Skip to main content

10 Help

Emacs provides a wide variety of help commands, all accessible through the prefix key C-h (or, equivalently, the function key F1). These help commands are described in the following sections. You can also type C-h C-h to view a list of help commands (help-for-help). You can scroll the list with SPC and DEL, then type the help command you want. To cancel, type C-g.

Many help commands display their information in a special help buffer. In this buffer, you can type SPC and DEL to scroll and type RET to follow hyperlinks. See Help Mode.

If you are looking for a certain feature, but don’t know what it is called or where to look, we recommend three methods. First, try an apropos command, then try searching the manual index, then look in the FAQ and the package keywords.

C-h a topics RET

This searches for commands whose names match the argument topics. The argument can be a keyword, a list of keywords, or a regular expression (see Regexps). See Apropos.

C-h i d m emacs RET i topic RET

This searches for topic in the indices of the Emacs Info manual, displaying the first match found. Press , to see subsequent matches. You can use a regular expression as topic.

C-h i d m emacs RET s topic RET

Similar, but searches the text of the manual rather than the indices.

C-h C-f

This displays the Emacs FAQ, using Info.

C-h p

This displays the available Emacs packages based on keywords. See Package Keywords.

C-h or F1 mean “help" in various other contexts as well. For instance, you can type them after a prefix key to view a list of the keys that can follow the prefix key. (You can also use ? in this context. A few prefix keys don’t support C-h or ? in this way, because they define other meanings for those inputs, but they all support F1.)

Help Summary  Brief list of all Help commands.
Key Help  Asking what a key does in Emacs.
Name Help  Asking about a command, variable or function name.
Apropos  Asking what pertains to a given topic.
Help Mode  Special features of Help mode and Help buffers.
Package Keywords  Finding Lisp libraries by keywords (topics).
Language Help  Help relating to international language support.
Misc Help  Other help commands.
Help Files  Commands to display auxiliary help files.
Help Echo  Help on active text and tooltips (“balloon help").