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GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual

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38.16 Usual Display Conventions

The usual display conventions define how to display each character code. You can override these conventions by setting up a display table (see section 38.17 Display Tables). Here are the usual display conventions:

The usual display conventions apply even when there is a display table, for any character whose entry in the active display table is nil. Thus, when you set up a display table, you need only specify the characters for which you want special behavior.

These display rules apply to carriage return (character code 13), when it appears in the buffer. But that character may not appear in the buffer where you expect it, if it was eliminated as part of end-of-line conversion (see section 33.10.1 Basic Concepts of Coding Systems).

These variables affect the way certain characters are displayed on the screen. Since they change the number of columns the characters occupy, they also affect the indentation functions. These variables also affect how the mode line is displayed; if you want to force redisplay of the mode line using the new values, call the function force-mode-line-update (see section 23.3 Mode Line Format).

User Option: ctl-arrow
This buffer-local variable controls how control characters are displayed. If it is non-nil, they are displayed as a caret followed by the character: `^A'. If it is nil, they are displayed as a backslash followed by three octal digits: `\001'.

Variable: default-ctl-arrow
The value of this variable is the default value for ctl-arrow in buffers that do not override it. See section 11.10.3 The Default Value of a Buffer-Local Variable.

User Option: indicate-empty-lines
When this is non-nil, Emacs displays a special glyph in each empty line at the end of the buffer, on terminals that support it (window systems).

User Option: tab-width
The value of this variable is the spacing between tab stops used for displaying tab characters in Emacs buffers. The value is in units of columns, and the default is 8. Note that this feature is completely independent of the user-settable tab stops used by the command tab-to-tab-stop. See section 32.17.5 Adjustable "Tab Stops".

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