Fill current paragraph (
Set the fill column (
Fill each paragraph in the region (
Fill the region, considering it as one paragraph.
Center a line.
fill-paragraph) fills the current paragraph. It redistributes the line breaks within the paragraph, and deletes any excess space and tab characters occurring within the paragraph, in such a way that the lines end up fitting within a certain maximum width.
M-q acts on the paragraph where point is, but if point is between paragraphs, it acts on the paragraph after point. If the region is active, it acts instead on the text in the region. You can also call
M-x fill-region to specifically fill the text in the region.
fill-region use the usual Emacs criteria for finding paragraph boundaries (see Paragraphs). For more control, you can use
M-x fill-region-as-paragraph, which refills everything between point and mark as a single paragraph. This command deletes any blank lines within the region, so separate blocks of text end up combined into one block.
A numeric argument to
M-q tells it to justify the text as well as filling it. This means that extra spaces are inserted to make the right margin line up exactly at the fill column. To remove the extra spaces, use
M-q with no argument. (Likewise for
The maximum line width for filling is specified by the buffer-local variable
fill-column. The default value (see Locals) is 70. The easiest way to set
fill-column in the current buffer is to use the command
C-x f (
set-fill-column). With a numeric argument, it uses that as the new fill column. With just
C-u as argument, it sets
fill-column to the current horizontal position of point.
M-o M-s (
center-line) centers the current line within the current fill column. With an argument
n, it centers
n lines individually and moves past them. This binding is made by Text mode and is available only in that and related modes (see Text Mode).
By default, Emacs considers a period followed by two spaces or by a newline as the end of a sentence; a period followed by just one space indicates an abbreviation, not the end of a sentence. Accordingly, the fill commands will not break a line after a period followed by just one space. If you set the variable
nil, the fill commands will break a line after a period followed by one space, and put just one space after each period. See Sentences, for other effects and possible drawbacks of this.
If the variable
colon-double-space is non-
nil, the fill commands put two spaces after a colon.
To specify additional conditions where line-breaking is not allowed, customize the abnormal hook variable
fill-nobreak-predicate (see Hooks). Each function in this hook is called with no arguments, with point positioned where Emacs is considering breaking a line. If a function returns a non-
nil value, Emacs will not break the line there. Functions you can use there include:
fill-single-word-nobreak-p (don’t break after the first word of a sentence or before the last);
fill-single-char-nobreak-p (don’t break after a one-letter word preceded by a whitespace character);
fill-french-nobreak-p (don’t break after ‘
(’ or before ‘
:’ or ‘
fill-polish-nobreak-p (don’t break after a one letter word, even if preceded by a non-whitespace character).
Emacs can display an indicator in the
fill-column position using the Display fill column indicator mode (see display-fill-column-indicator).