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Emacs commands use the "minibuffer" to read arguments more
complicated than a single number. Minibuffer arguments can be file
names, buffer names, Lisp function names, Emacs command names, Lisp
expressions, and many other things, depending on the command reading the
argument. To edit the argument in the minibuffer, you can use Emacs
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" indicating what kind of input you should supply and how it
will be used. The prompt is often derived from the name of the command
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 give a minibuffer argument is to type the text
you want, terminated by RET to exit the minibuffer. To get out of the
minibuffer and cancel the command that it was for, type `C-g'.
Since the minibuffer uses the screen space of the echo area, it can
conflict with other ways Emacs customarily uses the echo area. Here is
how Emacs 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 you use a command in the minibuffer whose purpose is to print a
message in the echo area (for example `C-x =') the message is
displayed 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 FileEntering file names with the minibuffer.
- Minibuffer EditHow to edit in the minibuffer.
- An abbreviation facility for minibuffer input.
- Re-executing commands that used the minibuffer.
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