in place of these vertical lines.)
@item vertical-scroll-bar
The mouse was in a vertical scroll bar.  (This is the only kind of
scroll bar Emacs currently supports.)
@item menu-bar
The mouse was in the menu bar.
@item header-line
The mouse was in a header line.
@item horizontal-scroll-bar
The mouse was in a horizontal scroll bar.  Horizontal scroll bars do
horizontal scrolling, and people don't use them often.
@end ignore
@end table

  You can put more than one mouse button in a key sequence, but it isn't
usual to do so.

@node Disabling
@subsection Disabling Commands
@cindex disabled command

  Disabling a command means that invoking it interactively asks for
confirmation from the user.  The purpose of disabling a command is to
prevent users from executing it by accident; we do this for commands
that might be confusing to the uninitiated.

  Attempting to invoke a disabled command interactively in Emacs
displays a window containing the command's name, its documentation,
and some instructions on what to do immediately; then Emacs asks for
input saying whether to execute the command as requested, enable it
and execute it, or cancel.  If you decide to enable the command, you
must then answer another question---whether to do this permanently, or
just for the current session.  (Enabling permanently works by
automatically editing your @file{.emacs} file.)  You can also type
@kbd{!} to enable @emph{all} commands, for the current session only.

  The direct mechanism for disabling a command is to put a
non-@code{nil} @code{disabled} property on the Lisp symbol for the
command.  Here is the Lisp program to do this:

(put 'delete-region 'disabled t)
@end example

  If the value of the @code{disabled} property is a string, that string
is included in the message displayed when the command is used:

(put 'delete-region 'disabled
     "It's better to use `kill-region' instead.\n")
@end example

@findex disable-command
@findex enable-command
  You can make a command disabled either by editing the @file{.emacs}
file directly, or with the command @kbd{M-x disable-command}, which edits
the @file{.emacs} file for you.  Likewise, @kbd{M-x enable-command}
edits @file{.emacs} to enable a command permanently.  @xref{Init File}.

  If Emacs was invoked with the @option{-q} or @option{--no-init-file}
options (@pxref{Initial Options}), it will not edit your
@file{~/.emacs} init file.  Doing so could lose information
because Emacs has not read your init file.

  Whether a command is disabled is independent of what key is used to
invoke it; disabling also applies if the command is invoked using
@kbd{M-x}.  However, disabling a command has no effect on calling it
as a function from Lisp programs.

@node Syntax
@section The Syntax Table
@cindex syntax table

  All the Emacs commands which parse words or balance parentheses are
controlled by the @dfn{syntax table}.  The syntax table says which
characters are opening delimiters, which are parts of words, which are
string quotes, and so on.  It does this by assigning each character to
one of fifteen-odd @dfn{syntax classes}.  In some cases it specifies
some additional information also.

  Each major mode has its own syntax table (though related major modes
sometimes share one syntax table), which it installs in each buffer
that uses the mode.  The syntax table installed in the current buffer
is the one that all commands use, so we call it ``the'' syntax table.

@kindex C-h s
@findex describe-syntax
  To display a description of the contents of the current syntax
table, type @kbd{C-h s} (@code{describe-syntax}).  The description of
each character includes the string you would have to give to
@code{modify-syntax-entry} to set up that character's current syntax,
starting with the character which designates its syntax class, plus
some English text to explain its meaning.

  A syntax table is actually a Lisp object, a char-table, whose
elements are cons cells.  For full information on the syntax table,
see @ref{Syntax Tables,, Syntax Tables, elisp, The Emacs Lisp
Reference Manual}.

