The minibuffer is where Emacs commands read complicated arguments, such as file names, buffer names, Emacs command names, or Lisp expressions. We call it the “minibuffer” because it's a special-purpose buffer with a small amount of screen space. You can use the usual Emacs editing commands in the minibuffer to edit the argument text.
When the minibuffer is in use, it appears in the echo area, with a cursor. The minibuffer display starts with a prompt in a distinct color, usually ending with a colon. The prompt states what kind of input is expected, and how it will be used.
The simplest way to enter a minibuffer argument is to type the text, then <RET> to submit the argument and exit the minibuffer. You can cancel the minibuffer, and the command that wants the argument, by typing C-g.
Sometimes, a default argument appears in the prompt, inside parentheses before the colon. The default will be used as the argument value if you just type <RET>. For example, commands that read buffer names usually show a buffer name as the default; you can type <RET> to operate on that default buffer.
Since the minibuffer appears in the echo area, it can conflict with other uses of the echo area. If an error occurs while the minibuffer is active, the error message hides the minibuffer for a few seconds, or until you type something; then the minibuffer comes back. If a command such as C-x = needs to display a message in the echo area, the message hides the minibuffer for a few seconds, or until you type something; then the minibuffer comes back. While the minibuffer is in use, keystrokes do not echo.blog comments powered by Disqus