Moving Around A Page

The arrow keys are arranged like an upside down T between the numeric keypad and the main keyboard. You can use those keys to move, but you will later find it more convenient to use the Control Keys.

C-n Moves to next line.
C-p Moves to previous line.
C-f Moves back one character.
C-b Moves forward one character.
C-v Moves down one frame (also Page-Down).
M-v Moves up one frame (also Page-Up).
M-C-v Yes, Meta-Control-v, this will move the other frame down one frame full of text. This is very useful if the other frame is a help page.

These commands are the same no matter what type of buffer you are using. When looking at your file list in dired-mode, forward and backward are not very useful, but they are still there.

CautionRemember: Backspace is not Delete

Backspace will erase previous characters, the Delete key will erase the next characters, and arrow keys do not erase anything. Trying to delete characters on a protected page will give you an error message.

Most emacspeak movement commands have a Meta version that is like the Control version but operates differently depending on what you are doing. For example, M-f moves forward one word, M-b moves back one word.

What are Buffers and Frames?

Emacs came from the computer science labs at MIT; expect many geek words. For example, no matter what you are doing, the thing you are working on is called a buffer. A buffer is a magical imaginary place where stuff is kept. You could call it a workspace, a bit bucket or a page. Emacs calls it a buffer.

You can open many buffers, one for email, one for writing, one for surfing the web, and you can move from one buffer to another. Buffers are not saved when you leave them, they are just off the air.

Think of buffers as radio stations, not telephone calls. You can tune them in or tune them out, but you won't hang up on them until you save them and "kill buffer" to dump them.

You tune in a buffer through a Frame. You can have many frames open, but you can only hear one at a time. Usually, you have only one or two frames (visual users see a split screen). If you have two open frames (on two different buffers or different places in the same buffer), you can switch between them and emacspeak will tell you the name of the buffer you have just entered.

Example 1. An example of switching frames

The Help pages, directory lists and info pages all open a new second frame to let you jump between the help and your work without losing your place in either frame. Emacspeak will start to read the help until you try to do something; then it returns to your main frame.

Expect to be confused.

Some buffers are silent. For example, if you copy files to some other computer, there is a hidden buffer where Emacs does this transfer. You will normally never hear these buffers, but you will find them listed in the buffer directory and may stumble into one, especially the buffer called "Messages".