@node Init File
@section The Init File, @file{~/.emacs}
@cindex init file
@cindex Emacs initialization file
@cindex key rebinding, permanent
@cindex rebinding keys, permanently
@cindex startup (init file)

  When Emacs is started, it normally loads a Lisp program from the file
@file{.emacs} or @file{.emacs.el} in your home directory (@pxref{Find Init}).
We call this file your @dfn{init file} because it specifies how to
initialize Emacs for you.  You can use the command line switch
@samp{-q} to prevent loading your init file, and @samp{-u} (or
@samp{--user}) to specify a different user's init file (@pxref{Initial

  You can also use @file{~/.emacs.d/init.el} as the init file.  Emacs
tries this if it cannot find @file{~/.emacs} or @file{~/.emacs.el}.

@cindex @file{default.el}, the default init file
  There can also be a @dfn{default init file}, which is the library
named @file{default.el}, found via the standard search path for
libraries.  The Emacs distribution contains no such library; your site
may create one for local customizations.  If this library exists, it is
loaded whenever you start Emacs (except when you specify @samp{-q}).
But your init file, if any, is loaded first; if it sets
@code{inhibit-default-init} non-@code{nil}, then @file{default} is not

@cindex site init file
@cindex @file{site-start.el}, the site startup file
  Your site may also have a @dfn{site startup file}; this is named
@file{site-start.el}, if it exists.  Like @file{default.el}, Emacs
finds this file via the standard search path for Lisp libraries.
Emacs loads this library before it loads your init file.  To inhibit
loading of this library, use the option @samp{--no-site-file}.
@xref{Initial Options}.  We recommend against using
@file{site-start.el} for changes that some users may not like.  It is
better to put them in @file{default.el}, so that users can more easily
override them.

  You can place @file{default.el} and @file{site-start.el} in any of
the directories which Emacs searches for Lisp libraries.  The variable
@code{load-path} (@pxref{Lisp Libraries}) specifies these directories.
Many sites put these files in the @file{site-lisp} subdirectory of the
Emacs installation directory, typically

  If you have a large amount of code in your @file{.emacs} file, you
should rename it to @file{~/.emacs.el}, and byte-compile it.  @xref{Byte
Compilation,, Byte Compilation, elisp, the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual},
for more information about compiling Emacs Lisp programs.

  If you are going to write actual Emacs Lisp programs that go beyond
minor customization, you should read the @cite{Emacs Lisp Reference Manual}.
@xref{Top, Emacs Lisp, Emacs Lisp, elisp, the Emacs Lisp Reference
@end ifnottex

* Init Syntax::	        Syntax of constants in Emacs Lisp.
* Init Examples::       How to do some things with an init file.
* Terminal Init::       Each terminal type can have an init file.
* Find Init::	        How Emacs finds the init file.
* Init Non-ASCII::      Using non-@acronym{ASCII} characters in an init file.
@end menu

@node Init Syntax
@subsection Init File Syntax

  The @file{.emacs} file contains one or more Lisp function call
expressions.  Each of these consists of a function name followed by
arguments, all surrounded by parentheses.  For example, @code{(setq
fill-column 60)} calls the function @code{setq} to set the variable
@code{fill-column} (@pxref{Filling}) to 60.

  You can set any Lisp variable with @code{setq}, but with certain
variables @code{setq} won't do what you probably want in the
@file{.emacs} file.  Some variables automatically become buffer-local
when set with @code{setq}; what you want in @file{.emacs} is to set
the default value, using @code{setq-default}.  Some customizable minor
mode variables do special things to enable the mode when you set them
with Customize, but ordinary @code{setq} won't do that; to enable the
mode in your @file{.emacs} file, call the minor mode command.  The
following section has examples of both of these methods.

  The second argument to @code{setq} is an expression for the new
value of the variable.  This can be a constant, a variable, or a
function call expression.  In @file{.emacs}, constants are used most
of the time.  They can be:

@table @asis
@item Numbers:
Numbers are written in decimal, with an optional initial minus sign.

@item Strings:
@cindex Lisp string syntax
@cindex string syntax
Lisp string syntax is the same as C string syntax with a few extra
features.  Use a double-quote character to begin and end a string constant.

