A more sophisticated sort of question to ask is, "What are the
commands for working with files?" To ask this question, type C-h
a file RET, which displays a list of all command names that
contain `file', including
so on. With each command name appears a brief description of how to use
the command, and what keys you can currently invoke it with. For
example, it would say that you can invoke
find-file by typing
C-x C-f. The a in C-h a stands for `Apropos';
C-h a runs the command
apropos-command. This command
normally checks only commands (interactive functions); if you specify a
prefix argument, it checks noninteractive functions as well.
Because C-h a looks only for functions whose names contain the string you specify, you must use ingenuity in choosing the string. If you are looking for commands for killing backwards and C-h a kill-backwards RET doesn't reveal any, don't give up. Try just kill, or just backwards, or just back. Be persistent. Also note that you can use a regular expression as the argument, for more flexibility (see section Syntax of Regular Expressions).
Here is a set of arguments to give to C-h a that covers many
classes of Emacs commands, since there are strong conventions for naming
the standard Emacs commands. By giving you a feel for the naming
conventions, this set should also serve to aid you in developing a
technique for picking
char, line, word, sentence, paragraph, region, page, sexp, list, defun, rect, buffer, frame, window, face, file, dir, register, mode, beginning, end, forward, backward, next, previous, up, down, search, goto, kill, delete, mark, insert, yank, fill, indent, case, change, set, what, list, find, view, describe, default.
To list all user variables that match a regexp, use the command M-x apropos-variable. This command shows only user variables and customization options by default; if you specify a prefix argument, it checks all variables.
To list all Lisp symbols that contain a match for a regexp, not just the ones that are defined as commands, use the command M-x apropos instead of C-h a. This command does not check key bindings by default; specify a numeric argument if you want it to check them.
apropos-documentation command is like
that it searches documentation strings as well as symbol names for
matches for the specified regular expression.
apropos-value command is like
apropos except that it
searches symbols' values for matches for the specified regular
expression. This command does not check function definitions or
property lists by default; specify a numeric argument if you want it to
If the variable
apropos-do-all is non-
nil, the commands
above all behave as if they had been given a prefix argument.
If you want more information about a function definition, variable or symbol property listed in the Apropos buffer, you can click on it with Mouse-2 or move there and type RET.
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