[Univ of Cambridge] [Dept of Engineering]
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Emacs Terminology

The emacs documentation uses some terms that it's useful to understand. This document will use terms like window in the same way as the emacs documentation does, rather the the way these terms are usually used.

Buffers -
emacs loads files into internal Buffers; it loads Files but saves Buffers.

Frames -
One emacs process can produce a number of X windows. Emacs calls each of these windows a frame.

Windows -
Each frame can be split into sections that emacs calls windows.

Control Keys -
`M-' means `hold the Extend char key down' (this key is called Meta in the emacs documentation) and `C-' means `hold the CTRL key down'. In general, CTRL key functions do standard things while Meta key functions do something extra. For example, C-f advances by a letter and C-d deletes a letter whereas the M- equivalents deal with word units. Using CTRL and Meta together usually calls a more specialised activity.

point -
The point is where the text cursor is.

regexp -
A regexp is a Unix Regular Expression; i.e. a string for pattern matching. Type man ed for more details on these, or look in Emacs' own help system.

Lisp -
Emacs is not a self-contained binary. Many of emacs' commands are written in a language called Lisp. To call one of these functions by name, type M-x function name. The files containing these functions are in the directory /usr/src/editors/emacs/lisp. You can write your own lisp functions, but nearly all users will be able to do what they want without having to do this.

Tim Love
Wed Jul 1 14:08:45 BST 1998