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I'm using hideshow and I like it. The package is recommending me that I use the keys C-c @ C-h to hide a block instead of typing some really long command. I'm familiar with C-c and with C-h, but I can't figure out what the @ means.

  • Following up on this question, is there any way to change the sequence of keys to something simpler? Like Tab and Shift Tab ? I find this sequence to be too long when working with org files. Thanks. – Anusha Apr 18 at 18:09
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@ doesn't mean anything, by itself, beside representing the @ key on your keyboard.

The key sequence C-c @ C-h is bound to command hs-hide-block in hs-minor-mode, that is, in keymap hs-minor-mode-map.

  • In that key sequence, C-c is a prefix key, which means it's bound to a keymap.

  • In that keymap, @ is a prefix key, which means it's bound to a keymap.

  • In that keymap, C-h is bound to command hs-hide-block


In hs-minor-mode, type C-c C-h to see the key bindings on prefix key C-c.

Conventionally, typing C-h after a prefix key shows you all of the keys on that prefix key. Prefix key C-c @ disobeys this convention, so C-c @ C-h does not show you all the keys on prefix key C-c @. Instead, it gives you hs-hide-block.

(IMHO, that's unfortunate, but presumably the author thought otherwise.)

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    You can use C-c @ <f1> to show all keys on prefix key C-c @. – npostavs Nov 16 '19 at 19:12
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    @npostavs: Yes. Good point. (IMHO, it's still too bad to not support the convention also with C-h.) – Drew Nov 17 '19 at 1:44
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I'm familiar with C-c and with C-h, but I can't figure out what the @ means.

It's the literal character @ for which your keyboard should have a key (or key sequence). On my keyboard @ is Shift+2.

So just type Ctrl+C and then type @

Conceptually it's no different to being told to type C-c a (for example).

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