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Programming in Emacs Lisp

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1.1.3 GNU Emacs Helps You Type Lists

When you type a Lisp expression in GNU Emacs using either Lisp Interaction mode or Emacs Lisp mode, you have available to you several commands to format the Lisp expression so it is easy to read. For example, pressing the TAB key automatically indents the line the cursor is on by the right amount. A command to properly indent the code in a region is customarily bound to M-C-\. Indentation is designed so that you can see which elements of a list belongs to which list--elements of a sub-list are indented more than the elements of the enclosing list.

In addition, when you type a closing parenthesis, Emacs momentarily jumps the cursor back to the matching opening parenthesis, so you can see which one it is. This is very useful, since every list you type in Lisp must have its closing parenthesis match its opening parenthesis. (See section `Major Modes' in The GNU Emacs Manual, for more information about Emacs' modes.)

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