[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52. Emacs Display

This chapter describes a number of other features related to the display that XEmacs presents to the user.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.1 Refreshing the Screen

The function redraw-frame redisplays the entire contents of a given frame. See section Frames.

Function: redraw-frame &optional frame no-preempt

This function clears and redisplays frame frame.

frame defaults to the selected frame if omitted.

Normally, redisplay is preempted as normal if input arrives. However, if optional second arg no-preempt is non-nil, redisplay will not stop for input and is guaranteed to proceed to completion.

Even more powerful is redraw-display:

Command: redraw-display &optional device

This function redraws all frames on device marked as having their image garbled. device defaults to the selected device. If device is t, all devices will have their frames checked.

Processing user input takes absolute priority over redisplay. If you call these functions when input is available, they do nothing immediately, but a full redisplay does happen eventually—after all the input has been processed.

Normally, suspending and resuming XEmacs also refreshes the screen. Some terminal emulators record separate contents for display-oriented programs such as XEmacs and for ordinary sequential display. If you are using such a terminal, you might want to inhibit the redisplay on resumption. See section Suspending XEmacs.

Variable: no-redraw-on-reenter

This variable controls whether XEmacs redraws the entire screen after it has been suspended and resumed. Non-nil means yes, nil means no.

The above functions do not actually cause the display to be updated; rather, they clear out the internal display records that XEmacs maintains, so that the next time the display is updated it will be redrawn from scratch. Normally this occurs the next time that next-event or sit-for is called; however, a display update will not occur if there is input pending. See section Command Loop.

Function: force-cursor-redisplay &optional frame

This function causes an immediate update of the cursor on frame, which defaults to the selected frame.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.2 Truncation

When a line of text extends beyond the right edge of a window, the line can either be truncated or continued on the next line. When a line is truncated, this is normally shown with a ‘\’ in the rightmost column of the window on X displays, and with a ‘$’ on TTY devices. When a line is continued or “wrapped” onto the next line, this is shown with a curved arrow in the rightmost column of the window (or with a ‘\’ on TTY devices). The additional screen lines used to display a long text line are called continuation lines.

Normally, whenever line truncation is in effect for a particular window, a horizontal scrollbar is displayed in that window if the device supports scrollbars. See section Scrollbars.

Note that continuation is different from filling; continuation happens on the screen only, not in the buffer contents, and it breaks a line precisely at the right margin, not at a word boundary. See section Filling.

User Option: truncate-lines

This buffer-local variable controls how XEmacs displays lines that extend beyond the right edge of the window. If it is non-nil, then XEmacs does not display continuation lines; rather each line of text occupies exactly one screen line, and a backslash appears at the edge of any line that extends to or beyond the edge of the window. The default is nil.

If the variable truncate-partial-width-windows is non-nil, then truncation is always used for side-by-side windows (within one frame) regardless of the value of truncate-lines.

User Option: default-truncate-lines

This variable is the default value for truncate-lines, for buffers that do not have local values for it.

User Option: truncate-partial-width-windows

This variable controls display of lines that extend beyond the right edge of the window, in side-by-side windows (see section Splitting Windows). If it is non-nil, these lines are truncated; otherwise, truncate-lines says what to do with them.

The backslash and curved arrow used to indicate truncated or continued lines are only defaults, and can be changed. These images are actually glyphs (see section Glyphs). XEmacs provides a great deal of flexibility in how glyphs can be controlled. (This differs from FSF Emacs, which uses display tables to control these images.)

For details, Redisplay Glyphs.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.3 The Echo Area

The echo area is used for displaying messages made with the message primitive, and for echoing keystrokes. It is not the same as the minibuffer, despite the fact that the minibuffer appears (when active) in the same place on the screen as the echo area. The XEmacs Lisp Reference Manual specifies the rules for resolving conflicts between the echo area and the minibuffer for use of that screen space (see (xemacs)Minibuffer section ‘The Minibuffer’ in The XEmacs Lisp Reference Manual). Such a conflicts may be avoided at all as described in Customizing Message Display.

Error messages appear in the echo area; see Errors.

You can write output in the echo area by using the Lisp printing functions with t as the stream (see section Output Functions), or as follows:

Function: message string &rest arguments

This function displays a one-line message in the echo area. The argument string is similar to a C language printf control string. See format in Conversion of Characters and Strings, for the details on the conversion specifications. message returns the constructed string.

