(xemacs.info)Meta Key

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2.1.4 Assignment of the <META> Key

Not all terminals have the complete set of modifiers.  Terminals that
have a <Meta> key allow you to type Meta characters by just holding
that key down.  To type `Meta-a', hold down <META> and press `a'.  On
those terminals, the <META> key works like the <SHIFT> key.  Such a key
is not always labeled <META>, however, as this function is often a
special option for a key with some other primary purpose.

   If there is no <META> key, you can still type Meta characters using
two-character sequences starting with <ESC>.  To enter `M-a', you could
type `<ESC> a'.  To enter `C-M-a', you would type `ESC C-a'.  <ESC> is
allowed on terminals with Meta keys, too, in case you have formed a
habit of using it.

   If you are running under X and do not have a <META> key, it is
possible to reconfigure some other key to be a <META> key.  Note: Super
and Hyper Keys.

   Emacs believes the terminal has a <META> key if the variable
`meta-flag' is non-`nil'.  Normally this is set automatically according
to the termcap entry for your terminal type.  However, sometimes the
termcap entry is wrong, and then it is useful to set this variable
yourself.  Note: Variables, for how to do this.

   Note: If you are running under the X window system, the setting of
the `meta-flag' variable is irrelevant.

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