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The Organization of the Screen
On a text-only terminal, the Emacs display occupies the whole screen.
On the X Window System, Emacs creates its own X windows to use. We use
the term "frame" to mean an entire text-only screen or an entire X
window used by Emacs. Emacs uses both kinds of frames in the same way
to display your editing. Emacs normally starts out with just one frame,
but under X you can create additional frames if you wish. *Note
When you start Emacs, the entire frame except for the last line is
devoted to the text you are editing. This area is called "window".
The last line is a special "echo area" or "minibuffer window" where
prompts appear and where you can enter responses. You can subdivide
the large text window horizontally or vertically into multiple text
windows, each of which can be used for a different file (*note
Windows::.). In this manual, the word "window" always refers to the
subdivisions of a frame within Emacs.
The window that the cursor is in is the "selected window", in which
editing takes place. Most Emacs commands implicitly apply to the text
in the selected window. The other windows display text for reference
only, unless/until you select them.
Each window's last line is a "mode line" which describes what is
going on in that window. It is in inverse video if the terminal
supports that, and contains text that starts like `-----Emacs:
SOMETHING'. Its purpose is to indicate what buffer is being displayed
above it in the window; what major and minor modes are in use; and
whether the buffer contains unsaved changes.
- The place in the text where editing commands operate.
- Echo Area
- Short messages appear at the bottom of the screen.
- Mode Line
- Interpreting the mode line.
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