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Questions tagged [help]

Questions about using the built-in help system in Emacs or how to find help.

34
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the difference between a function and a command?

When posting questions and answers here, people sometimes use the terms "function" and "command" interchangeably. In other cases, people only use one of the two terms to discuss specific pieces of ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a command `describe-command', similar to command `describe-function'?

I use C-h f heavily, but this is all functions in Emacs. I'm often only interested in interactive functions, i.e. commands. Is there an equivalent for commands? Ideally I'd like ido completion too.
8
votes
4answers
164 views

How can I look up help for a key sequence that I can't type

I know that I can look up help for a key sequence using C-h k <key sequence>, but I use Emacs in the terminal, and my terminal emulator doesn't pass all key sequences through to Emacs. Sometimes ...
7
votes
3answers
192 views

How can I have multiple *Help* buffers with different content?

Using C-h f and C-h v shows usefull help. Sometimes I want to compare information. So it would be useful to have more than one *Help* buffer, with different content, visible at the same time. But ...
7
votes
1answer
256 views

How to describe a key sequence that starts with `C-u`?

I am trying to use C-h k to describe the function to which a key is bound. But when I use it with a key chord like C-u C-e C-x it retrieves the documentation for C-u before I can finish typing the ...
7
votes
2answers
394 views

How can I find out exactly what my modeline is telling me?

I'd like to know exactly what my modeline is telling me and how it's derived. Right now, if I'm working with a graphical terminal I can hover over each modeline entry in turn, and if I'm lucky, a ...
6
votes
2answers
246 views

How to view package Full Description (commentary section) inside Emacs

I'm looking for a way to visualize inside Emacs the Full Description of a package as shown in Elpa index page. For example the undo-tree package has a nice and comprehensive help page/description ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does GNU Emacs use ksi(ξ) as its logo?

Why does GNU Emacs use ksi(ξ) as its logo, while most Lisp dialects use lambda(λ) as their logos? not mean this one:
6
votes
1answer
44 views

How do I customize the way Emacs prints out certain keys and key sequences?

For example, I want Control key to be displayed not as C but as ⎈ (U+2388 HELM SYMBOL) in the minibuffer. Trying to personalize my Emacs and display all function keys as ISO symbols. And sequences to ...
6
votes
1answer
865 views

How do I create a button in Emacs?

I'm trying to create *Help* buffers in Emacs, documenting functions defined in other languages. I can create a simple help buffer easily: (defun wh/help-hello-world () (interactive) (with-help-...
5
votes
3answers
275 views

If I know a keybinding/shortcut, how to get the corresponding function?

I want to use the function to switch to other window when there are only 2 windows in emacs. I know that the shortcut is C-x o, but I don't know which function that shortcut calls. How do I ...
5
votes
2answers
423 views

What bindings start with H-z?

When I type H-z, emacs waits for more input, so I assume something is bound to H-z plus something else, only in this case C-h k H-z also just waits for more input. How can I find out what is bound to ...
5
votes
3answers
497 views

How to see the name of the command every time I run it by a shortcut?

Whenever one runs a function/command for which there is already a shortcut, Emacs shows briefly a message in the echo area to recall that there is a shortcut associated with that command. For example ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

Not found lisp reference manual within emacs

I was expecting the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual at (C-h i m elisp). But there was no menu elisp or lisp there. C-h v and C-h f work fine for variables or functions though. C-h i 5 takes me to file ...
5
votes
3answers
424 views

lazy find/search for commands within emacs

Is there a way to do a lazy find/search within EMACS, for commands using their description? Something in the lines of: Say I am looking for how to add indent to org mode I suspect there is a ...
4
votes
1answer
448 views

How to look up documentation for a minor mode?

I just decided that I should try the outline-minor-mode for showing and hiding Emacs lisp defun definitions in an Emacs Lisp file. So I typed M-x outline-minor-mode and then I would like to get an ...
4
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the correct way to pop up a window with a message, and locally bind a key in that buffer?

