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You can use the function
read-quoted-char to ask the user to
specify a character, and allow the user to specify a control or meta
character conveniently, either literally or as an octal character code.
quoted-insert uses this function.
read-char, except that if the first character read is an octal digit (0-7), it reads any number of octal digits (but stopping if a non-octal digit is found), and returns the character represented by that numeric character code.
Quitting is suppressed when the first character is read, so that the user can enter a C-g. See section 21.10 Quitting.
If prompt is supplied, it specifies a string for prompting the user. The prompt string is always displayed in the echo area, followed by a single `-'.
In the following example, the user types in the octal number 177 (which is 127 in decimal).
(read-quoted-char "What character") ---------- Echo Area ---------- What character-177 ---------- Echo Area ---------- => 127
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