Skip to main content

15.1 Incremental Search

The principal search command in Emacs is incremental: it begins searching as soon as you type the first character of the search string. As you type in the search string, Emacs shows you where the string (as you have typed it so far) would be found. When you have typed enough characters to identify the place you want, you can stop. Depending on what you plan to do next, you may or may not need to terminate the search explicitly with RET.


Incremental search forward (isearch-forward).


Incremental search backward (isearch-backward).

You can also invoke incremental search from the menu bar’s ‘Edit->Search’ menu.

Basic Isearch  Basic incremental search commands.
Repeat Isearch  Searching for the same string again.
Isearch Yank  Commands that grab text into the search string or else edit the search string.
Error in Isearch  When your string is not found.
Special Isearch  Special input in incremental search.
Not Exiting Isearch  Prefix argument and scrolling commands.
Isearch Minibuffer  Incremental search of the minibuffer history.