On a text-only terminal, the Emacs display occupies the entire terminal screen. On a graphical display, such as on GNU/Linux using the X Window System, Emacs creates its own windows to use. We use the term frame to mean the entire terminal screen or graphical window used by Emacs. Emacs uses both kinds of frames, in the same way, to display your editing. Emacs normally starts out with just one frame, but you can create additional frames if you wish (see Frames).
The frame consists of several distinct regions. At the top of the frame is a menu bar, which allows you to access commands via a series of menus. On a graphical display, directly below the menu bar is a tool bar, a row of icons that perform editing commands if you click on them. At the very bottom of the frame is a special echo area, where short informative messages are displayed and where you enter information when Emacs asks for it.
The main area of the frame, below the tool bar (if one exists) and above the echo area, is called the window. This is where Emacs displays the buffer: the text that you are editing. On a graphical display, the window possesses a scroll bar on one side, which you can use to display different parts of the buffer in the window. The last line of the window is a mode line. This displays various information about what is going on in the buffer, such as whether there are unsaved changes, the editing modes that are in use, the current line number, and so forth.
When you start Emacs, there is normally only one window in the frame. However, you can subdivide this window horizontally or vertically to create multiple windows, each of which can independently display a buffer (see Windows). In this manual, the word “window” refers to the initial large window if not subdivided, or any one of the multiple windows you have subdivided it into.
At any time, one window is the selected window. On graphical displays, the selected window normally shows a more prominent cursor (usually solid and blinking) while other windows show a weaker cursor (such as a hollow box). Text terminals have just one cursor, so it always appears in the selected window. The buffer displayed in the selected window is called the current buffer, and it is where editing happens. Most Emacs commands implicitly apply to the current buffer; the text displayed in unselected windows is mostly visible for reference. If you use multiple frames on a graphical display, selecting a particular frame selects a window in that frame.blog comments powered by Disqus