Display on MS-DOS cannot use font variants, like bold or italic, but
it does support multiple faces, each of which can specify a foreground
and a background color. Therefore, you can get the full functionality
of Emacs packages that use fonts (such as
Text mode, and others) by defining the relevant faces to use different
colors. Use the
to see what colors and faces are available and what they look like.
See MS-DOS and MULE, later in this chapter, for information on how Emacs displays glyphs and characters that aren’t supported by the native font built into the DOS display.
When Emacs starts, it changes the cursor shape to a solid box. This
is for compatibility with other systems, where the box cursor is the
default in Emacs. This default shape can be changed to a bar by
specifying the cursor-type parameter in the variable
(see Creating Frames).
The MS-DOS terminal doesn’t support a vertical-bar cursor,
so the bar cursor is horizontal, and the
if specified by the frame parameters, actually determines its height.
For this reason, the
hbar cursor types produce
the same effect on MS-DOS. As an extension, the bar cursor
specification can include the starting scan line of the cursor as well
as its width, like this:
'(cursor-type bar width . start)
In addition, if the width parameter is negative, the cursor bar begins at the top of the character cell.
The MS-DOS terminal can only display a single frame at a time. The Emacs frame facilities work on MS-DOS much as they do on text terminals (see Frames). When you run Emacs from a DOS window on MS-Windows, you can make the visible frame smaller than the full screen, but Emacs still cannot display more than a single frame at a time.
dos-mode4350 command switches the display to 43 or 50
lines, depending on your hardware; the
dos-mode25 command switches
to the default 80x25 screen size.
By default, Emacs only knows how to set screen sizes of 80 columns by
25, 28, 35, 40, 43 or 50 rows. However, if your video adapter has
special video modes that will switch the display to other sizes, you can
have Emacs support those too. When you ask Emacs to switch the frame to
n rows by m columns dimensions, it checks if there is a
screen-dimensions-nxm, and if so,
uses its value (which must be an integer) as the video mode to switch
to. (Emacs switches to that video mode by calling the BIOS
Video Mode function with the value of
screen-dimensions-nxm in the
For example, suppose your adapter will switch to 66x80 dimensions when
put into video mode 85. Then you can make Emacs support this screen
size by putting the following into your _emacs file:
(setq screen-dimensions-66x80 85)
Since Emacs on MS-DOS can only set the frame size to specific supported dimensions, it cannot honor every possible frame resizing request. When an unsupported size is requested, Emacs chooses the next larger supported size beyond the specified size. For example, if you ask for 36x80 frame, you will get 40x80 instead.
screen-dimensions-nxm are used only
when they exactly match the specified size; the search for the next
larger supported size ignores them. In the above example, even if your
VGA supports 38x80 dimensions and you define a variable
screen-dimensions-38x80 with a suitable value, you will still get
40x80 screen when you ask for a 36x80 frame. If you want to get the
38x80 size in this case, you can do it by setting the variable named
screen-dimensions-36x80 with the same video mode value as
Changing frame dimensions on MS-DOS has the effect of changing all the other frames to the new dimensions.