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Emacs has many different "major modes", each of which customizes
Emacs for editing text of a particular sort. The major modes are
mutually exclusive; at any time, each buffer has one major mode. The
mode line normally contains the name of the current major mode in
parentheses. Note: Mode Line.
The least specialized major mode is called "Fundamental mode". This
mode has no mode-specific redefinitions or variable settings. Each
Emacs command behaves in its most general manner, and each option is in
its default state. For editing any specific type of text, such as Lisp
code or English text, you should switch to the appropriate major mode,
such as Lisp mode or Text mode.
Selecting a major mode changes the meanings of a few keys to become
more specifically adapted to the language being edited. TAB, DEL, and
LFD are changed frequently. In addition, commands which handle
comments use the mode to determine how to delimit comments. Many major
modes redefine the syntactical properties of characters appearing in
the buffer. Note: Syntax.
The major modes fall into three major groups. Lisp mode (which has
several variants), C mode, and Muddle mode are for specific programming
languages. Text mode, Nroff mode, TeX mode, and Outline mode are for
editing English text. The remaining major modes are not intended for
use on users' files; they are used in buffers created by Emacs for
specific purposes and include Dired mode for buffers made by Dired
(Note: Dired.), Mail mode for buffers made by `C-x m' (Note: Sending
Mail.), and Shell mode for buffers used for communicating with an
inferior shell process (Note: Interactive Shell.).
Most programming language major modes specify that only blank lines
separate paragraphs. This is so that the paragraph commands remain
useful. Note: Paragraphs. They also cause Auto Fill mode to use the
definition of TAB to indent the new lines it creates. This is because
most lines in a program are usually indented. Note: Indentation.
- Choosing Modes
- How major modes are specified or chosen.
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