In each frame, at any time, exactly one Emacs window is designated
as selected within the frame. For the selected frame, that
window is called the selected window—the one in which most
editing takes place, and in which the cursor for selected windows
appears (see Cursor Parameters). Keyboard input that inserts or
deletes text is also normally directed to this window. The selected
window’s buffer is usually also the current buffer, except when
set-buffer has been used (see The Current Buffer). As for
non-selected frames, the window selected within the frame becomes the
selected window if the frame is ever selected.
This function returns the selected window (which is always a live window).
The following function explicitly selects a window and its frame.
This function makes window the selected window and the window
selected within its frame, and selects that frame. It also makes
window’s buffer (see Buffers and Windows) current and sets
that buffer’s value of
point to the value of
(see Windows and Point) in window. window must be a live
window. The return value is window.
By default, this function also moves window’s buffer to the front
of the buffer list (see The Buffer List) and makes window the most
recently selected window. If the optional argument norecord is
nil, these additional actions are omitted.
In addition, this function by default also tells the display engine to
update the display of window when its frame gets redisplayed the
next time. If norecord is non-
nil, such updates are
usually not performed. If, however, norecord equals the special
mark-for-redisplay, the additional actions mentioned above
are omitted but window’s display will be nevertheless updated.
Note that sometimes selecting a window is not enough to show it, or make its frame the top-most frame on display: you may also need to raise the frame or make sure input focus is directed to that frame. See Input Focus.
For historical reasons, Emacs does not run a separate hook whenever a window gets selected. Applications and internal routines often temporarily select a window to perform a few actions on it. They do that either to simplify coding—because many functions by default operate on the selected window when no window argument is specified—or because some functions did not (and still do not) take a window as argument and always operate(d) on the selected window instead. Running a hook every time a window gets selected for a short time and once more when the previously selected window gets restored is not useful.
However, when its norecord argument is
select-window updates the buffer list and thus indirectly runs
the normal hook
buffer-list-update-hook (see The Buffer List).
Consequently, that hook provides one way to run a function whenever a
window gets selected more “permanently”.
buffer-list-update-hook is also run by functions that are
not related to window management, it will usually make sense to save the
value of the selected window somewhere and compare it with the value of
selected-window while running that hook. Also, to avoid false
positives when using
buffer-list-update-hook, it is good practice
select-window call supposed to select a window only
temporarily passes a non-
nil norecord argument. If
possible, the macro
with-selected-window (see below) should be
used in such cases.
Emacs also runs the hook
whenever the redisplay routine detects that another window has been
selected since last redisplay. See Hooks for Window Scrolling and Changes, for a detailed
window-state-change-functions (described in the
same section) is another abnormal hook run after a different window
has been selected but is triggered by other window changes as well.
The sequence of calls to
select-window with a non-
norecord argument determines an ordering of windows by their
selection or use time, see below. The function
for example, can then be used to retrieve the least recently selected
window (see Cyclic Ordering of Windows).
This function returns the window on frame that is selected
within that frame. frame should be a live frame; if omitted or
nil, it defaults to the selected frame.
This function makes window the window selected within the frame
frame. frame should be a live frame; if
defaults to the selected frame. window should be a live window;
nil, it defaults to the selected window.
If frame is the selected frame, this makes window the selected window.
If the optional argument norecord is non-
nil, this function
does not alter the ordering of the most recently selected windows, nor
the buffer list.
The following macros are useful to temporarily select a window without affecting the ordering of recently selected windows or the buffer list.
This macro records the selected frame, as well as the selected window of each frame, executes forms in sequence, then restores the earlier selected frame and windows. It also saves and restores the current buffer. It returns the value of the last form in forms.
This macro does not save or restore anything about the sizes, arrangement or contents of windows; therefore, if forms change them, the change persists. If the previously selected window of some frame is no longer live at the time of exit from forms, that frame’s selected window is left alone. If the previously selected window is no longer live, then whatever window is selected at the end of forms remains selected. The current buffer is restored if and only if it is still live when exiting forms.
This macro changes neither the ordering of recently selected windows nor the buffer list.
This macro selects window, executes forms in sequence, then
restores the previously selected window and current buffer. The
ordering of recently selected windows and the buffer list remain
unchanged unless you deliberately change them within forms; for
example, by calling
select-window with argument norecord
nil. Hence, this macro is the preferred way to temporarily work
with window as the selected window without needlessly running
This macro executes forms with frame as the selected frame. The value returned is the value of the last form in forms. This macro saves and restores the selected frame, and changes the order of neither the recently selected windows nor the buffers in the buffer list.
This function returns the use time of window window. window must be a live window and defaults to the selected one.
The use time of a window is not really a time value, but an
integer that does increase monotonically with each call of
select-window with a
nil norecord argument. The
window with the lowest use time is usually called the least recently
used window while the window with the highest use time is called the
most recently used one (see Cyclic Ordering of Windows).
This function marks window as being the most recently used
one. This can be useful when writing certain
scenarios (see Switching to a Buffer in a Window). window must be a live
window and defaults to the selected one.
Sometimes several windows collectively and
cooperatively display a buffer, for example, under the management of
Follow Mode (see (emacs)Follow Mode), where the windows together
display a bigger portion of the buffer than one window could alone.
It is often useful to consider such a window group as a single
entity. Several functions such as
(see The Window Start and End Positions) allow you to do this by supplying, as
an argument, one of the windows as a stand-in for the whole group.
When the selected window is a member of a group of windows, this function returns a list of the windows in the group, ordered such that the first window in the list is displaying the earliest part of the buffer, and so on. Otherwise the function returns a list containing just the selected window.
The selected window is considered part of a group when the buffer
selected-window-group-function is set to a
function. In this case,
selected-window-group calls it with no
arguments and returns its result (which should be the list of windows
in the group).