In a string, you can include newlines and special characters literally.
But often it is cleaner to use backslash sequences for them: @samp{\n}
for newline, @samp{\b} for backspace, @samp{\r} for carriage return,
@samp{\t} for tab, @samp{\f} for formfeed (control-L), @samp{\e} for
escape, @samp{\\} for a backslash, @samp{\"} for a double-quote, or
@samp{\@var{ooo}} for the character whose octal code is @var{ooo}.
Backslash and double-quote are the only characters for which backslash
sequences are mandatory.

@samp{\C-} can be used as a prefix for a control character, as in
@samp{\C-s} for @acronym{ASCII} control-S, and @samp{\M-} can be used as a prefix for
a Meta character, as in @samp{\M-a} for @kbd{Meta-A} or @samp{\M-\C-a} for

@xref{Init Non-ASCII}, for information about including
non-@acronym{ASCII} in your init file.

@item Characters:
Lisp character constant syntax consists of a @samp{?} followed by
either a character or an escape sequence starting with @samp{\}.
Examples: @code{?x}, @code{?\n}, @code{?\"}, @code{?\)}.  Note that
strings and characters are not interchangeable in Lisp; some contexts
require one and some contexts require the other.

@xref{Init Non-ASCII}, for information about binding commands to
keys which send non-@acronym{ASCII} characters.

@item True:
@code{t} stands for `true'.

@item False:
@code{nil} stands for `false'.

@item Other Lisp objects:
Write a single-quote (@code{'}) followed by the Lisp object you want.
@end table

@node Init Examples
@subsection Init File Examples

  Here are some examples of doing certain commonly desired things with
Lisp expressions:

@itemize @bullet
Make @key{TAB} in C mode just insert a tab if point is in the middle of a

(setq c-tab-always-indent nil)
@end example

Here we have a variable whose value is normally @code{t} for `true'
and the alternative is @code{nil} for `false'.

Make searches case sensitive by default (in all buffers that do not
override this).

(setq-default case-fold-search nil)
@end example

This sets the default value, which is effective in all buffers that do
not have local values for the variable.  Setting @code{case-fold-search}
with @code{setq} affects only the current buffer's local value, which
is not what you probably want to do in an init file.

@vindex user-mail-address
Specify your own email address, if Emacs can't figure it out correctly.

(setq user-mail-address "")
@end example

Various Emacs packages that need your own email address use the value of

Make Text mode the default mode for new buffers.

(setq default-major-mode 'text-mode)
@end example

Note that @code{text-mode} is used because it is the command for
entering Text mode.  The single-quote before it makes the symbol a
constant; otherwise, @code{text-mode} would be treated as a variable

@need 1500
Set up defaults for the Latin-1 character set
which supports most of the languages of Western Europe.

(set-language-environment "Latin-1")
@end example

@need 1500
Turn off Line Number mode, a global minor mode.

(line-number-mode 0)
@end example

@need 1500
Turn on Auto Fill mode automatically in Text mode and related modes.

(add-hook 'text-mode-hook
  '(lambda () (auto-fill-mode 1)))
@end example

This shows how to add a hook function to a normal hook variable
(@pxref{Hooks}).  The function we supply is a list starting with
@code{lambda}, with a single-quote in front of it to make it a list
constant rather than an expression.

It's beyond the scope of this manual to explain Lisp functions, but for
this example it is enough to know that the effect is to execute
@code{(auto-fill-mode 1)} when Text mode is entered.  You can replace
that with any other expression that you like, or with several
expressions in a row.

Emacs comes with a function named @code{turn-on-auto-fill} whose
definition is @code{(lambda () (auto-fill-mode 1))}.  Thus, a simpler
way to write the above example is as follows:

(add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'turn-on-auto-fill)
@end example

Load the installed Lisp library named @file{foo} (actually a file
@file{foo.elc} or @file{foo.el} in a standard Emacs directory).