In batch mode, message prints the message text on the standard error stream, followed by a newline.

If string is nil, message clears the echo area. If the minibuffer is active, this brings the minibuffer contents back onto the screen immediately.

(message "Minibuffer depth is %d."
 -| Minibuffer depth is 0.
⇒ "Minibuffer depth is 0."
---------- Echo Area ----------
Minibuffer depth is 0.
---------- Echo Area ----------

In addition to only displaying a message, XEmacs allows you to label your messages, giving you fine-grained control of their display. Message label is a symbol denoting the message type. Some standard labels are:

Several messages may be stacked in the echo area at once. Lisp programs may access these messages, or remove them as appropriate, via the message stack.

Function: display-message label message &optional frame stdout-p

This function displays message (a string) labeled as label, as described above.

The frame argument specifies the frame to whose minibuffer the message should be printed. This is currently unimplemented. The stdout-p argument is used internally.

(display-message 'command "Mark set")
Function: lmessage label string &rest arguments

This function displays a message string with label label. It is similar to message in that it accepts a printf-like strings and any number of arguments.

;; Display a command message.
(lmessage 'command "Comment column set to %d" comment-column)
;; Display a progress message.
(lmessage 'progress "Fontifying %s... (%d)" buffer percentage)
;; Display a message that should not be logged.
(lmessage 'no-log "Done")
Function: clear-message &optional label frame stdout-p no-restore

This function remove any message with the given label from the message-stack, erasing it from the echo area if it’s currently displayed there.

If a message remains at the head of the message-stack and no-restore is nil, it will be displayed. The string which remains in the echo area will be returned, or nil if the message-stack is now empty. If label is nil, the entire message-stack is cleared.

;; Show a message, wait for 2 seconds, and restore old minibuffer
;; contents.
(message "A message")
 -| A message
⇒ "A Message"
(lmessage 'my-label "Newsflash!  Newsflash!")
 -| Newsflash!  Newsflash!
⇒ "Newsflash!  Newsflash!"
(sit-for 2)
(clear-message 'my-label)
 -| A message
⇒ "A message"

Unless you need the return value or you need to specify a label, you should just use (message nil).

Function: current-message &optional frame

This function returns the current message in the echo area, or nil. The frame argument is currently unused.

Some of the messages displayed in the echo area are also recorded in the ‘ *Message-Log*’ buffer. Exactly which messages will be recorded can be tuned using the following variables.

User Option: log-message-max-size

This variable specifies the maximum size of the ‘ *Message-log*’ buffer.

Variable: log-message-ignore-labels

This variable specifies the labels whose messages will not be logged. It should be a list of symbols.

Variable: log-message-ignore-regexps

This variable specifies the regular expressions matching messages that will not be logged. It should be a list of regular expressions.

Normally, packages that generate messages that might need to be ignored should label them with progress, prompt, or no-log, so they can be filtered by log-message-ignore-labels.

Variable: echo-keystrokes

This variable determines how much time should elapse before command characters echo. Its value must be a number, which specifies the number of seconds to wait before echoing. If the user types a prefix key (such as C-x) and then delays this many seconds before continuing, the prefix key is echoed in the echo area. Any subsequent characters in the same command will be echoed as well.

If the value is zero, then command input is not echoed.

Variable: cursor-in-echo-area

This variable controls where the cursor appears when a message is displayed in the echo area. If it is non-nil, then the cursor appears at the end of the message. Otherwise, the cursor appears at point—not in the echo area at all.

The value is normally nil; Lisp programs bind it to t for brief periods of time.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.3.1 Customizing Message Display

Message display function specify message intended for echo area by putting message text into " *Echo Area*" buffer. When event loop code decides to update display after displaying the message, text of this buffer is erased. How exactly the text will be displayed may be affected by the following.

Variable: redisplay-echo-area-function

The function called to display echo area text. The default variable value, redisplay-echo-area function, does that by displaying the text in the same place on the screen as the echo area. So does other redisplay code. User code can avoid this regardless of what redisplay code will run afterwards by erasing text of " *Echo Area*" buffer.

Variable: undisplay-echo-area-function

The variable value, if non-nil, is called by command loop after erasing text of " *Echo Area*" buffer. It must clean up data created by redisplay-echo-area-function value.

