Emacs: iswitchb vs ido mode

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

iswitchb is Obsolete Since Emacs 24.4

Note: iswitchb-mode is in emacs 22, but declared obsolete in emacs 24.4. Replaced by icomplete-mode completion for switching buffers or opening files. (I used it since 2008.)

[see Emacs 24.4 Features (released 2014-10)]

iswitchb vs ido mode

emacs ido mode 2017 07 10 35659
emacs ido mode

By default, emacs has completion when you switch buffer. But you have to type the Tab key to see a list. It's rather cumbersome.

iswitchb-mode improves that. It automatically display choices, and you don't have to actually complete the name. When you see that the first choice displayed is what you want, just Enter and you are done.

ido-mode is even better. You can use arrow keys to select choices. Also, the display of choices is more clear.

[see Emacs: ido mode in emacs 27]

What is the Difference Between iswitchb and ido?

iswitchb is only for switch-to-buffer.

ido is for switch-to-buffer and also for opening file (find-file).

iswitchb doesn't let you nagivate choices.

ido let you nagivate candidates using arrow keys {, }.

Emacs Completion