(load "foo")
@end example

When the argument to @code{load} is a relative file name, not starting
with @samp{/} or @samp{~}, @code{load} searches the directories in
@code{load-path} (@pxref{Lisp Libraries}).

Load the compiled Lisp file @file{foo.elc} from your home directory.

(load "~/foo.elc")
@end example

Here an absolute file name is used, so no searching is done.

@cindex loading Lisp libraries automatically
@cindex autoload Lisp libraries
Tell Emacs to find the definition for the function @code{myfunction}
by loading a Lisp library named @file{mypackage} (i.e.@: a file
@file{mypackage.elc} or @file{mypackage.el}):

(autoload 'myfunction "mypackage" "Do what I say." t)
@end example

Here the string @code{"Do what I say."} is the function's
documentation string.  You specify it in the @code{autoload}
definition so it will be available for help commands even when the
package is not loaded.  The last argument, @code{t}, indicates that
this function is interactive; that is, it can be invoked interactively
by typing @kbd{M-x myfunction @key{RET}} or by binding it to a key.
If the function is not interactive, omit the @code{t} or use

Rebind the key @kbd{C-x l} to run the function @code{make-symbolic-link}
(@pxref{Init Rebinding}).

(global-set-key "\C-xl" 'make-symbolic-link)
@end example


(define-key global-map "\C-xl" 'make-symbolic-link)
@end example

Note once again the single-quote used to refer to the symbol
@code{make-symbolic-link} instead of its value as a variable.

Do the same thing for Lisp mode only.

(define-key lisp-mode-map "\C-xl" 'make-symbolic-link)
@end example

Redefine all keys which now run @code{next-line} in Fundamental mode
so that they run @code{forward-line} instead.

@findex substitute-key-definition
(substitute-key-definition 'next-line 'forward-line
@end example

Make @kbd{C-x C-v} undefined.

(global-unset-key "\C-x\C-v")
@end example

One reason to undefine a key is so that you can make it a prefix.
Simply defining @kbd{C-x C-v @var{anything}} will make @kbd{C-x C-v} a
prefix, but @kbd{C-x C-v} must first be freed of its usual non-prefix

Make @samp{$} have the syntax of punctuation in Text mode.
Note the use of a character constant for @samp{$}.

(modify-syntax-entry ?\$ "." text-mode-syntax-table)
@end example

Enable the use of the command @code{narrow-to-region} without confirmation.

(put 'narrow-to-region 'disabled nil)
@end example

Adjusting the configuration to various platforms and Emacs versions.

Users typically want Emacs to behave the same on all systems, so the
same init file is right for all platforms.  However, sometimes it
happens that a function you use for customizing Emacs is not available
on some platforms or in older Emacs versions.  To deal with that
situation, put the customization inside a conditional that tests whether
the function or facility is available, like this:

(if (fboundp 'blink-cursor-mode)
    (blink-cursor-mode 0))

(if (boundp 'coding-category-utf-8)
    (set-coding-priority '(coding-category-utf-8)))
@end example

You can also simply disregard the errors that occur if the
function is not defined.

(condition case ()
    (set-face-background 'region "grey75")
  (error nil))
@end example

A @code{setq} on a variable which does not exist is generally
harmless, so those do not need a conditional.
@end itemize

@node Terminal Init
@subsection Terminal-specific Initialization

  Each terminal type can have a Lisp library to be loaded into Emacs when
it is run on that type of terminal.  For a terminal type named
@var{termtype}, the library is called @file{term/@var{termtype}} and it is
found by searching the directories @code{load-path} as usual and trying the
suffixes @samp{.elc} and @samp{.el}.  Normally it appears in the
subdirectory @file{term} of the directory where most Emacs libraries are

  The usual purpose of the terminal-specific library is to map the
escape sequences used by the terminal's function keys onto more
meaningful names, using @code{function-key-map}.  See the file
@file{term/lk201.el} for an example of how this is done.  Many function
keys are mapped automatically according to the information in the
Termcap data base; the terminal-specific library needs to map only the
function keys that Termcap does not specify.