Variable: minibuffer-echo-wait-function

The function is called by command loop only when minibuffer was active and message was displayed (text appeared in " *Echo Area*" buffer). It must wait after displaying message so that user can read it. By default, when the variable value is nil, the equivalent of (sit-for 2) is run.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.4 Warnings

XEmacs contains a facility for unified display of various warnings. Unlike errors, warnings are displayed in the situations when XEmacs encounters a problem that is recoverable, but which should be fixed for safe future operation.

For example, warnings are printed by the startup code when it encounters problems with X keysyms, when there is an error in ‘.emacs’, and in other problematic situations. Unlike messages, warnings are displayed in a separate buffer, and include an explanatory message that may span across several lines. Here is an example of how a warning is displayed:

(1) (initialization/error) An error has occurred while loading ~/.emacs:

Symbol's value as variable is void: bogus-variable

To ensure normal operation, you should investigate the cause of the error
in your initialization file and remove it.  Use the `-debug-init' option
to XEmacs to view a complete error backtrace.

Each warning has a class and a priority level. The class is a symbol describing what sort of warning this is, such as initialization, resource or key-mapping.

The warning priority level specifies how important the warning is. The recognized warning levels, in increased order of priority, are: debug, info, notice, warning, error, critical, alert and emergency.

Function: display-warning class message &optional level

This function displays a warning message message (a string). class should be a warning class symbol, as described above, or a list of such symbols. level describes the warning priority level. If unspecified, it default to warning.

(display-warning 'resource
  "Bad resource specification encountered:
something like

    Emacs*foo: bar

You should replace the * with a . in order to get proper behavior when
you use the specifier and/or `set-face-*' functions.")
---------- Warning buffer ----------
(1) (resource/warning) Bad resource specification encountered:
something like

    Emacs*foo: bar

You should replace the * with a . in order to get proper behavior when
you use the specifier and/or `set-face-*' functions.
---------- Warning buffer ----------
Function: lwarn class level message &rest args

This function displays a formatted labeled warning message. As above, class should be the warning class symbol, or a list of such symbols, and level should specify the warning priority level (warning by default).

Unlike in display-warning, message may be a formatted message, which will be, together with the rest of the arguments, passed to format.

(lwarn 'message-log 'warning
  "Error caught in `remove-message-hook': %s"
  (error-message-string e))
Variable: log-warning-minimum-level

This variable specifies the minimum level of warnings that should be generated. Warnings with level lower than defined by this variable are completely ignored, as if they never happened.

Variable: display-warning-minimum-level

This variable specifies the minimum level of warnings that should be displayed. Unlike log-warning-minimum-level, setting this function does not suppress warnings entirely—they are still generated in the ‘*Warnings*’ buffer, only they are not displayed by default.

Variable: log-warning-suppressed-classes

This variable specifies a list of classes that should not be logged or displayed. If any of the class symbols associated with a warning is the same as any of the symbols listed here, the warning will be completely ignored, as it they never happened.

Variable: display-warning-suppressed-classes

This variable specifies a list of classes that should not be logged or displayed. If any of the class symbols associated with a warning is the same as any of the symbols listed here, the warning will not be displayed. The warning will still logged in the *Warnings* buffer (unless also contained in ‘log-warning-suppressed-classes’), but the buffer will not be automatically popped up.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.5 Invisible Text

You can make characters invisible, so that they do not appear on the screen, with the invisible property. This can be either a text property or a property of an overlay.

In the simplest case, any non-nil invisible property makes a character invisible. This is the default case—if you don’t alter the default value of buffer-invisibility-spec, this is how the invisibility property works. This feature is much like selective display (see section Selective Display), but more general and cleaner.

More generally, you can use the variable buffer-invisibility-spec to control which values of the invisible property make text invisible. This permits you to classify the text into different subsets in advance, by giving them different invisible values, and subsequently make various subsets visible or invisible by changing the value of buffer-invisibility-spec.

Controlling visibility with buffer-invisibility-spec is especially useful in a program to display the list of entries in a data base. It permits the implementation of convenient filtering commands to view just a part of the entries in the data base. Setting this variable is very fast, much faster than scanning all the text in the buffer looking for properties to change.

