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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',
then 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 looks like this:
--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
CH contains two stars `**' if the text in the buffer has been edited
(the buffer is "modified"), or `--' if the buffer has not been edited.
Exception: for a read-only buffer, it is `%%'.
BUF is the name of the window's "buffer". In most cases this is the
same as the name of a file you are editing. Note: Buffers.
The buffer displayed in the selected window (the window that the
cursor is in) is also Emacs's selected buffer, the one that editing
takes place in. When we speak of what some command does to "the
buffer", we are talking about the currently selected buffer.
POS tells you whether there is additional text above the top of the
window, or below the bottom. If your buffer is small and it is all
visible in the window, POS is `All'. Otherwise, it is `Top' if you are
looking at the beginning of the buffer, `Bot' if you are looking at the
end of the buffer, or `NN%', where NN is the percentage of the buffer
above the top of the window.
MAJOR is the name of the "major mode" in effect in the buffer. At
any time, each buffer is in one and only one of the possible major
modes. The major modes available include Fundamental mode (the least
specialized), Text mode, Lisp mode, and C mode. Note: Major Modes,
for details of how the modes differ and how to select one.
MINOR is a list of some of the "minor modes" that are turned on at
the moment in the window's chosen buffer. `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.
In addition, 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 recursive editing
levels affect Emacs globally and not any one buffer, the square
brackets appear in every window's mode line or not in any of them.
Note: Recursive Edit.
Note: Optional Display, for features that add other handy
information to the mode line, such as the current line number of point,
the current time, and whether mail has arrived for you.
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