Emacs: What is Minor Mode
What is Minor Mode
Minor modes are like “preference” settings. Each minor mode changes emacs behavior or add some features.
The behavior change may be keys, or mouse behavior, or editing behavior, or visual display, or it can be anything emacs does.
Each buffer/file can have more than one minor modes on.
Example of Minor Modes
display-line-numbers-mode[see Emacs: Show Line Numbers]
font-lock-mode(syntax coloring) [see Emacs Lisp: Font Lock Mode Basics]
abbrev-mode[see Emacs: Abbrev Mode by Lisp Code]
delete-selection-mode(typing overrides text selection if exist)
electric-pair-mode[see Emacs: electric-pair-mode (Auto Insert Closing Bracket)]
global-auto-revert-mode(automatically update buffer if files changed on disk by others)
subword-mode[see Emacs: Move Cursor by camelCase, snake_case]
mouse-wheel-mode(enable mouse wheel) [see Emacs Init: Mouse Config]
Show Current Minor Modes
- list enabled minor modes of current buffer.
- variable. Value is a list of all minor mode functions. [see Emacs: Show Variable Value]
Toggle On/Off Minor Mode
Minor modes typically have a command to toggle it on/off.
is a command to turn on/off line numbers in margin.
[see Emacs: Show Line Numbers]
Turn On/Off Minor Mode in Emacs Init
When calling a mode function in lisp init file, give it an argument:
1→ turn on
-1→ turn off
;; turn on (global-display-line-numbers-mode 1) ;; turn off (global-display-line-numbers-mode -1)
Note: the argument to minor mode changed in emacs 23.2 [see Emacs 23.2 (Released 2010-05)]
- Before emacs 23.2: when called in lisp code, no arg means toggle, same as when called interactively.
- After emacs 23.2: when called in lisp code, no arg will turn on. Arg of nil will also turn on.
Global Minor Mode vs Current Buffer
- Some minor mode are global. That is, for every buffer. There is no per buffer on/off. For example,
show-paren-mode. [see Emacs: electric-pair-mode (Auto Insert Closing Bracket)]
- Some minor mode are per buffer, For example,
display-line-numbers-modeto toggle for current buffer, and
global-display-line-numbers-modeto toggle for all buffers. [see Emacs: Show Line Numbers]
For those per-buffer minor modes, it may not have a command to toggle on/off for all buffers.
auto-fill-mode will toggle for current buffer, but no global command.
Current State of a Minor Mode
Typically, if a mode has a command named “xx-mode”, it also has a variable of the same name “xx-mode”. Its value is t if the mode is on, else nil. You can check this variable for the mode's on/off state.
[see Emacs: Show Variable Value, List Variables]
(If you want to turn on/off a mode, call the function, not set the variable.)
If you also need to check if a mode (package) is loaded, see: Emacs Lisp: Check If a function/variable is Defined