Thanks to helm-swoop, I know how to display occurrences of a single word. Now, I'd like to display at the same time occurrences of many different words (of a given, single buffer).

Let me be specific: say, I have a buffer containing multiple occurrences of the two words 'Hello' and 'Bye', and I'd like to check each 'Hello' is followed by a 'Bye' before any further 'Hello'. For this, I'd like to filter at the same time the occurrences of these two words. How could I achieve this?


Using helm-swoop


Use helm-swoop to find occurrences of words WORD1 and WORD2 in the buffer.

M-x helm-swoop RET WORD1\|WORD2 RET

Old answer

Use helm-swoop to find occurrences of pairs of words WORD1 and WORD2 in the buffer, in the same line.

M-x helm-swoop RET WORD1 WORD2 RET

enter image description here

  • For some reason I don't understand, that doesn't work with my GNU Emacs 24.4.1 (i686-pc-linux-gnu, GTK+ Version 3.10.6) and an up to date helm-swoop (version 20150121.20), as shown by this screenshot. What could I check? – Denis Bitouzé Jan 21 '15 at 17:31
  • @DenisBitouzé the words have to be on the same line. Give it a prefix argument if you want it to cross lines. (like C-u 4 M-x helm-swoop to search across 4 lines.) – nanny Jan 21 '15 at 18:06
  • Unfortunately, the words are disseminated in the whole big file. – Denis Bitouzé Jan 21 '15 at 18:11
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    @DenisBitouzé For such cases, I use the non-helm way: C-M-s WORD1[[:ascii:][:nonascii:]]*?WORD2. This does search of WORD1 followed any anything, even multiple lines, followed by WORD2. – Kaushal Modi Jan 21 '15 at 18:31

If the question is not limited to Helm, you can do this in Icicles using command icicle-occur (bound to C-c ') in either of these ways, depending on what you want:

  • Type the regexp Hello.*Bye, if you want to look for Hello followed by Bye.

  • Type Hello then S-SPC then Bye, if you want to look for both words in either order.

C-c ' uses lines as search contexts. Whatever you type as the dynamic text to look for in lines is matched.

The two examples above assume that you want to match both Hello and Bye in the same line. If you want to match either instead of both within a line, then use a pattern that matches either: Hello\|Bye.

  • Am I supposed to hit ENTER after that? In such a case, it doesn't work neither. – Denis Bitouzé Jan 21 '15 at 17:52
  • Please read the doc a bit. S-TAB shows you all of the matches. C-down to cycle among matches. RET to exit (stay at) a match. "It doesn't work" is not particularly helpful in letting me understand your problem so that I can help you. My advice, if you are interested, is to start with the doc. That's why I linked to it. – Drew Jan 21 '15 at 18:00
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    I'm sorry, despite a look at the doc, I couldn't make it work. Here is my workflow: C-c ' → Choose an occurrence: → Hello → S-SPC → [2] Match also (regexp): → Bye. And then, nothing happens e.g. if I hit S-TAB (except [No apropos completion] appears for few seconds). – Denis Bitouzé Jan 21 '15 at 18:30
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    If you want to match lines that have either Hello or Bye, then use C-c ' with, for example, regexp Hello\|Bye (use S-TAB to see the matches). If you want to match text within occurrences of Hello and Bye (anywhere - i.e., search only the Hello and Bye zones of text) then use C-c ` with the context-defining regexp Hello\|Bye. Beyond this help, please see the doc. This is not the place for a discussion or a tutorial. – Drew Jan 21 '15 at 18:59
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    "One of the helm-swoop's advantages..." - The same is true in Icicles, using C- with the navigate keys (e.g., C-down vs just down), as I said. One advantage of having both is that you can, if you want, cycle to choose particular occurrences to visit, without needing to visit the occurrences in between. If you want to visit them, then just hold down the modifier key C- while you cycle. You can also sort the matches in various ways, so that you cycle in different orders - another advantage of showing matches both separately and in context. (All in the Icicles docs, of course.) – Drew Jan 21 '15 at 21:43

Thanks to @Drew answer, I could manage to make helm-swoop filter at the same time the occurrences of two words (say 'Hello' and 'Bye'): M-x helm-swoop RET Hello\|Bye.

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    Great, but then change the accepted answer to one of the Helm answers (yours or kaushalmodi's which also have this solution added), so those who search for this Helm problem and find this helm-swoop question, can see the Helm answer as accepted, because that's what they are interested in, and that's what fits the question. – Tom Jan 22 '15 at 16:21

Using Occur


Use Occur to find occurrences of words WORD1 and WORD2 in the buffer.

M-x occur RET WORD1\|WORD2 RET

Then use M-g M-n and M-g M-p to navigate the results from the buffer containing text.

Old answer

Use Occur to find occurrences of pairs of words WORD1 and WORD2 in the buffer, which could be across multiple lines.

M-x occur RET WORD1[[:ascii:][:nonascii:]]*?WORD2 RET

enter image description here

Note: Word highlighting is done using hl-anything package, available through Melpa.

  • AFAICS, this doesn't filter the relevant lines. – Denis Bitouzé Jan 21 '15 at 20:06
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    @DenisBitouzé I then did not understand how you wanted the filtering to be done. First have a look at the last occurrence of Hello and Bye in the *scratch* buffer. Now look at last match in the *Occur* buffer.. you will see that it has filtered out only the line including and between the lines containing those 2 words, from line 32 to line 35. The previous occurrence of those 2 words was between lines 25-26, and so on. In all, it found 5 occurrences of Hello ... Bye across multiple lines. – Kaushal Modi Jan 21 '15 at 20:18
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    @DenisBitouzé From your comments in the other post, I realized you need to see all occurrences of Hello and Bye, not necessarily in pairs. In that case, the same Hello\|Bye expression would work for Occur too. About navigating easily to all the occurrences, it is already supported out-of-the box, use M-g M-n and M-g M-p from the buffer containing the text. – Kaushal Modi Jan 21 '15 at 20:24

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