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GNU Emacs Manual

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W.2 Tags Tables

A tags table is a description of how a multi-file program is broken up into files. It lists the names of the component files and the names and positions of the functions (or other named subunits) in each file. Grouping the related files makes it possible to search or replace through all the files with one command. Recording the function names and positions makes possible the M-. command which finds the definition of a function by looking up which of the files it is in.

Tags tables are stored in files called tags table files. The conventional name for a tags table file is `TAGS'.

Each entry in the tags table records the name of one tag, the name of the file that the tag is defined in (implicitly), and the position in that file of the tag's definition.

Just what names from the described files are recorded in the tags table depends on the programming language of the described file. They normally include all file names, functions and subroutines, and may also include global variables, data types, and anything else convenient. Each name recorded is called a tag.

See also the Ebrowse facility, which is tailored for C++. See section `Ebrowse' in Ebrowse User's Manual.

W.2.1 Source File Tag Syntax  Tag syntax for various types of code and text files.
W.2.2 Creating Tags Tables  Creating a tags table with etags.
W.2.3 Etags Regexps  Create arbitrary tags using regular expressions.
W.2.4 Selecting a Tags Table  How to visit a tags table.
W.2.5 Finding a Tag  Commands to find the definition of a specific tag.
W.2.6 Searching and Replacing with Tags Tables  Using a tags table for searching and replacing.
W.2.7 Tags Table Inquiries  Listing and finding tags defined in a file.


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