(lispref.info)Intro to Minibuffers

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Introduction to Minibuffers

   In most ways, a minibuffer is a normal Emacs buffer.  Most operations
*within* a buffer, such as editing commands, work normally in a
minibuffer.  However, many operations for managing buffers do not apply
to minibuffers.  The name of a minibuffer always has the form
` *Minibuf-NUMBER', and it cannot be changed.  Minibuffers are
displayed only in special windows used only for minibuffers; these
windows always appear at the bottom of a screen.  (Sometime screens have
no minibuffer window, and sometimes a special kind of screen contains
nothing but a minibuffer window; see Note: Minibuffers and Screens.)

   The minibuffers window is normally a single line; you can resize it
temporarily with the window sizing commands, but reverts to its normal
size when the minibuffer is exited.

   A "recursive minibuffer" may be created when there is an active
minibuffer and a command is invoked that requires input from a
minibuffer.  The first minibuffer is named ` *Minibuf-0*'.  Recursive
minibuffers are named by incrementing the number at the end of the
name.  (The names begin with a space so that they won't show up in
normal buffer lists.)  Of several recursive minibuffers, the innermost
(or most recently entered) is the active minibuffer.  We usually call
this "the" minibuffer.  You can permit or forbid recursive minibuffers
by setting the variable `enable-recursive-minibuffers' or by putting
properties of that name on command symbols (Note: Minibuffer Misc.).

   Like other buffers, a minibuffer may use any of several local keymaps
(Note: Keymaps.); these contain various exit commands and in some
cases completion commands.  Note: Completion.

   * `minibuffer-local-map' is for ordinary input (no completion).

   * `minibuffer-local-ns-map' is similar, except that SPC exits just
     like RET.  This is used mainly for Mocklisp compatibility.

   * `minibuffer-local-completion-map' is for permissive completion.

   * `minibuffer-local-must-match-map' is for strict completion and for
     cautious completion.

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