C-h i (
info) runs the Info program, which is used for
browsing through structured documentation files. The entire Emacs manual
is available within Info. Eventually all the documentation of the GNU
system will be available. Type h after entering Info to run
a tutorial on using Info.
If you specify a numeric argument, C-h i prompts for the name of a documentation file. This way, you can browse a file which doesn't have an entry in the top-level Info menu. It is also handy when you need to get to the documentation quickly, and you know the exact name of the file.
There are two special help commands for accessing Emacs documentation
through Info. C-h C-f function RET enters Info and
goes straight to the documentation of the Emacs function
function. C-h C-k key enters Info and goes straight
to the documentation of the key key. These two keys run the
When editing a program, if you have an Info version of the manual for the programming language, you can use the command C-h C-i to refer to the manual documentation for a symbol (keyword, function or variable). The details of how this command works depend on the major mode.
If something surprising happens, and you are not sure what commands you
typed, use C-h l (
view-lossage). C-h l prints the last
100 command characters you typed in. If you see commands that you don't
know, you can use C-h c to find out what they do.
Emacs has numerous major modes, each of which redefines a few keys and
makes a few other changes in how editing works. C-h m
describe-mode) prints documentation on the current major mode,
which normally describes all the commands that are changed in this
C-h b (
describe-bindings) and C-h s
describe-syntax) present other information about the current
Emacs mode. C-h b displays a list of all the key bindings now in
effect; the local bindings defined by the current minor modes first,
then the local bindings defined by the current major mode, and finally
the global bindings (see section Customizing Key Bindings). C-h s displays the
contents of the syntax table, with explanations of each character's
syntax (see section The Syntax Table).
You can get a similar list for a particular prefix key by typing C-h after the prefix key. (There are a few prefix keys for which this does not work--those that provide their own bindings for C-h. One of these is ESC, because ESC C-h is actually C-M-h, which marks a defun.)
The other C-h options display various files of useful
information. C-h C-w displays the full details on the complete
absence of warranty for GNU Emacs. C-h n (
displays the file `emacs/etc/NEWS', which contains documentation on
Emacs changes arranged chronologically. C-h t
help-with-tutorial) displays the learn-by-doing Emacs tutorial.
C-h C-c (
describe-copying) displays the file
`emacs/etc/COPYING', which tells you the conditions you must obey
in distributing copies of Emacs. C-h C-d
describe-distribution) displays the file
`emacs/etc/DISTRIB', which tells you how you can order a copy of
the latest version of Emacs. C-h C-p (
displays general information about the GNU Project.
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