Variable: buffer-invisibility-spec

This variable specifies which kinds of invisible properties actually make a character invisible.


A character is invisible if its invisible property is non-nil. This is the default.

a list

Each element of the list makes certain characters invisible. Ultimately, a character is invisible if any of the elements of this list applies to it. The list can have two kinds of elements:


A character is invisible if its invisible property value is atom or if it is a list with atom as a member.

(atom . t)

A character is invisible if its invisible property value is atom or if it is a list with atom as a member. Moreover, if this character is at the end of a line and is followed by a visible newline, it displays an ellipsis.

Ordinarily, commands that operate on text or move point do not care whether the text is invisible. However, the user-level line motion commands explicitly ignore invisible newlines. Since this causes a slow-down of these commands it is turned off by default, controlled by the variable line-move-ignore-invisible.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.6 Selective Display

Selective display is a pair of features that hide certain lines on the screen.

The first variant, explicit selective display, is designed for use in a Lisp program. The program controls which lines are hidden by altering the text. Outline mode has traditionally used this variant. It has been partially replaced by the invisible text feature (see section Invisible Text); there is a new version of Outline mode which uses that instead.

In the second variant, the choice of lines to hide is made automatically based on indentation. This variant is designed to be a user-level feature.

The way you control explicit selective display is by replacing a newline (control-j) with a carriage return (control-m). The text that was formerly a line following that newline is now invisible. Strictly speaking, it is temporarily no longer a line at all, since only newlines can separate lines; it is now part of the previous line.

Selective display does not directly affect editing commands. For example, C-f (forward-char) moves point unhesitatingly into invisible text. However, the replacement of newline characters with carriage return characters affects some editing commands. For example, next-line skips invisible lines, since it searches only for newlines. Modes that use selective display can also define commands that take account of the newlines, or that make parts of the text visible or invisible.

When you write a selectively displayed buffer into a file, all the control-m’s are output as newlines. This means that when you next read in the file, it looks OK, with nothing invisible. The selective display effect is seen only within XEmacs.

Variable: selective-display

This buffer-local variable enables selective display. This means that lines, or portions of lines, may be made invisible.

When some portion of a buffer is invisible, the vertical movement commands operate as if that portion did not exist, allowing a single next-line command to skip any number of invisible lines. However, character movement commands (such as forward-char) do not skip the invisible portion, and it is possible (if tricky) to insert or delete text in an invisible portion.

In the examples below, we show the display appearance of the buffer foo, which changes with the value of selective-display. The contents of the buffer do not change.

(setq selective-display nil)
     ⇒ nil

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
1 on this column
 2on this column
  3n this column
  3n this column
 2on this column
1 on this column
---------- Buffer: foo ----------
(setq selective-display 2)
     ⇒ 2

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
1 on this column
 2on this column
 2on this column
1 on this column
---------- Buffer: foo ----------
Variable: selective-display-ellipses

If this buffer-local variable is non-nil, then XEmacs displays ‘’ at the end of a line that is followed by invisible text. This example is a continuation of the previous one.

(setq selective-display-ellipses t)
     ⇒ t

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
1 on this column
 2on this column ...
 2on this column
1 on this column
---------- Buffer: foo ----------

You can use a display table to substitute other text for the ellipsis (‘’). See section Display Tables.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.7 The Overlay Arrow

The overlay arrow is useful for directing the user’s attention to a particular line in a buffer. For example, in the modes used for interface to debuggers, the overlay arrow indicates the line of code about to be executed.

Variable: overlay-arrow-string

This variable holds the string to display to call attention to a particular line, or nil if the arrow feature is not in use. Despite its name, the value of this variable can be either a string or a glyph (see section Glyphs).

Variable: overlay-arrow-position

This variable holds a marker that indicates where to display the overlay arrow. It should point at the beginning of a line. The arrow text appears at the beginning of that line, overlaying any text that would otherwise appear. Since the arrow is usually short, and the line usually begins with indentation, normally nothing significant is overwritten.

The overlay string is displayed only in the buffer that this marker points into. Thus, only one buffer can have an overlay arrow at any given time.

You can do the same job by creating an extent with a begin-glyph property. See section Properties of Extents.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.8 Temporary Displays

Temporary displays are used by commands to put output into a buffer and then present it to the user for perusal rather than for editing. Many of the help commands use this feature.

