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5 Selecting a Node

This section details the numerous Info commands which select a new node to view in the current window.

The most basic node commands are ‘n’, ‘p’, ‘u’, and ‘l’.

When you are viewing a node, the top line of the node contains some Info pointers which describe where the next, previous, and up nodes are. Info uses this line to move about the node structure of the file when you use the following commands:

n (next-node)
C-NEXT (on DOS/Windows only)

Select the ‘Next’ node.

The NEXT key is known as the PgDn key on some keyboards.

p (prev-node)
C-PREVIOUS (on DOS/Windows only)

Select the ‘Prev’ node.

The PREVIOUS key is known as the PgUp key on some keyboards.

u (up-node)
C-UP (an arrow key on DOS/Windows only)

Select the ‘Up’ node.

You can easily select a node that you have already viewed in this window by using the ‘l’ command—this name stands for “last”, and actually moves backwards through the history of visited nodes for this window. This is handy when you followed a reference to another node, possibly to read about a related issue, and would like then to resume reading at the same place where you started the excursion.

Each node where you press ‘l’ is discarded from the history. Thus, by the time you get to the first node you visited in a window, the entire history of that window is discarded.

l (history-node)
C-CENTER (on DOS/Windows only)

Pop the most recently selected node in this window from the node history.

Two additional commands make it easy to select the most commonly selected nodes; they are ‘t’ and ‘d’.

t (top-node)

Select the node ‘Top’ in the current Info file.

d (dir-node)

Select the directory node (i.e., the node ‘(dir)’).

Here are some other commands which immediately result in the selection of a different node in the current window:

< (first-node)

Selects the first node which appears in this file. This node is most often ‘Top’, but it does not have to be. With a numeric argument N, select the Nth node (the first node is node 1). An argument of zero is the same as the argument of 1.

> (last-node)

Select the last node which appears in this file. With a numeric argument N, select the Nth node (the first node is node 1). An argument of zero is the same as no argument, i.e., it selects the last node.

] (global-next-node)

Move forward through the node structure. If the node that you are currently viewing has a menu, select the first menu item. Otherwise, if this node has a ‘Next’ pointer, follow it. If there is no menu and no ‘Next’ pointer, then follow ‘Up’ pointers until there is a ‘Next’ pointer, and then follow it.

[ (global-prev-node)

Move backward through the node structure. If the node that you are currently viewing has a ‘Prev’ pointer, that node is selected. Otherwise, if the node has an ‘Up’ pointer, that node is selected, and if it has a menu, the last item in the menu is selected.

You can get the same behavior as global-next-node and global-prev-node while simply scrolling through the file with SPC and DEL (see scroll-behavior).

g (goto-node)

Read the name of a node and select it. If the desired node resides in some other file, you must type the node as it appears in that Info file, and include the name of the other file. For example,


finds the node ‘Buffers’ in the Info file emacs.

While reading the node name, completion (see completion) is only done for the nodes which reside in one of the Info files that were loaded in the current Info session.

O (goto-invocation)

Read the name of a program and look for a node in the current Info file which describes the invocation and the command-line options for that program. The default program name is derived from the name of the current Info file. This command does the same as the ‘--show-options’ command-line option (see --show-options), but it also allows to specify the program name; this is important for those manuals which describe several programs.

If you need to find the Invocation node of a program that is documented in another Info file, you need to visit that file before invoking ‘O’. For example, if you are reading the Emacs manual and want to see the command-line options of the makeinfo program, type g (texinfo) RET and then I makeinfo RET. If you don’t know what Info file documents the command, or if invoking ‘O’ doesn’t display the right node, go to the ‘(dir)’ node (using the ‘d’ command) and invoke ‘O’ from there.

G (menu-sequence)

Read a sequence of menu entries and follow it. Info prompts for a sequence of menu items separated by commas. (Since commas are not allowed in a node name, they are a natural choice for a delimiter in a list of menu items.) Info then looks up the first item in the menu of the node ‘(dir)’ (if the ‘(dir)’ node cannot be found, Info uses ‘Top’). If such an entry is found, Info goes to the node it points to and looks up the second item in the menu of that node, etc. In other words, you can specify a complete path which descends through the menu hierarchy of a particular Info file starting at the ‘(dir)’ node. This has the same effect as if you typed the menu item sequence on Info’s command line, see Info command-line arguments processing. For example,

 G Texinfo,Overview,Reporting Bugs RET

displays the node ‘Reporting Bugs’ in the Texinfo manual. (You don’t actually need to type the menu items in their full length, or in their exact letter-case. However, if you do type the menu items exactly, Info will find it faster.)

If any of the menu items you type are not found, Info stops at the last entry it did find and reports an error.

C-x C-f (view-file)

Read the name of a file and selects the entire file. The command

C-x C-f filename

is equivalent to typing

C-x C-b (list-visited-nodes)

Make a window containing a menu of all of the currently visited nodes. This window becomes the selected window, and you may use the standard Info commands within it.

C-x b (select-visited-node)

Select a node which has been previously visited in a visible window. This is similar to ‘C-x C-b’ followed by ‘m’, but no window is created.

M-x man

Read the name of a man page to load and display. This uses the man command on your system to retrieve the contents of the requested man page. See also see --raw-escapes.

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