Through some key combinations somehow I am trapped in this mode:

enter image description here

Orange highlight appears on the left hand side and a orange cursor is activated. It does not look like it is selecting anything.

I tried CTRL-g but I cannot get out of this mode.

My questions:

1) What is this mode? It is not obvious in the status bar

enter image description here

2) How can I get out of this?

  • 5
    C-h m will tell you all of the enabled minor modes.
    – phils
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 0:35
  • q normally gets you out of dired-mode. What does that do for you?
    – dcorking
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


I don't use spacemacs, but it looks like may be diff-hl. See spacemacs version control and diff-hl.


Your status bar screenshot says „Dired by name” in the major mode description field, which is the mode you're in (activated by C-x d). It is Emacs' equivalent to your usual GUI file manager. To leave it, just press q (or C-k if spacemacs is in evil mode and does not recognize q), to learn what you can do here, press C-h m to get a description of the mode and the key bindings. If you're interested in going deeper, I'd recommend C-h i m emacs (the manual of Emacs in the Info reader) and reading the dired documentation.

Sorry, I mistook the question for an Emacs-newcomer one. The orange hints in the gutter area seem to be version control notifications (see the comments below).

  • My question is about what mode causes the orange highlight. It is not about the dired mode. Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 11:12
  • oh, sorry, I mistook your question for a newbie one then. Since the orange is in the gutter area –– do you use a version control system on that directory? It resembles a VCS notification of changes.
    – user17303
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 15:30
  • Or, asked the other way around, can you approximately recall those „some key combinations”?
    – user17303
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 23:29
  • Answer to your earlier comment: I am using git in that directory; Sorry I cannot remember the key sequence. That's why I posted this question about how to find it out. Thanks. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 23:31
  • You're welcome. Does that mean we have found the solution? In that case, I'd just update the crossed-out answer ;-)
    – user17303
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 23:34

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