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Learning GNU Emacs, Second Edition by Eric S. Raymond, Bill Rosenblatt, Debra Cameron

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Help Commands

Emacs has many help commands, which are available as standard Emacs commands or as options to the C-h help key. [94] They can be used to find information about commands, keystrokes, variables, modes, and various things about Emacs in general. The most basic help command is C-h C-h (help-for-help); the second keystroke is C-h even if you have rebound your help key. C-h ? also invokes help-for-help. This command causes Emacs to open a *Help* buffer in a window with descriptions of all the help commands. You can type any one of these help keys, or, if you press SPACE, the *Help* window scrolls down as if you pressed C-v. Any other key aborts the whole process. If you scroll to the bottom of the help documentation, you can type a help key or any other key to abort.

The keys listed in the above minibuffer messages are those that, when appended to your help key, run Emacs’ help commands at any time. Now we will discuss each of these. Help commands divide into two general categories: those that provide answers to specific questions and those that give general information about Emacs.

You will find the help commands in the former category to be invaluable after you have become comfortable with Emacs. Because it is so large and functionally rich, there will be times when you need to look up a detail such as a keystroke or command name or when you need to do something with Emacs that you don’t know exactly how to do. As we’ve repeated again and again throughout this book, Emacs ...

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