Emacs on certain platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, and Unix) can display text in multiple fixed-width fonts. It doesn’t yet handle proportional-spacing fonts well, although future releases are expected to address that issue. Emacs can display text in as many combinations of foreground and background colors as your system supports. We’ll take a look at your options for changing fonts. You can make quick, interactive changes in any buffer. You can also customize the fonts and colors used by automatic highlight features such as Isearch and font-lock mode.
And just in case you want to use Emacs to edit rudimentary styled-text documents, we’ll also look at how to save and load files that have font and color enriched text.
Both Custom and the Edit menu in Emacs provide you with a way to change the current font and color by picking a new one from the Text Properties menu.
To understand the Text Properties menu, you’ll find it useful to know that Emacs thinks internally in terms of faces. A face is a font and color combination. The Text Properties menu presents you with a small set of premixed faces and the option to specify others by name.
We’ll go into more detail about faces, how to name them, and the related Lisp programming constructs later in this chapter. For now, consider simply that every character in a buffer may have a different face invisibly associated with it (though in practice it would be quite surprising if face changes were ...