When pair programming with emacs I've found it is hard for the person who is not typing ("driving") to follow scrolling. I've seen this both as the "passenger" and the "driver".

How can I make motion within the file easier to follow for other people?

I'm aware of the various smooth scrolling fixes, and I'm looking for some other visual indication here.

  • I'm not sure this question will have a definitive answer, you're better redefine your question. In all the cases, my tiny advice will be: first, use a tool like tmux or screen. When pair programming, I found it easier for everybody to follow, if there is two screen display.
    – Nsukami _
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 23:32
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    I am not a programmer and have no pair programming experience, but I like to use a custom minor mode that creates a cross-hair the entire vertical and horizontal length of the buffer. I often compose documents with clients watching what I am typing and seek their input while composing.
    – lawlist
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 23:35
  • Do you use a multi-window layout? In that case, you can configure the mode line so that the selected window stand out more than the others. Also, lh-line-mode makes it more clear where the cursor it. Oh, of course, make the cursor red or some other color that stand out more clearly. Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 19:26
  • lawlist: It's not so much where the cursor is in the window that's the problem, but rather where the window is in the file, and which file I'm viewing. Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 21:22
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    @CroadLangshan "are you talking about the "passenger" having a separate window to look at that follows the motion of the "driver's" window?" Yes I am. Also, (global-hl-line-mode 1) & (setq scroll-step 1) could help (I hope).
    – Nsukami _
    Commented Mar 22, 2015 at 0:29

1 Answer 1


beacon is a solution for losing the cursor. See a gif demo on the page. Whenever the window scrolls a light will shine on top of your cursor so you know where it is.

sublimity helps identify the location of the window in the document.

minimap helps with the window also.

  • sublimity and minimap: This is a good idea, but I think unless it shows smooth and prompt motion on the timescale of human perception (a big, probably infeasible ask from an elisp package right now, I would guess), the inactive pairing partner is not going to get a useful cue re the large-scale motion of point within the buffer. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 21:55
  • They both do that successfully in my opinion.
    – Hatshepsut
    Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 21:57
  • Also, I think you should split up your answer into three answers -- then I'd be happy to upvote the beacon one, which I've never seen before, have just installed, and I suspect people I pair with will find useful :-) Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 21:59
  • Maybe my machine is too slow? It would be interesting to see a video screencast. Commented Jul 8, 2018 at 22:01

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