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To insert printing characters into the text you are editing, just
type them. This inserts the characters you type into the buffer at the
cursor (that is, at "point"; Note: Point.). The cursor moves
forward, and any text after the cursor moves forward too. If the text
in the buffer is `FOOBAR', with the cursor before the `B', then if you
type `XX', you get `FOOXXBAR', with the cursor still before the `B'.
To "delete" text you have just inserted, use DEL. DEL deletes the
character *before* the cursor (not the one that the cursor is on top of
or under; that is the character AFTER the cursor). The cursor and all
characters after it move backwards. Therefore, if you type a printing
character and then type DEL, they cancel out.
To end a line and start typing a new one, type RET. This inserts a
newline character in the buffer. If point is in the middle of a line,
RET splits the line. Typing DEL when the cursor is at the beginning of
a line deletes the preceding newline, thus joining the line with the
Emacs can split lines automatically when they become too long, if you
turn on a special mode called "Auto Fill" mode. Note: Filling, for
how to use Auto Fill mode.
Customization information: DEL in most modes runs the command
`delete-backward-char'; RET runs the command `newline', and
self-inserting printing characters run the command `self-insert', which
inserts whatever character was typed to invoke it. Some major modes
rebind DEL to other commands.
Direct insertion works for printing characters and SPC, but other
characters act as editing commands and do not insert themselves. If you
need to insert a control character or a character whose code is above
200 octal, you must "quote" it by typing the character `Control-q'
(`quoted-insert') first. (This character's name is normally written
`C-q' for short.) There are two ways to use `C-q':
* `C-q' followed by any non-graphic character (even `C-g') inserts
* `C-q' followed by three octal digits inserts the character with
the specified character code.
A numeric argument to `C-q' specifies how many copies of the quoted
character should be inserted (Note: Arguments.).
If you prefer to have text characters replace (overwrite) existing
text rather than shove it to the right, you can enable Overwrite mode,
a minor mode. Note: Minor Modes.
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