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Menus and the `m' command
With only the `n' and `p' commands for moving between nodes, nodes
are restricted to a linear sequence. Menus allow a branching
structure. A menu is a list of other nodes you can move to. It is
actually just part of the text of the node formatted specially so that
Info can interpret it. The beginning of a menu is always identified by
a line which starts with `* Menu:'. A node contains a menu if and only
if it has a line in it which starts that way. The only menu you can
use at any moment is the one in the node you are in. To use a menu in
any other node, you must move to that node first.
After the start of the menu, each line that starts with a `*'
identifies one subtopic. The line usually contains a brief name for
the subtopic (followed by a `:'), the name of the node that talks about
that subtopic, and optionally some further description of the subtopic.
Lines in the menu that do not start with a `*' have no special
meaning--they are only for the human reader's benefit and do not define
additional subtopics. Here is an example:
* Foo: FOO's Node This tells about FOO
The subtopic name is Foo, and the node describing it is `FOO's Node'.
The rest of the line is just for the reader's Information. [[ But this
line is not a real menu item, simply because there is no line above it
which starts with `* Menu:'.]]
When you use a menu to go to another node (in a way that will be
described soon), what you specify is the subtopic name, the first thing
in the menu line. Info uses it to find the menu line, extracts the
node name from it, and goes to that node. The reason that there is
both a subtopic name and a node name is that the node name must be
meaningful to the computer and may therefore have to be ugly looking.
The subtopic name can be chosen just to be convenient for the user to
specify. Often the node name is convenient for the user to specify and
so both it and the subtopic name are the same. There is an
abbreviation for this:
* Foo:: This tells about FOO
This means that the subtopic name and node name are the same; they are
>> Now use Spaces to find the menu in this node, then come back to
the front with a `b' and some Spaces. As you see, a menu is
actually visible in its node. If you cannot find a menu in a node
by looking at it, then the node does not have a menu and the
`m' command is not available.
The command to go to one of the subnodes is `m'--but *do not do it
yet!* Before you use `m', you must understand the difference between
commands and arguments. So far, you have learned several commands that
do not need arguments. When you type one, Info processes it and is
instantly ready for another command. The `m' command is different: it
is incomplete without the "name of the subtopic". Once you have typed
`m', Info tries to read the subtopic name.
Now look for the line containing many dashes near the bottom of the
screen. There is one more line beneath that one, but usually it is
blank. If it is empty, Info is ready for a command, such as `n' or `b'
or Space or `m'. If that line contains text ending in a colon, it mean
Info is trying to read the "argument" to a command. At such times,
commands do not work, because Info tries to use them as the argument.
You must either type the argument and finish the command you started,
or type `Control-g' to cancel the command. When you have done one of
those things, the line becomes blank again.
The command to go to a subnode via a menu is `m'. After you type
the `m', the line at the bottom of the screen says `Menu item: '. You
must then type the name of the subtopic you want, and end it with a RET.
You can abbreviate the subtopic name. If the abbreviation is not
unique, the first matching subtopic is chosen. Some menus put the
shortest possible abbreviation for each subtopic name in capital
letters, so you can see how much you need to type. It does not matter
whether you use upper case or lower case when you type the subtopic.
You should not put any spaces at the end, or inside of the item name,
except for one space where a space appears in the item in the menu.
You can also use the "completion" feature to help enter the subtopic
name. If you type the Tab key after entering part of a name, it will
magically fill in more of the name--as much as follows uniquely from
what you have entered.
If you move the cursor to one of the menu subtopic lines, then you do
not need to type the argument: you just type a Return, and it stands for
the subtopic of the line you are on.
Here is a menu to give you a chance to practice.
* Menu: The menu starts here.
This menu gives you three ways of going to one place, Help-FOO.
* Foo: Help-FOO. A node you can visit for fun.
BarHelp-FOOStrange! two ways to get to the same place.
Help-FOOAnd yet another!
>> Now type just an `m' and see what happens:
Now you are "inside" an `m' command. Commands cannot be used now;
the next thing you will type must be the name of a subtopic.
You can change your mind about doing the `m' by typing Control-g.
>> Try that now; notice the bottom line clear.
>> Then type another `m'.
>> Now type `BAR' item name. Do not type Return yet.
While you are typing the item name, you can use the Delete key to
cancel one character at a time if you make a mistake.
>> Type one to cancel the `R'. You could type another `R' to
replace it. You do not have to, since `BA' is a valid abbreviation.
>> Now you are ready to go. Type a RET.
After visiting Help-FOO, you should return here.
>> Type `n' to see more commands.
Here is another way to get to Help-FOO, a menu. You can ignore this
if you want, or else try it (but then please come back to here).
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