What would be the proper way to pop up a window (preferably in the current frame),with a message? I also want to locally (in that buffer only) the q key to a function that will kill the buffer and the ...
4
votes
2answers
97 views

Understanding “It is bound to …” message in describe-function

If you ask for a function description, there is a line that starts: It is bound to <...> <...> <...> For example, for isearch it says: It is bound to <menu-bar> <search&...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

Key binding help for magit popup-based commands

Magit implements multi-key bindings in a nonstandard way: the first key runs a command that displays a “popup”, i.e. a buffer in a special mode that displays usage instructions, and the second key is ...
4
votes
1answer
59 views

Smarter behaviour for “rename-uniquely”?

I am starting to use "rename-uniquely" for help buffers so I can see multiple function helps at the same time. However, what I get is: *Help* *Help*<2> *Help*<3> etc What I would ...
3
votes
2answers
582 views

Change focus to *Help* buffer after running describe-mode

When I type C-h m for describe-mode the frame splits into two windows with the current buffer on top and the *Help* buffer below. But the focus stays in the current buffer, so I usually have to type C-...
3
votes
2answers
57 views

Confused by the Emacs Lisp doc : Adjusting Point After Commands

I am on the trip of reading GNU Emacs Lisp Manual, and section 20.6 has the following text: It is not easy to display a value of point in the middle of a sequence of text that has the ‘display’, ‘...
3
votes
3answers
53 views

In the help page of a function/variable, how to jump to the corresponding part in the manual?

Sometimes the doc is just confusing without proper background knowledge mentioned in the manual (Info). How to jump to the manual from the help buffer?
3
votes
1answer
80 views

(delete-backward-char) needs an argument?

I have written a function to yank a selected region n times. I get a warning however because of the (delete-backward-char) although it seems to work. Does the (delete-backward-char) need an argument? ...
3
votes
1answer
308 views

Emacs hangs after describe-variable on package-archive-contents

When I try run describe-variable on package-archive-contents C-h v package-archive-contents emacs hangs. It hangs at least 5 minutes, maybe forever (I did not wait any longer). Seems like Esc : (...
3
votes
1answer
255 views

Org mode: How can I add a section-name only frame to beamer slides?

I currently have: #+options: H:2 and... * Introduction ** Some definition + list item1 + list item2 So I get Introduction section in the Outline, and a frame for Some definitionand those ...
3
votes
0answers
146 views

Info basics: where is package Info?

I just grabbed csv from elpa (melpa) and, of course, the install buffer had the blurb about csv. I take it that blurb is an Info file somewhere? Or is it just a section of the csv.el comments? In ...
3
votes
0answers
63 views

“helm-documentation”? (search docstrings like apropos-documentation but with helm)

I just started using helm-apropos. It's great! Is there a helm equivalent for apropos-documentation or alternatively does helm-apropos have sources already available to narrow over docstrings?
2
votes
2answers
108 views

Disabling quote conversion in docstrings

(defun foo () "`bar'") The ASCII quotes in this docstring are displayed as typographical quotes by describe-function. Is it possible to have them displayed in their original form?
2
votes
1answer
241 views

Meaning of “value is t”

When using describe-variable, often the value for a variable is listed as: Its value is t What does that mean and why specifically t?
2
votes
1answer
384 views

How to see the code of a built-in function [duplicate]

How can I see the code of a built-in function? I'd like to look at the code of functions such as upcase-region. I looked at the completion list that I pulled up by "find-library TAB", but the list is ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Info file emacs does not exist

When I type C-h r I get error: Debugger entered--Lisp error: (error "Info file emacs does not exist") signal(error ("Info file emacs does not exist")) error("Info file %s does not exist" "...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

Help needed to debug (very) slow markdown-mode

I come back to emacs after an eternity without using it. I used it before but now that I'm a grown up I'd like to understand what I do and how to do stuff. I use emacs mainly for markdown edit at the ...
2
votes
2answers
37 views

Format help buffers to specific width

I'm helping a visually impaired user make viewing documentation in Emacs easier. He sets his font size such that he has about 40 columns of text in a full-screen frame with no splits (and he has ...
2
votes
1answer
217 views

Finding emacs release notes

What's the best source of emacs release notes - especially for reading prior to installing an update? I searched Google for "emacs release notes". There are some posts about specific releases (and ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

What keys can I use to create/delete and select side windows?

