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Emacs can split a frame into two or many windows.
Multiple windows can display parts of different buffers, or different parts of one buffer. Multiple frames always imply multiple windows,
because each frame has its own set of windows. Each window belongs to one and only one frame.
- Basic Window: Introduction to Emacs windows.
- Split Window: New windows are made by splitting
- Other Window: Moving to another window or doing
something to it.
- Pop Up Window: Finding a file or buffer in another
- Force Same Window: Forcing certain buffers to appear
in the selected window rather than in another window.
- Change Window: Deleting windows and changing their
Each Emacs window displays one Emacs buffer at any time. A single buffer may appear in more than one window; if it does, any changes in its text are displayed in all the windows where it appears.
But the windows showing the same buffer can show
different parts of it, because each window has its own
value of point.
At any time, one of the windows is the selected window;
the buffer this window
is displaying is the current buffer. The terminal's cursor shows the location of point in this window.
Each other window has a location of point as well, but since the terminal has only one cursor there is no way to show where those locations are.
When multiple frames are visible in X Windows, each frame
has a cursor which appears in the frame's selected window.
The cursor in the selected frame is solid; the cursor
in other frames is a hollow box.
Commands to move point affect the value of point for the selected Emacs window only. They do not change the value of point in any other Emacs window,
even one showing the same buffer. The same is true for
commands such as C-x b to change the selected buffer
in the selected window; they do not affect other
windows at all. However, there are other commands such as C-x 4 b that select a
different window and switch buffers in it. Also, all
commands that display information in a window,
including (for example) C-h f (
describe-function) and C-x C-b
list-buffers), work by switching buffers
in a nonselected window without affecting the selected
When multiple windows show the same buffer, they can
have different regions, because they can have different values of point. This means that in Transient Mark mode, each window
highlights a different part of the buffer. The part
that is highlighted in the selected window is the region that editing commands use.
Each window has its own mode line, which displays
the buffer name, modification status and major and
minor modes of the buffer that is displayed in the window. See section The Mode
Line, for full details on the mode line.
- C-x 2 Split the selected window into two
windows, one above the other (
C-x 3 Split the selected window into two
windows positioned side by side (
C-Mouse-2 In the mode line or scroll bar of a window,
split that window.
The command C-x 2 (
split-window-vertically) breaks the selected window into two windows, one above the other. Both
windows start out displaying the same buffer, with the
same value of point. By default the two windows each
get half the height of the window that was split; a
numeric argument specifies how many lines to give to the top window.
C-x 3 (
breaks the selected window into two side-by-side
windows. A numeric argument specifies how many columns to give the one on the left. A line
of vertical bars separates the two windows. Windows that are not the full width of the
screen have mode lines, but they are truncated; also, they do not always appear in inverse
video, because the Emacs display routines have not been taught how to display a region of inverse video that is only part of a line on
You can split a window horizontally or vertically
by clicking C-Mouse-2 in the mode line or the scroll bar. The line of splitting
goes through the place where you click: if you click on the mode line, the new scroll bar
goes above the spot; if you click in the scroll bar, the mode line of the split window is side by side with your click.
When a window is less than the full width, text lines too long to fit are frequent. Continuing all
those lines might be confusing. The variable
can be set non-
nil to force truncation in
all windows less than the full width of the screen, independent of the buffer being displayed and its value for
See section Continuation Lines.
Horizontal scrolling is often used in side-by-side
windows. See section Controlling the Display.
split-window-keep-point is non-nil, C-x 2 tries to avoid
shifting any text on the screen by putting point in whichever window
happens to contain the screen line the cursor is
already on. The default is that
split-window-keep-point is non-nil on slow terminals.
- C-x o Select another window (
other-window). That is o, not zero. C-M-v
Scroll the next window (
scroll-other-window). M-x compare-windows Find next
place where the text in the selected window does not match the text
in the next window. Mouse-1 Mouse-1,
in a window's mode line, selects that window but does not move point
in it (
To select a different window, click with Mouse-1
on its mode line. With the keyboard, you can switch windows by typing C-x o (
other-window). That is an o, for `other', not
a zero. When there are more than two windows, this command
moves through all the windows in a cyclic order, generally top to bottom and left to
right. After the rightmost and bottommost window, it
goes back to the one at the upper left corner. A numeric argument means to move several
steps in the cyclic order of windows. A negative argument moves around the cycle in the
opposite order. When the minibuffer is active, the minibuffer is the last window
in the cycle; you can switch from the minibuffer window to one of the other windows, and later switch back
and finish supplying the minibuffer argument that is
requested. See section Editing in the Minibuffer.