  When the terminal type contains a hyphen, only the part of the name
before the first hyphen is significant in choosing the library name.
Thus, terminal types @samp{aaa-48} and @samp{aaa-30-rv} both use
the library @file{term/aaa}.  The code in the library can use
@code{(getenv "TERM")} to find the full terminal type name.@refill

@vindex term-file-prefix
  The library's name is constructed by concatenating the value of the
variable @code{term-file-prefix} and the terminal type.  Your @file{.emacs}
file can prevent the loading of the terminal-specific library by setting
@code{term-file-prefix} to @code{nil}.

@vindex term-setup-hook
  Emacs runs the hook @code{term-setup-hook} at the end of
initialization, after both your @file{.emacs} file and any
terminal-specific library have been read in.  Add hook functions to this
hook if you wish to override part of any of the terminal-specific
libraries and to define initializations for terminals that do not have a
library.  @xref{Hooks}.

@node Find Init
@subsection How Emacs Finds Your Init File

  Normally Emacs uses the environment variable @env{HOME}
(@pxref{General Variables, HOME}) to find @file{.emacs}; that's what
@samp{~} means in a file name.  If @file{.emacs} is not found inside
@file{~/} (nor @file{.emacs.el}), Emacs looks for
@file{~/.emacs.d/init.el} (which, like @file{~/.emacs.el}, can be

  However, if you run Emacs from a shell started by @code{su}, Emacs
tries to find your own @file{.emacs}, not that of the user you are
currently pretending to be.  The idea is that you should get your own
editor customizations even if you are running as the super user.

  More precisely, Emacs first determines which user's init file to use.
It gets your user name from the environment variables @env{LOGNAME} and
@env{USER}; if neither of those exists, it uses effective user-ID.
If that user name matches the real user-ID, then Emacs uses @env{HOME};
otherwise, it looks up the home directory corresponding to that user
name in the system's data base of users.
@c  LocalWords:  backtab

@node Init Non-ASCII
@subsection Non-@acronym{ASCII} Characters in Init Files
@cindex international characters in @file{.emacs}
@cindex non-@acronym{ASCII} characters in @file{.emacs}
@cindex non-@acronym{ASCII} keys, binding
@cindex rebinding non-@acronym{ASCII} keys

  Language and coding systems may cause problems if your init file
contains non-@acronym{ASCII} characters, such as accented letters, in
strings or key bindings.

  If you want to use non-@acronym{ASCII} characters in your init file,
you should put a @w{@samp{-*-coding: @var{coding-system}-*-}} tag on
the first line of the init file, and specify a coding system that
supports the character(s) in question.  @xref{Recognize Coding}.  This
is because the defaults for decoding non-@acronym{ASCII} text might
not yet be set up by the time Emacs reads those parts of your init
file which use such strings, possibly leading Emacs to decode those
strings incorrectly.  You should then avoid adding Emacs Lisp code
that modifies the coding system in other ways, such as calls to

  To bind non-@acronym{ASCII} keys, you must use a vector (@pxref{Init
Rebinding}).  The string syntax cannot be used, since the
non-@acronym{ASCII} characters will be interpreted as meta keys.  For

(global-set-key [?@var{char}] 'some-function)
@end example

Type @kbd{C-q}, followed by the key you want to bind, to insert @var{char}.

  @strong{Warning:} if you change the keyboard encoding, or change
between multibyte and unibyte mode, or anything that would alter which
code @kbd{C-q} would insert for that character, this keybinding may
stop working.  It is therefore advisable to use one and only one
coding system, for your init file as well as the files you edit.  For
example, don't mix the @samp{latin-1} and @samp{latin-9} coding

   arch-tag: c68abddb-4410-4fb5-925f-63394e971d93
@end ignore