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16.1 Concepts of Emacs Windows

When Emacs displays multiple windows, each window has one Emacs buffer designated for display. The same buffer may appear in more than one window; if it does, any changes in its text are displayed in all the windows that display it. Windows showing the same buffer can show different parts of it, because each window has its own value of point.

At any time, one window is the selected window; the buffer displayed by that window is the current buffer. The cursor shows the location of point in that window. Each other window has a location of point as well, but since the terminal has only one cursor, it cannot show the location of point in the other windows.

Commands to move point affect the value of point for the selected Emacs window only. They do not change the value of point in any other Emacs window, including those showing the same buffer. The same is true for commands such as C-x b to change the selected buffer in the selected window; they do not affect other windows at all. However, there are other commands such as C-x 4 b that select a different window and switch buffers in it. Also, all commands that display information in a window, including (for example) C-h f (describe-function) and C-x C-b (list-buffers), work by switching buffers in a non-selected window without affecting the selected window.

Each window has its own mode line, which displays the buffer name, modification status, and major and minor modes of the buffer that is displayed in the window. See Mode Line, for details on the mode line.

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