I have a shell buffer that's a good candidate for a side window: I also regularly use an org buffer, that's always good to have around. https://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/draft/manual/html_node/elisp/...
2
votes
2answers
577 views

What does dependency mean in the Status field of a package shown in list-packages

The command list-packages shows the list of available packages. A Status column appears with several possible values: available installed dependency built-in incompat And the packages seem to be ...
2
votes
1answer
128 views

Documentation for mode-line-emphasis and mode-line-interactive

I'm seeing mode-line-emphasis and mode-line-inactive used in color themes to change the mode-line face value for used and unused buffers. describe-function and describe-variable don't have an entry ...
2
votes
1answer
99 views

Documentation of the action of a button

I want to know what happens if I click on a button (a link) in an Emacs buffer, so I type C-h c (describe-key-briefly) and click the button, but all I'm told is: <mouse-2> (translated from <...
2
votes
1answer
322 views

Where is the file for the Fancy Startup Screen

I'm trying to find where the contents of the *GNU Emacs* buffer, aka fancy startup screen, are located on my hard drive. When I M-x eval-expression buffer-file-name to find the file of the current ...
2
votes
1answer
383 views

How go to Emacs lisp source function from my custom elisp file?

Windows 10, Emacs 25.1. Path to Emacs: d:\Programs\emacs I write on Elisp. And very ofter I want by any key press go to Emacs lisp function. E.g. Here snippet of my elisp file: (setq line (buffer-...
2
votes
1answer
162 views

Please explain the behaviour of this emacs feature. (Lisp Interaction mode, truncate long lines)

Sometimes when a function or variable outputs a very long line, it ends with ...). When the cursor is on that line and I press return, the line gets longer (probably expanded). I guess this is some ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

How best to export functions in dynamic modules

Background I am running Emacs version GNU Emacs 26.0.50 (build 1, x86_64-pc-linux-gnu, X toolkit, Xaw3d scroll bars) of 2017-05-28 I am writing a toy dynamic module to interface with GNU/Linux ...
2
votes
1answer
612 views

Help Buffer on Hover Possible?

I'm looking for something similar to Eldoc mode (hover over a function and the parameter list appears in the minibuffer), only I'd like to have a help buffer appear, as if I had just run describe-...
2
votes
0answers
168 views

Emacs can not access its own manual

I just installed Emacs 25.2 on my computer, but I can not access its manual. when I press C-h r this screen opens which lacks any links related to the Emacs manual. Futhermore, the echo area displays ...
2
votes
0answers
194 views

Remapping help-map

I'm trying to remap some keys in help-map, but the following does not work: (define-key help-map [remap describe-mode] #'my-describe-mode) Remapping in the global map does work, however: (global-...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

Canonical list of minor modes

In describe-mode's definition (in help.el), there's the following piece of code: ;; Older packages do not register in minor-mode-list but only in ;; minor-mode-alist. (dolist (x minor-mode-alist) (...
1
vote
6answers
625 views

How to get the function help without typing?

I'm already used to press C-h f and type a function name to ask for help on that function. But if the function name is already under the cursor (e.g. while visiting the .emacs configuration file), is ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What are possible real use cases of the Emacs “psychotherapist” mode? [closed]

It is well known that when you type M-x doctor, a kind of AI program prompt you to write about your problems, as a psychotherapist does. Some said it's an easter egg, but it seems it goes beyond the ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

How do you view history of nodes visited when reading through documentation?

Also, can you view any metadata stored which describes the manuals/top level nodes you have previously visited?