Whenever I call


, there is no history of what variables I've recently viewed. Is there a way to enable it to have some kind of history?;)

  • 1
    You can do l in a *Help* buffer to go back in history, but you cannot select just variables: you'll get all of them (functions, keys, variables, anything). See help-go-back and help-xref-stack.
    – NickD
    Commented Jul 15, 2023 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


The short answer is "No", you can't do this out of the box, AFAIK.

C-h v (bound to describe-variable) uses completing-read with a nil value as its HISTORY argument. That means it uses minibuffer-history as the history variable, and the value of that variable mixes in lots of minibuffer inputs that you've entered, for different kinds of commands (it's a catch-all).

You would need to advise describe-variable to change its interactive spec to use completing-read with a specific (new) variable as the HISTORY argument, e.g. my-C-v-history. Then you could just use C-h v my-C-h-v-history, to see its value at any time.

Alternatively, you could define your own command my-describe-variable, which does that (just copy the describe-variable code and change that nil to my-C-h-v-history), and bind your command to C-h v.

FWIW, C-h M-n M-n... cycles through all of the variables, not just those you've entered as input to C-h v, but it may be worth knowing this fact. They're not in a recognizable order, however (the order is their order as symbols in obarray).

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