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Editing in the Minibuffer
The minibuffer is an Emacs buffer (albeit a peculiar one), and the
usual Emacs commands are available for editing the text of an argument
you are entering.
Since RET in the minibuffer is defined to exit the minibuffer, you
must use `C-o' or `C-q LFD' to insert a newline into the minibuffer.
(Recall that a newline is really the LFD character.)
The minibuffer has its own window, which always has space on the
screen but acts as if it were not there when the minibuffer is not in
use. The minibuffer window is just like the others; you can switch to
another window with `C-x o', edit text in other windows, and perhaps
even visit more files before returning to the minibuffer to submit the
argument. You can kill text in another window, return to the minibuffer
window, and then yank the text to use it in the argument. *Note
There are, however, some restrictions on the use of the minibuffer
window. You cannot switch buffers in it--the minibuffer and its window
are permanently attached. You also cannot split or kill the minibuffer
window, but you can make it taller with `C-x ^'.
If you are in the minibuffer and issue a command that displays help
text in another window, that window will be scrolled if you type
`C-M-v' while in the minibuffer until you exit the minibuffer. This
feature is helpful if a completing minibuffer gives you a long list of
If the variable `minibuffer-confirm-incomplete' is `t', you are
asked for confirmation if there is no known completion for the text you
typed. For example, if you attempted to visit a non-existent file, the
minibuffer might read:
Find File:chocolate_bar.c [no completions, confirm]
If you press `Return' again, that confirms the filename. Otherwise,
you can continue editing it.
Emacs supports recursive use of the minibuffer. However, it is easy
to do this by accident (because of autorepeating keyboards, for
example) and get confused. Therefore, most Emacs commands that use the
minibuffer refuse to operate if the minibuffer window is selected. If
the minibuffer is active but you have switched to a different window,
recursive use of the minibuffer is allowed--if you know enough to try
to do this, you probably will not get confused.
If you set the variable `enable-recursive-minibuffers' to be
non-`nil', recursive use of the minibuffer is always allowed.
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