emacs / man / m-x.texi

@c This is part of the Emacs manual.
@c Copyright (C) 1985, 1986, 1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2002,
@c   2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008  Free Software Foundation, Inc.
@c See file emacs.texi for copying conditions.
@node M-x, Help, Minibuffer, Top
@chapter Running Commands by Name

  Every Emacs command has a name that you can use to run it.  For
convenience, many commands also have key bindings.  You can run those
commands by typing the keys, or run them by name.  Most Emacs commands
have no key bindings, so the only way to run them is by name.
(@xref{Key Bindings}, for how to set up key bindings.)

  By convention, a command name consists of one or more words,
separated by hyphens; for example, @code{auto-fill-mode} or
@code{manual-entry}.  Command names mostly use complete English words
to make them easier to remember.

@kindex M-x
  To run a command by name, start with @kbd{M-x}, type the command
name, then terminate it with @key{RET}.  @kbd{M-x} uses the minibuffer
to read the command name.  The string @samp{M-x} appears at the
beginning of the minibuffer as a @dfn{prompt} to remind you to enter a
command name to be run.  @key{RET} exits the minibuffer and runs the
command.  @xref{Minibuffer}, for more information on the minibuffer.

  You can use completion to enter the command name.  For example,
to invoke the command @code{forward-char}, you can type

@example
M-x forward-char @key{RET}
@end example

@noindent
or

@example
M-x forw @key{TAB} c @key{RET}
@end example

@noindent
Note that @code{forward-char} is the same command that you invoke with
the key @kbd{C-f}.  The existence of a key binding does not stop you
from running the command by name.

  To cancel the @kbd{M-x} and not run a command, type @kbd{C-g} instead
of entering the command name.  This takes you back to command level.

  To pass a numeric argument to the command you are invoking with
@kbd{M-x}, specify the numeric argument before @kbd{M-x}.  The
argument value appears in the prompt while the command name is being
read, and finally @kbd{M-x} passes the argument to that command.

@vindex suggest-key-bindings
  When the command you run with @kbd{M-x} has a key binding, Emacs
mentions this in the echo area after running the command.  For
example, if you type @kbd{M-x forward-word}, the message says that you
can run the same command by typing @kbd{M-f}.  You can turn off these
messages by setting the variable @code{suggest-key-bindings} to
@code{nil}.

  In this manual, when we speak of running a command by name, we often
omit the @key{RET} that terminates the name.  Thus we might say
@kbd{M-x auto-fill-mode} rather than @kbd{M-x auto-fill-mode
@key{RET}}.  We mention the @key{RET} only for emphasis, such as when
the command is followed by arguments.

@findex execute-extended-command
  @kbd{M-x} works by running the command
@code{execute-extended-command}, which is responsible for reading the
name of another command and invoking it.

@ignore
   arch-tag: b67bff53-9628-4666-b94e-eda972a7ba56
@end ignore
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