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Evaluating Emacs-Lisp Expressions
Lisp programs intended to be run in Emacs should be edited in
Emacs-Lisp mode; this will happen automatically for file names ending in
`.el'. By contrast, Lisp mode itself should be used for editing Lisp
programs intended for other Lisp systems. Emacs-Lisp mode can be
selected with the command `M-x emacs-lisp-mode'.
For testing of Lisp programs to run in Emacs, it is useful to be able
to evaluate part of the program as it is found in the Emacs buffer. For
example, if you change the text of a Lisp function definition and then
evaluate the definition, Emacs installs the change for future calls to
the function. Evaluation of Lisp expressions is also useful in any
kind of editing task for invoking non-interactive functions (functions
that are not commands).
Read a Lisp expression in the minibuffer, evaluate it, and print
the value in the minibuffer (`eval-expression').
Evaluate the Lisp expression before point, and print the value in
the minibuffer (`eval-last-sexp').
Evaluate the defun containing point or after point, and print the
value in the minibuffer (`eval-defun').
Evaluate all the Lisp expressions in the region.
Evaluate all the Lisp expressions in the buffer.
`M-ESC' (`eval-expression') is the most basic command for evaluating
a Lisp expression interactively. It reads the expression using the
minibuffer, so you can execute any expression on a buffer regardless of
what the buffer contains. When evaluation is complete, the current
buffer is once again the buffer that was current when `M-ESC' was typed.
`M-ESC' can easily confuse users, especially on keyboards with
autorepeat, where it can result from holding down the ESC key for too
long. Therefore, `eval-expression' is normally a disabled command.
Attempting to use this command asks for confirmation and gives you the
option of enabling it; once you enable the command, you are no longer
required to confirm. Note: Disabling.
In Emacs-Lisp mode, the key `C-M-x' is bound to the function
`eval-defun', which parses the defun containing point or following point
as a Lisp expression and evaluates it. The value is printed in the echo
area. This command is convenient for installing in the Lisp environment
changes that you have just made in the text of a function definition.
The command `C-x C-e' (`eval-last-sexp') performs a similar job but
is available in all major modes, not just Emacs-Lisp mode. It finds
the sexp before point, reads it as a Lisp expression, evaluates it, and
prints the value in the echo area. It is sometimes useful to type in an
expression and then, with point still after it, type `C-x C-e'.
If `C-M-x' or `C-x C-e' are given a numeric argument, they print the
value by inserting it into the current buffer at point, rather than in
the echo area. The argument value does not matter.
The most general command for evaluating Lisp expressions from a
buffer is `eval-region'. `M-x eval-region' parses the text of the
region as one or more Lisp expressions, evaluating them one by one.
`M-x eval-current-buffer' is similar, but it evaluates the entire
buffer. This is a reasonable way to install the contents of a file of
Lisp code that you are just ready to test. After finding and fixing a
bug, use `C-M-x' on each function that you change, to keep the Lisp
world in step with the source file.
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