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GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual

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32.12 Margins for Filling

User Option: fill-prefix
This buffer-local variable specifies a string of text that appears at the beginning of normal text lines and should be disregarded when filling them. Any line that fails to start with the fill prefix is considered the start of a paragraph; so is any line that starts with the fill prefix followed by additional whitespace. Lines that start with the fill prefix but no additional whitespace are ordinary text lines that can be filled together. The resulting filled lines also start with the fill prefix.

The fill prefix follows the left margin whitespace, if any.

User Option: fill-column
This buffer-local variable specifies the maximum width of filled lines. Its value should be an integer, which is a number of columns. All the filling, justification, and centering commands are affected by this variable, including Auto Fill mode (see section 32.14 Auto Filling).

As a practical matter, if you are writing text for other people to read, you should set fill-column to no more than 70. Otherwise the line will be too long for people to read comfortably, and this can make the text seem clumsy.

Variable: default-fill-column
The value of this variable is the default value for fill-column in buffers that do not override it. This is the same as (default-value 'fill-column).

The default value for default-fill-column is 70.

Command: set-left-margin from to margin
This sets the left-margin property on the text from from to to to the value margin. If Auto Fill mode is enabled, this command also refills the region to fit the new margin.

Command: set-right-margin from to margin
This sets the right-margin property on the text from from to to to the value margin. If Auto Fill mode is enabled, this command also refills the region to fit the new margin.

Function: current-left-margin
This function returns the proper left margin value to use for filling the text around point. The value is the sum of the left-margin property of the character at the start of the current line (or zero if none), and the value of the variable left-margin.

Function: current-fill-column
This function returns the proper fill column value to use for filling the text around point. The value is the value of the fill-column variable, minus the value of the right-margin property of the character after point.

Command: move-to-left-margin &optional n force
This function moves point to the left margin of the current line. The column moved to is determined by calling the function current-left-margin. If the argument n is non-nil, move-to-left-margin moves forward n-1 lines first.

If force is non-nil, that says to fix the line's indentation if that doesn't match the left margin value.

Function: delete-to-left-margin &optional from to
This function removes left margin indentation from the text between from and to. The amount of indentation to delete is determined by calling current-left-margin. In no case does this function delete non-whitespace. If from and to are omitted, they default to the whole buffer.

Function: indent-to-left-margin
This is the default indent-line-function, used in Fundamental mode, Text mode, etc. Its effect is to adjust the indentation at the beginning of the current line to the value specified by the variable left-margin. This may involve either inserting or deleting whitespace.

Variable: left-margin
This variable specifies the base left margin column. In Fundamental mode, C-j indents to this column. This variable automatically becomes buffer-local when set in any fashion.

Variable: fill-nobreak-predicate
This variable gives major modes a way to specify not to break a line at certain places. Its value should be a function. This function is called during filling, with no arguments and with point located at the place where a break is being considered. If the function returns non-nil, then the line won't be broken there.

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