If a buffer contains text that is too large to fit entirely within a window that is displaying the buffer, Emacs shows a contiguous portion of the text. The portion shown always contains point.
Scrolling means moving text up or down in the window so that different parts of the text are visible. Scrolling forward means that text moves up, and new text appears at the bottom. Scrolling backward moves text down and new text appears at the top.
Scrolling happens automatically if you move point past the bottom or top of the window. You can also explicitly request scrolling with the commands in this section.
The most basic scrolling command is C-l (
no argument. It clears the entire screen and redisplays all windows.
In addition, it scrolls the selected window so that point is halfway
down from the top of the window.
The scrolling commands C-v and M-v let you move all the text
in the window up or down a few lines. C-v (
scroll-up) with an
argument shows you that many more lines at the bottom of the window, moving
the text and point up together as C-l might. C-v with a
negative argument shows you more lines at the top of the window.
scroll-down) is like C-v, but moves in the
opposite direction. The function keys NEXT and PRIOR are
equivalent to C-v and M-v.
To read the buffer a windowful at a time, use C-v with no argument.
It takes the last two lines at the bottom of the window and puts them at
the top, followed by nearly a whole windowful of lines not previously
visible. If point was in the text scrolled off the top, it moves to the
new top of the window. M-v with no argument moves backward with
overlap similarly. The number of lines of overlap across a C-v or
M-v is controlled by the variable
default, it is two.
Another way to do scrolling is with C-l with a numeric argument. C-l does not clear the screen when given an argument; it only scrolls the selected window. With a positive argument n, it repositions text to put point n lines down from the top. An argument of zero puts point on the very top line. Point does not move with respect to the text; rather, the text and point move rigidly on the screen. C-l with a negative argument puts point that many lines from the bottom of the window. For example, C-u - 1 C-l puts point on the bottom line, and C-u - 5 C-l puts it five lines from the bottom. Just C-u as argument, as in C-u C-l, scrolls point to the center of the screen.
The C-M-l command (
reposition-window) scrolls the current
window heuristically in a way designed to get useful information onto
the screen. For example, in a Lisp file, this command tries to get the
entire current defun onto the screen if possible.
Scrolling happens automatically if point has moved out of the visible
portion of the text when it is time to display. Usually the scrolling is
done so as to put point vertically centered within the window. However, if
scroll-step has a nonzero value, an attempt is made to
scroll the buffer by that many lines; if that is enough to bring point back
into visibility, that is what is done.