What face/text/other property should I use to have mode-line text look like a button/link/stuff to click on while I am hovering over it with the cursor?

Some examples:

  • different background,
  • 3D-like button decoration,
  • colorful frame/border displayed around it
  • other visual cues would be fine as well (as I don't know what choices are avaliable).

Otherwise it should just look like any ordinary text.

Below is a fragment of my custom mode-line which I'd like to enhance:

(setq mode-line-format
      (concat "[" (propertize "f" 'face 'aria2-modeline-key-face) "]:add file")
      'local-map (make-mode-line-mouse-map 'mouse-1 'aria2-add-file)) " "
     ;; [...]

PS: Is there some list of available text properties (for header/mode-line, buffer, frame border etc.) and their meanings?

2 Answers 2


You can use the mouse-face property.

For example, the following snippet will make "f" look like a button when you hover the mouse pointer over it:

(setq mode-line-format
      (concat "[" (propertize "f" 'mouse-face 'mode-line-highlight) "]:add file")
      'local-map (make-mode-line-mouse-map 'mouse-1 'aria2-add-file)) " "))

Face button or face link. Use M-x list-faces-display to see all faces currently defined.

(That said, I personally think that the standard behavior is not bad: mouseover to see whether a particular part of the mode line is a link/button and whether it has a menu etc.)

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