When a new user types M-x narrow-to-region, Emacs will prompt for a query:

Please type y, n, ! or SPC (the space bar): _

where the _ stands for a cursor.

Thus, Emacs only accepts these 4 character inputs: y, n, ! and SPC.

It refused most other commands and caused some troubles so that I:

  • cannot move the cursor so that I cannot copy the prompt-string to this question.

  • cannot C-x o to the *Disabled Command* buffer (because of the first trouble), which shows some helpful information about the disabled command narrow-to-region.
    In other words, I cannot do anything in that buffer.

  • cannot click on the hyperlink save-restriction in the buffer *Disabled Command*.
    It makes the usage of hyperlink in the sentence:

    See also save-restriction.


How to avoid the trouble described by the question title?

emacs-version: 28.2; system-configuration: x86_64-w64-mingw32

  • Put the version info into the question. Comments can be deleted at any time. Thx.
    – Drew
    Mar 12, 2023 at 16:11
  • 2
    FYI - I just submitted Emacs bug #62146 for this.
    – Drew
    Mar 12, 2023 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


This dialog is modal: there is indeed no way to go forward other than pressing one of the indicated keys. But:

  • You can answer n and then visit the *Messages* buffer to copy the prompt string.
  • The *Disabled Command* buffer is for the new user to read, not to do anything with. The contents should be small enough so that a full frame Emacs would show all of it (and you can enlarge the frame: that's a WM command outside of Emacs).
  • The link is part of the doc string of the command, so after saying n, you can always say C-h f narrow-to-region and click on the link in the *Help* buffer.

Finally, if you think that this behavior should be changed, you can open a bug with M-x report-emacs-bug and suggest an enhancement.

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