20.6.3 The Fill Prefix
To fill a paragraph in which each line starts with a special marker
(which might be a few spaces, giving an indented paragraph), use the
"fill prefix" feature. The fill prefix is a string which is not
included in filling. Emacs expects every line to start with a fill
Set the fill prefix (`set-fill-prefix').
Fill a paragraph using current fill prefix (`fill-paragraph').
Fill the region, considering each change of indentation as
starting a new paragraph.
To specify a fill prefix, move to a line that starts with the desired
prefix, put point at the end of the prefix, and give the command
`C-x .' (`set-fill-prefix'). That's a period after the `C-x'. To turn
off the fill prefix, specify an empty prefix: type `C-x .' with point
at the beginning of a line.
When a fill prefix is in effect, the fill commands remove the fill
prefix from each line before filling and insert it on each line after
filling. Auto Fill mode also inserts the fill prefix inserted on new
lines it creates. Lines that do not start with the fill prefix are
considered to start paragraphs, both in `M-q' and the paragraph
commands; this is just right if you are using paragraphs with hanging
indentation (every line indented except the first one). Lines which are
blank or indented once the prefix is removed also separate or start
paragraphs; this is what you want if you are writing multi-paragraph
comments with a comment delimiter on each line.
The fill prefix is stored in the variable `fill-prefix'. Its value
is a string, or `nil' when there is no fill prefix. This is a
per-buffer variable; altering the variable affects only the current
buffer, but there is a default value which you can change as well.
Another way to use fill prefixes is through `M-x
fill-individual-paragraphs'. This function divides the region into
groups of consecutive lines with the same amount and kind of
indentation and fills each group as a paragraph, using its indentation
as a fill prefix.
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