(emacs)Fill Prefix

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The Fill Prefix

   To fill a paragraph in which each line starts with a special marker
(which might be a few spaces, giving an indented paragraph), use the
"fill prefix" feature.  The fill prefix is a string which Emacs expects
every line to start with, and which is not included in filling.

`C-x .'
     Set the fill prefix (`set-fill-prefix').

     Fill a paragraph using current fill prefix (`fill-paragraph').

`M-x fill-individual-paragraphs'
     Fill the region, considering each change of indentation as
     starting a new paragraph.

`M-x fill-nonuniform-paragraphs'
     Fill the region, considering only paragraph-separator lines as
     starting a new paragraph.

   To specify a fill prefix, move to a line that starts with the desired
prefix, put point at the end of the prefix, and give the command
`C-x .' (`set-fill-prefix').  That's a period after the `C-x'.  To turn
off the fill prefix, specify an empty prefix: type `C-x .' with point
at the beginning of a line.

   When a fill prefix is in effect, the fill commands remove the fill
prefix from each line before filling and insert it on each line after
filling.  The fill prefix is also inserted on new lines made
automatically by Auto Fill mode.  Lines that do not start with the fill
prefix are considered to start paragraphs, both in `M-q' and the
paragraph commands; this is just right if you are using paragraphs with
hanging indentation (every line indented except the first one).  Lines
which are blank or indented once the prefix is removed also separate or
start paragraphs; this is what you want if you are writing
multi-paragraph comments with a comment delimiter on each line.

   For example, if `fill-column' is 40 and you set the fill prefix to
`;; ', then `M-q' in the following text

     ;; This is an
     ;; example of a paragraph
     ;; inside a Lisp-style comment.

produces this:

     ;; This is an example of a paragraph
     ;; inside a Lisp-style comment.

   The `C-o' command inserts the fill prefix on new lines it creates,
when you use it at the beginning of a line (Note: Blank Lines.).
Conversely, the command `M-^' deletes the prefix (if it occurs) after
the newline that it deletes (Note: Indentation.).

   You can use `M-x fill-individual-paragraphs' to set the fill prefix
for each paragraph automatically.  This command divides the region into
paragraphs, treating every change in the amount of indentation as the
start of a new paragraph, and fills each of these paragraphs.  Thus,
all the lines in one "paragraph" have the same amount of indentation.
That indentation serves as the fill prefix for that paragraph.

   `M-x fill-nonuniform-paragraphs' is a similar command that divides
the region into paragraphs in a different way.  It considers only
paragraph-separating lines (as defined by `paragraph-separate') as
starting a new paragraph.  Since this means that the lines of one
paragraph may have different amounts of indentation, the fill prefix
used is the smallest amount of indentation of any of the lines of the

   The fill prefix is stored in the variable `fill-prefix'.  Its value
is a string, or `nil' when there is no fill prefix.  This is a
per-buffer variable; altering the variable affects only the current
buffer, but there is a default value which you can change as well.
Note: Locals.

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