Emacs Advent Calendar 18: Line Breaking

Fri 2015-12-18

When a (logical) line is wider than an Emacs window it is wrapped around into the next (screen) line. There are alternatives to this behavior.

When line truncation is enabled with M-x toggle-truncate-lines, the remainder of a line is cut at the right window border. Moving point to the right in such a line scrolls the buffer horizontally.

To get line wrapping, but only on word boundaries, enable Visual Line Mode with M-x visual-line-mode. Here the commands C-a, C-e and C-k will operate on screen lines and not on logical lines. The line breaks inserted by Visual Line Mode will not be saved to the final file.

Alternatively, auto-fill-mode can be enabled. Here, hard line breaks will be inserted at word boundaries so that no text will be wider than the current value of fill-column, usually 70 characters.

Full documentation on this can be found in sections 14.21 (Line Truncation), 14.22 (Visual Line Mode) and 25.5.1 (Auto Fill Mode).

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This text by Ludger Sandig is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.