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6.2 Editing in the Minibuffer

The minibuffer is an SXEmacs buffer (albeit a peculiar one), and the usual SXEmacs commands are available for editing the text of an argument you are entering.

Since RET in the minibuffer is defined to exit the minibuffer, you can’t use it to insert a newline in the minibuffer. To do that, type C-o or C-q C-j. (Recall that a newline is really the character control-J.)

The minibuffer has its own window which always has space on the screen but acts as if it were not there when the minibuffer is not in use. When the minibuffer is in use, its window is just like the others; you can switch to another window with C-x o, edit text in other windows and perhaps even visit more files, before returning to the minibuffer to submit the argument. You can kill text in another window, return to the minibuffer window, and then yank the text to use it in the argument. See Windows.

There are some restrictions on the use of the minibuffer window, however. You cannot switch buffers in it—the minibuffer and its window are permanently attached. Also, you cannot split or kill the minibuffer window. But you can make it taller in the normal fashion with C-x ^. If you enable Resize-Minibuffer mode, then the minibuffer window expands vertically as necessary to hold the text that you put in the minibuffer. Use M-x resize-minibuffer-mode to enable or disable this minor mode (see Minor Modes).

If while in the minibuffer you issue a command that displays help text of any sort in another window, you can use the C-M-v command while in the minibuffer to scroll the help text. This lasts until you exit the minibuffer. This feature is especially useful if a completing minibuffer gives you a list of possible completions. See Other Window.

If the variable minibuffer-confirm-incomplete is t, you are asked for confirmation if there is no known completion for the text you typed. For example, if you attempted to visit a non-existent file, the minibuffer might read:

        Find File: chocolate_bar.c [no completions, confirm]

If you press Return again, that confirms the filename. Otherwise, you can continue editing it.

SXEmacs supports recursive use of the minibuffer. However, it is easy to do this by accident (because of autorepeating keyboards, for example) and get confused. Therefore, most SXEmacs commands that use the minibuffer refuse to operate if the minibuffer window is selected. If the minibuffer is active but you have switched to a different window, recursive use of the minibuffer is allowed—if you know enough to try to do this, you probably will not get confused.

If you set the variable enable-recursive-minibuffers to a non-nil, recursive use of the minibuffer is always allowed.

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