6 The Minibuffer
The "minibuffer" is the facility used by XEmacs commands to read
arguments more complicated than a single number. Minibuffer arguments
can be file names, buffer names, Lisp function names, XEmacs command
names, Lisp expressions, and many other things, depending on the command
reading the argument. You can use the usual XEmacs editing commands in
the minibuffer to edit the argument text.
When the minibuffer is in use, it appears in the echo area, and the
cursor moves there. The beginning of the minibuffer line displays a
"prompt" which says what kind of input you should supply and how it
will be used. Often this prompt is derived from the name of the command
that the argument is for. The prompt normally ends with a colon.
Sometimes a "default argument" appears in parentheses after the
colon; it, too, is part of the prompt. The default is used as the
argument value if you enter an empty argument (e.g., by just typing
<RET>). For example, commands that read buffer names always show a
default, which is the name of the buffer that will be used if you type
The simplest way to enter a minibuffer argument is to type the text
you want, terminated by <RET> which exits the minibuffer. You can
cancel the command that wants the argument, and get out of the
minibuffer, by typing `C-g'.
Since the minibuffer uses the screen space of the echo area, it can
conflict with other ways XEmacs customarily uses the echo area. Here is
how XEmacs handles such conflicts:
* If a command gets an error while you are in the minibuffer, this
does not cancel the minibuffer. However, the echo area is needed
for the error message and therefore the minibuffer itself is
hidden for a while. It comes back after a few seconds, or as soon
as you type anything.
* If in the minibuffer you use a command whose purpose is to print a
message in the echo area, such as `C-x =', the message is printed
normally, and the minibuffer is hidden for a while. It comes back
after a few seconds, or as soon as you type anything.
* Echoing of keystrokes does not take place while the minibuffer is
- Minibuffer File. Entering file names with the minibuffer.
- Minibuffer Edit. How to edit in the minibuffer.
- An abbreviation facility for minibuffer input.
- Minibuffer History
- Reusing recent minibuffer arguments.
- Re-executing commands that used the minibuffer.
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