Special Operator: with-output-to-temp-buffer buffer-name forms…

This function executes forms while arranging to insert any output they print into the buffer named buffer-name. The buffer is then shown in some window for viewing, displayed but not selected.

The string buffer-name specifies the temporary buffer, which need not already exist. The argument must be a string, not a buffer. The buffer is erased initially (with no questions asked), and it is marked as unmodified after with-output-to-temp-buffer exits.

with-output-to-temp-buffer binds standard-output to the temporary buffer, then it evaluates the forms in forms. Output using the Lisp output functions within forms goes by default to that buffer (but screen display and messages in the echo area, although they are “output” in the general sense of the word, are not affected). See section Output Functions.

The value of the last form in forms is returned.

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
 This is the contents of foo.
---------- Buffer: foo ----------
(with-output-to-temp-buffer "foo"
    (print 20)
    (print standard-output))
⇒ #<buffer foo>

---------- Buffer: foo ----------

#<buffer foo>

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
Variable: temp-buffer-show-function

If this variable is non-nil, with-output-to-temp-buffer calls it as a function to do the job of displaying a help buffer. The function gets one argument, which is the buffer it should display.

In Emacs versions 18 and earlier, this variable was called temp-buffer-show-hook.

Function: momentary-string-display string position &optional char message

This function momentarily displays string in the current buffer at position. It has no effect on the undo list or on the buffer’s modification status.

The momentary display remains until the next input event. If the next input event is char, momentary-string-display ignores it and returns. Otherwise, that event remains buffered for subsequent use as input. Thus, typing char will simply remove the string from the display, while typing (say) C-f will remove the string from the display and later (presumably) move point forward. The argument char is a space by default.

The return value of momentary-string-display is not meaningful.

You can do the same job in a more general way by creating an extent with a begin-glyph property. See section Properties of Extents.

If message is non-nil, it is displayed in the echo area while string is displayed in the buffer. If it is nil, a default message says to type char to continue.

In this example, point is initially located at the beginning of the second line:

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
This is the contents of foo.
∗Second line.
---------- Buffer: foo ----------
  "**** Important Message! ****"
  (point) ?\r
  "Type RET when done reading")
⇒ t
---------- Buffer: foo ----------
This is the contents of foo.
**** Important Message! ****Second line.
---------- Buffer: foo ----------

---------- Echo Area ----------
Type RET when done reading
---------- Echo Area ----------

This function works by actually changing the text in the buffer. As a result, if you later undo in this buffer, you will see the message come and go.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.9 Blinking Parentheses

This section describes the mechanism by which XEmacs shows a matching open parenthesis when the user inserts a close parenthesis.

Variable: blink-paren-function

The value of this variable should be a function (of no arguments) to be called whenever a character with close parenthesis syntax is inserted. The value of blink-paren-function may be nil, in which case nothing is done.

Please note: This variable was named blink-paren-hook in older Emacs versions, but since it is not called with the standard convention for hooks, it was renamed to blink-paren-function in version 19.

Variable: blink-matching-paren

If this variable is nil, then blink-matching-open does nothing.

Variable: blink-matching-paren-distance

This variable specifies the maximum distance to scan for a matching parenthesis before giving up.

Variable: blink-matching-paren-delay

This variable specifies the number of seconds for the cursor to remain at the matching parenthesis. A fraction of a second often gives good results, but the default is 1, which works on all systems.

Command: blink-matching-open

This function is the default value of blink-paren-function. It assumes that point follows a character with close parenthesis syntax and moves the cursor momentarily to the matching opening character. If that character is not already on the screen, it displays the character’s context in the echo area. To avoid long delays, this function does not search farther than blink-matching-paren-distance characters.

Here is an example of calling this function explicitly.

(defun interactive-blink-matching-open ()
  "Indicate momentarily the start of sexp before point."
  (let ((blink-matching-paren-distance
        (blink-matching-paren t))

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.10 Usual Display Conventions

The usual display conventions define how to display each character code. You can override these conventions by setting up a display table (see section Display Tables). Here are the usual display conventions:

The usual display conventions apply even when there is a display table, for any character whose entry in the active display table is nil. Thus, when you set up a display table, you need only specify the characters for which you want unusual behavior.

These variables affect the way certain characters are displayed on the screen. Since they change the number of columns the characters occupy, they also affect the indentation functions.

