I wanted to read the Ido documentation offline from Emacs.

I read in the NEWS file of Emacs 24.5 that since the 24.4 version an "Ido user manual is now included" (line 608). But it was not possible to find anything in the main manual about Ido.

Then, after searching more, I found out that the info-display-manual command made possible to reach the ido manual. I also found later that it was listed in the INFO tree (M-x info-directory).

I admit that I should have known more about how to access info-display-manual and the INFO tree, but why these kind of packages (part of the vanilla Emacs) are not linked in the main manual (as far as I know)?

  • 1
    What is the "main manual"?
    – T. Verron
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 12:37
  • Instructive question @T.Verron: I thought the main directory for documentation was what is found at M-x info emacs` and didn't know there was an upper directory (M-x info ret). Sorry, I wasn't very aware of the Info usage, maybe because I used mostly a paper manual until there.
    – smonff
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 13:49
  • @T.Verron note that the top level of the info directory contains more than just Emacs documentation. Many Linux programs install info manuals, even ones that have nothing to do with Emacs. I have info manuals for LaTeX2e, Maxima, R etc. None of these are part of Emacs. So I think it is correct to consider the Emacs info file to be the 'main manual'. This is what you see when you call info-emacs-manual, C-h r.
    – Tyler
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 15:09
  • @Tyler Yes, I know "info" contains much more than emacs, but I didn't know about info-emacs-manual.
    – T. Verron
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 5:04
  • @T.Verron sorry, I misinterpreted your comment!
    – Tyler
    Commented Jul 9, 2016 at 12:08

1 Answer 1


Good question! I see that ido isn't listed in the index, nor does it appear anywhere outside the 'Acknowledgements' section of the Emacs manual. Presumably that's because the Emacs manual is already huge, and is meant to deal only with the core functions of Emacs.

A lot of core components have their own manuals: RefTex, org-mode, CC mode etc. However, most of these are linked from the Emacs manual at appropriate locations. If you find a spot where it would make sense to link to the ido manual, that may be worth submitting as a documentation bug.

  • After reading upper @t-verron comment, I understood it was a bad understanding that I always had of the Info documentation reader usage and the associated "root" of manuals. I'll think of checking if it should be improved or if this is my only fault of dumb user.
    – smonff
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 13:57
  • Actually there have always been some authors of packages that refuse to provide an info interface. Such packages have their own ways of triggering help screens. In almost all their cases, it is impossible to integrate and to remember to trigger the screens differently. Helm is one of them.
    – Emacs User
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 14:50
  • @EmacsUser I think this is different - helm has no info manual, so there's nothing to link to from the Emacs info manual. Also, helm isn't part of the Emacs core. Ido is part of Emacs core, and does have an info manual. So there's no reason it couldn't be linked.
    – Tyler
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 15:04
  • In my normal workflow, I usually don't think in terms of core and not core. But I understand your point that one deserves to be more integrated than the other.
    – Emacs User
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 16:54

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