The usual scrolling commands (see section Controlling the Display) apply to the selected window only, but there is one command to scroll the next window.
scrolls the window that C-x o would select.
It takes arguments, positive and negative, like C-v. (In the minibuffer, C-M-v scrolls the window that contains the minibuffer
help display, if any, rather than the next window in
the standard cyclic order.)
M-x compare-windows lets
you compare two files or buffers visible in two windows, by moving through them to the
next mismatch. See section Comparing Files, for details.
C-x 4 is a prefix key for commands that select another window (splitting the window
if there is only one) and select a buffer in that window. Different C-x 4 commands have
different ways of finding the buffer to select.
- C-x 4 b bufname RET Select buffer
bufname in another window. This runs
C-x 4 C-o bufname RET Display buffer
bufname in another window, but don't select
that buffer or that window.
display-buffer. C-x 4 f filename
RET Visit file filename and select its buffer in another window.
section Visiting Files. C-x 4 d directory RET Select a Dired buffer for directory directory
in another window. This runs
See section Dired, the Directory Editor. C-x 4 m
Start composing a mail message
in another window. This runs
its same-window analogue is C-x m (see
section Sending Mail). C-x 4 . Find a tag in the
current tags table, in another window. This runs
find-tag-other-window, the multiple-window variant of M-. (see section Tags Tables). C-x 4 r filename RET
Visit file filename read-only, and select its buffer
in another window. This runs
find-file-read-only-other-window. See section Visiting
Certain Emacs commands switch to a specific buffer
with special contents. For example, M-x shell switches to a buffer named *Shell*. By convention, all
these commands are written to pop up the buffer in a
separate window. But you can specify that certain of
these buffers should appear in the selected window.
If you add a buffer name to the list
same-window-buffer-names, the effect is that such commands
display that particular buffer by switching to it in
the selected window. For example, if you add the
"*grep*" to the list,
grep command will display its output buffer in the selected window.
The default value of
same-window-buffer-names is not
nil. It specifies
the buffers *info*, *mail*
and *shell*. This is why M-x shell normally switches to the *shell*
buffer in the selected window.
If you delete this element from the value of
same-window-buffer-names, the behavior of M-x shell
will change---it will pop up the buffer in another window instead.
You can specify these buffers more generally with the variable
same-window-regexps. Set it to a list of regular expressions; then any buffer whose name matches one of those regular expressions
is displayed by switching to it in the selected window.
(Once again, this applies only to buffers that normally get displayed for you in a
separate window.) The default value of this variable specifies Telnet and rlogin buffers.
An analogous feature lets you specify buffers which should be displayed in their own
individual frames. See section Special Buffer Frames.
- C-x 0 Delete the selected window (
delete-window). That is a zero. C-x 1 Delete all
windows in the selected frame except the selected window (
delete-other-windows). C-x ^
Make selected window taller (
enlarge-window). C-x } Make selected window wider (
enlarge-window-horizontally). Drag-Mouse-1 Dragging
a window's mode line up or down with Mouse-1
changes window heights. Mouse-2 Mouse-2
in a window's mode line deletes all other windows in
the frame (
Mouse-3 in a window's mode line deletes
that window (
To delete a window, type C-x 0 (
delete-window). (That is a zero.) The space occupied by
the deleted window is given to an adjacent window (but not the minibuffer
window, even if that is active at the time). Once a window is deleted, its attributes are forgotten; only
restoring a window configuration can bring it back.
Deleting the window has no effect on the buffer it used to display; the buffer continues to exist, and you can select it in any window with C-x b.
C-x 1 (
delete-other-windows) is more powerful than C-x 0;
it deletes all the windows except the selected one (and the minibuffer); the selected window
expands to use the whole frame except for the echo
You can also delete a window by clicking on its
mode line with Mouse-2, and expand a window
to fill its frame by clicking on its mode line with Mouse-3.
The easiest way to adjust window heights is with a
mouse. If you press Mouse-1 on a mode line, you can drag that mode line up or
down, changing the heights of the windows above and below it.
To readjust the division of space among vertically adjacent windows, use C-x ^
enlarge-window). It makes the currently
selected window get one line bigger, or as many lines
as is specified with a numeric argument. With a negative argument, it makes the selected window smaller. C-x } (
enlarge-window-horizontally) makes the selected window wider by the specified number of columns. The
extra screen space given to a window comes from one of
its neighbors, if that is possible. If this makes any window
too small, it is deleted and its space is given to an adjacent window. The minimum size is specified by the variables
See section Editing in the Minibuffer, for information
about the Resize-Minibuffer mode, which automatically
changes the size of the minibuffer window to fit the text
in the minibuffer.