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Programming in Emacs Lisp

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16.11 A Simple Extension: line-to-top-of-window

Here is a simple extension to Emacs that moves the line point is on to the top of the window. I use this all the time, to make text easier to read.

You can put the following code into a separate file and then load it from your `.emacs' file, or you can include it within your `.emacs' file.

Here is the definition:

;;; Line to top of window;
;;; replace three keystroke sequence  C-u 0 C-l
(defun line-to-top-of-window ()
  "Move the line point is on to top of window."
  (recenter 0))

Now for the keybinding.

Nowadays, function keys as well as mouse button events and non-ASCII characters are written within square brackets, without quotation marks. (In Emacs version 18 and before, you had to write different function key bindings for each different make of terminal.)

I bind line-to-top-of-window to my F6 function key like this:

(global-set-key [f6] 'line-to-top-of-window)

For more information, see section `Rebinding Keys in Your Init File' in The GNU Emacs Manual.

If you run two versions of GNU Emacs, such as versions 20 and 21, and use one `.emacs' file, you can select which code to evaluate with the following conditional:

 ((string-equal (number-to-string 20) (substring (emacs-version) 10 12))
  ;; evaluate version 20 code
  ( ... ))
 ((string-equal (number-to-string 21) (substring (emacs-version) 10 12))
  ;; evaluate version 21 code
  ( ... )))

For example, in contrast to version 20, version 21 blinks its cursor by default. I hate such blinking, as well as some other features in version 21, so I placed the following in my `.emacs' file(12):

(if (string-equal "21" (substring (emacs-version) 10 12))
      (blink-cursor-mode 0)
      ;; Insert newline when you press `C-n' (next-line)
      ;; at the end of the buffer
      (setq next-line-add-newlines t)
      ;; Turn on image viewing
      (auto-image-file-mode t)
      ;; Turn on menu bar (this bar has text)
      ;; (Use numeric argument to turn on)
      (menu-bar-mode 1)
      ;; Turn off tool bar (this bar has icons)
      ;; (Use numeric argument to turn on)
      (tool-bar-mode nil)
      ;; Turn off tooltip mode for tool bar
      ;; (This mode causes icon explanations to pop up)
      ;; (Use numeric argument to turn on)
      (tooltip-mode nil)
      ;; If tooltips turned on, make tips appear promptly
      (setq tooltip-delay 0.1)  ; default is one second

(You will note that instead of typing (number-to-string 21), I decided to save typing and wrote `21' as a string, "21", rather than convert it from an integer to a string. In this instance, this expression is better than the longer, but more general (number-to-string 21). However, if you do not know ahead of time what type of information will be returned, then the number-to-string function will be needed.)

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