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1.1 Point

When SXEmacs is running, the cursor shows the location at which editing commands will take effect. This location is called point. You can use keystrokes or the mouse cursor to move point through the text and edit the text at different places.

While the cursor appears to point at a character, you should think of point as between two characters: it points before the character on which the cursor appears. The exception is at the end of the line, where the cursor appears after the last character of the line. Where the display is capable, the cursor at the end of the line will appear differently from a cursor over whitespace at the end of the line. (In an X Windows frame, the end-of-line cursor is half the width of a within-line cursor.) Sometimes people speak of “the cursor” when they mean “point,” or speak of commands that move point as “cursor motion” commands.

Each SXEmacs frame has only one cursor. When output is in progress, the cursor must appear where the typing is being done. This does not mean that point is moving. It is only that SXEmacs has no way to show you the location of point except when the terminal is idle.

If you are editing several files in SXEmacs, each file has its own point location. A file that is not being displayed remembers where point is. Point becomes visible at the correct location when you look at the file again.

When there are multiple text windows, each window has its own point location. The cursor shows the location of point in the selected window. The visible cursor also shows you which window is selected. If the same buffer appears in more than one window, point can be moved in each window independently.

The term ‘point’ comes from the character ‘.’, which was the command in TECO (the language in which the original Emacs was written) for accessing the value now called ‘point’.

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