When I do M-x describe-face, the default face is, according to the doc,

"the faces of the character after point"

However, looking at the *Fancy Diary Entries* buffer, I see many different colors, and M-x describe-face offers the diary-button as the default for some characters that have different colors (and the sample in the *Help* buffer for one of them does not match its appearance).

Moreover, (get-char-property (point) 'face) returns diary-button for both of those characters and (face-at-point nil t) returns (diary-button) for them too.

So, how come two characters in the same buffer have different colors but the same faces?

  • It might be using overlays, which is a different system than text properties for highlighting text? Sep 23 at 14:59
  • You can use the package github.com/Lindydancer/face-explorer to do a more in-depth analysis of the faces in the buffer. It should be able to inspect both text properties and overlays. Sep 23 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


Try M-x describe-char

That doesn't have a default key binding, but what-cursor-position (which does) shows the same information if you pass its DETAIL argument:


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.