(lemacs.info)Mode Line

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The Mode Line

   Each text window's last line is a "mode line" which describes what is
going on in that window.  When there is only one text window, the mode
line appears right above the echo area.  The mode line is in inverse
video if the terminal supports that, starts and ends with dashes, and
contains text like `Emacs: SOMETHING'.

   If a mode line has something else in place of `Emacs: SOMETHING',
the window above it is in a special subsystem such as Dired.  The mode
line then indicates the status of the subsystem.

   Normally, the mode line has the following appearance:

     --CH-Emacs: BUF      (MAJOR MINOR)----POS------

This gives information about the buffer being displayed in the window:
the buffer's name, what major and minor modes are in use, whether the
buffer's text has been changed, and how far down the buffer you are
currently looking.

   CH contains two stars (`**') if the text in the buffer has been
edited (the buffer is "modified"), or two dashes (`--') if the buffer
has not been edited.  Exception: for a read-only buffer, it is `%%'.

   BUF is the name of the window's chosen "buffer".  The chosen buffer
in the selected window (the window that the cursor is in) is also
Emacs's selected buffer, the buffer in which editing takes place.  When
we speak of what some command does to "the buffer", we mean the
currently selected buffer.  Note: Buffers.

   POS tells you whether there is additional text above the top of the
screen or below the bottom.  If your file is small and it is completely
visible on the screen, POS is `All'.  Otherwise, POS is `Top' if you
are looking at the beginning of the file, `Bot' if you are looking at
the end of the file, or `NN%', where NN is the percentage of the file
above the top of the screen.

   MAJOR is the name of the "major mode" in effect in the buffer.  At
any time, each buffer is in one and only one major mode.  The available
major modes include Fundamental mode (the least specialized), Text
mode, Lisp mode, and C mode.  Note: Major Modes, for details on how
the modes differ and how you select one.

   MINOR is a list of some of the "minor modes" that are turned on in
the window's chosen buffer.  For example, `Fill' means that Auto Fill
mode is on.  `Abbrev' means that Word Abbrev mode is on.  `Ovwrt' means
that Overwrite mode is on.  Note: Minor Modes, for more information.
`Narrow' means that the buffer being displayed has editing restricted
to only a portion of its text.  This is not really a minor mode, but is
like one.  Note: Narrowing.  `Def' means that a keyboard macro is
being defined.  Note: Keyboard Macros.

   Some buffers display additional information after the minor modes.
For example, Rmail buffers display the current message number and the
total number of messages.  Compilation buffers and Shell mode display
the status of the subprocess.

   If Emacs is currently inside a recursive editing level, square
brackets (`[...]') appear around the parentheses that surround the
modes.  If Emacs is in one recursive editing level within another,
double square brackets appear, and so on.  Since information on
recursive editing applies to Emacs in general and not to any one buffer,
the square brackets appear in every mode line on the screen or not in
any of them.  Note: Recursive Edit.

   Emacs can optionally display the time and system load in all mode
lines.  To enable this feature, type `M-x display-time'.  The
information added to the mode line usually appears after the file name,
before the mode names and their parentheses.  It looks like this:

     HH:MMpm L.LL [D]

(Some fields may be missing if your operating system cannot support
them.) HH and MM are the hour and minute, followed always by `am' or
`pm'.  L.LL is the average number of running processes in the whole
system recently.  D is an approximate index of the ratio of disk
activity to CPU activity for all users.

   The word `Mail' appears after the load level if there is mail for
you that you have not read yet.

   Customization note: the variable `mode-line-inverse-video' controls
whether the mode line is displayed in inverse video (assuming the
terminal supports it); `nil' means no inverse video.  The default is
`t'.  For X screens, simply set the foreground and background colors

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