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GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual

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32.2 Examining Buffer Contents

This section describes two functions that allow a Lisp program to convert any portion of the text in the buffer into a string.

Function: buffer-substring start end
This function returns a string containing a copy of the text of the region defined by positions start and end in the current buffer. If the arguments are not positions in the accessible portion of the buffer, buffer-substring signals an args-out-of-range error.

It is not necessary for start to be less than end; the arguments can be given in either order. But most often the smaller argument is written first.

If the text being copied has any text properties, these are copied into the string along with the characters they belong to. See section 32.19 Text Properties. However, overlays (see section 38.9 Overlays) in the buffer and their properties are ignored, not copied.

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
This is the contents of buffer foo

---------- Buffer: foo ----------

(buffer-substring 1 10)
=> "This is t"
(buffer-substring (point-max) 10)
=> "he contents of buffer foo

Function: buffer-substring-no-properties start end
This is like buffer-substring, except that it does not copy text properties, just the characters themselves. See section 32.19 Text Properties.

Function: buffer-string
This function returns the contents of the entire accessible portion of the current buffer as a string. It is equivalent to

(buffer-substring (point-min) (point-max))

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
This is the contents of buffer foo

---------- Buffer: foo ----------

     => "This is the contents of buffer foo

Function: thing-at-point thing
Return the thing around or next to point, as a string.

The argument thing is a symbol which specifies a kind of syntactic entity. Possibilities include symbol, list, sexp, defun, filename, url, word, sentence, whitespace, line, page, and others.

---------- Buffer: foo ----------
Gentlemen may cry ``Pea-!-ce! Peace!,''
but there is no peace.
---------- Buffer: foo ----------

(thing-at-point 'word)
     => "Peace"
(thing-at-point 'line)
     => "Gentlemen may cry ``Peace! Peace!,''\n"
(thing-at-point 'whitespace)
     => nil

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