User Option: ctl-arrow

This buffer-local variable controls how control characters are displayed. If it is non-nil, they are displayed as a caret followed by the character: ‘^A’. If it is nil, they are displayed as a backslash followed by three octal digits: ‘\001’.

Variable: default-ctl-arrow

The value of this variable is the default value for ctl-arrow in buffers that do not override it. See section The Default Value of a Buffer-Local Variable.

User Option: tab-width

The value of this variable is the spacing between tab stops used for displaying tab characters in Emacs buffers. The default is 8. Note that this feature is completely independent from the user-settable tab stops used by the command tab-to-tab-stop. See section Adjustable “Tab Stops”.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.11 Display Tables

You can use the display table feature to control how all 256 possible character codes display on the screen. This is useful for displaying European languages that have letters not in the ASCII character set.

The display table maps each character code into a sequence of runes, each rune being an image that takes up one character position on the screen. You can also define how to display each rune on your terminal, using the rune table.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.11.1 Display Table Format

A display table is an array of 256 elements. (In FSF Emacs, a display table is 262 elements. The six extra elements specify the truncation and continuation glyphs, etc. This method is very kludgey, and in XEmacs the variables truncation-glyph, continuation-glyph, etc. are used. See section Truncation.)

Function: make-display-table

This creates and returns a display table. The table initially has nil in all elements.

The 256 elements correspond to character codes; the nth element says how to display the character code n. The value should be nil, a string, a glyph, or a vector of strings and glyphs (see section Character Descriptors). If an element is nil, it says to display that character according to the usual display conventions (see section Usual Display Conventions).

If you use the display table to change the display of newline characters, the whole buffer will be displayed as one long “line.”

For example, here is how to construct a display table that mimics the effect of setting ctl-arrow to a non-nil value:

(setq disptab (make-display-table))
(let ((i 0))
  (while (< i 32)
    (or (= i ?\t) (= i ?\n)
        (aset disptab i (concat "^" (char-to-string (+ i 64)))))
    (setq i (1+ i)))
  (aset disptab 127 "^?"))

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.11.2 Active Display Table

The active display table is controlled by the variable current-display-table. This is a specifier, which means that you can specify separate values for it in individual buffers, windows, frames, and devices, as well as a global value. It also means that you cannot set this variable using setq; use set-specifier instead. See section Specifiers. (FSF Emacs uses window-display-table, buffer-display-table, standard-display-table, etc. to control the display table. However, specifiers are a cleaner and more powerful way of doing the same thing. FSF Emacs also uses a different format for the contents of a display table, using additional indirection to a “glyph table” and such. Note that “glyph” has a different meaning in XEmacs.)

Variable: current-display-table

The display table currently in use. This is a specifier.

Display tables are used to control how characters are displayed. Each time that redisplay processes a character, it is looked up in all the display tables that apply (obtained by calling specifier-instance on current-display-table and any overriding display tables specified in currently active faces). The first entry found that matches the character determines how the character is displayed. If there is no matching entry, the default display method is used. (Non-control characters are displayed as themselves and control characters are displayed according to the buffer-local variable ctl-arrow. Control characters are further affected by control-arrow-glyph and octal-escape-glyph.)

Each instantiator in this specifier and the display-table specifiers in faces is a display table or a list of such tables. If a list, each table will be searched in turn for an entry matching a particular character. Each display table is one of

Each entry in a display table should be one of

Individual faces can also specify an overriding display table; this is set using set-face-display-table. See section Faces.

If no display table can be determined for a particular window, then XEmacs uses the usual display conventions. See section Usual Display Conventions.

[ < ] [ > ]   [ << ] [ Up ] [ >> ]         [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

52.11.3 Character Descriptors

Each element of the display-table vector describes how to display a particular character and is called a character descriptor. A character descriptor can be:

a string

Display this particular string wherever the character is to be displayed.

a glyph

Display this particular glyph wherever the character is to be displayed.

a vector

The vector may contain strings and/or glyphs. Display the elements of the vector one after another wherever the character is to be displayed.


Display according to the standard interpretation (see section Usual Display Conventions).

[ << ] [ >> ]           [Top] [Contents] [Index] [ ? ]

This document was generated by Aidan Kehoe on December 27, 2016 using texi2html 1.82.