I have a snippet called struct. And I write text complex_struct in a snippet field. yasnippet will expand complex_struct with the snippet struct. I have to move backward one character to avoid this behavior.

So I hope there is an indicator like make cursor change color to red, and style. Or change text face etc.

Here is the snippet code:

# -*- mode: snippet -*-
# name: struct
# key: struct
# --
struct ${1:name} {

# -*- mode: snippet -*-
# name: complex_struct
# key: complex_struct
# --
complex struct ${1:name} {

When I type text like the following:


The point is at position (|). It will be expanded from snippet struct instead of complex_struct. I don't want to change yasnippet expand detect characters list. Just want to show which text is expandable (Like struct in this case).

I have a demo code to change cursor style dynamically:

;; change cursor dynamically when prefix text is expandable.
(defun my-cursor-change-on-snippet ()
  ;; (yas-next-field-or-maybe-expand)
  (if (or yas-triggers-in-field ; FIXME: improve condition
        (set-cursor-color "red")
        (setq cursor-type 'hollow))
    (set-cursor-color "cyan")
    (setq cursor-type '(hbar . 2))

(add-hook 'post-command-hook #'my-cursor-change-on-snippet)

1 Answer 1


This can be implemented with yas--templates-for-key-at-point, that's an internal function so it's not guaranteed to keep working, but it should be fine for at least the next year or so.

(defvar-local yas--expandable-keys-overlay nil)

(defun yas-show-expand-keys ()
  "Put overlay on text which is an expandable snippet key.
This function is intended to be added to `post-command-hook'."
  (let ((keys-at-point (and yas-minor-mode (yas--templates-for-key-at-point)))
        (have-overlay (overlayp (buffer-local-value 'yas--expandable-keys-overlay (current-buffer)))))
    (if keys-at-point
        (let ((beg (nth 1 keys-at-point))
              (end (nth 2 keys-at-point)))
          (if have-overlay
              (move-overlay yas--expandable-keys-overlay beg end)
            (setq-local yas--expandable-keys-overlay
                        (make-overlay beg end)))
          (overlay-put yas--expandable-keys-overlay 'face '(:box t)))
      (when have-overlay
        (delete-overlay yas--expandable-keys-overlay)))))

(add-hook 'post-command-hook #'yas-show-expand-keys)

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