GNU Emacs

10.5 Help Mode Commands

Help buffers have Help mode as their major mode. Help mode provides the same commands as View mode (see View Mode); for instance, SPC scrolls forward, and DEL or S-SPC scrolls backward. It also provides a few special commands:


Follow a cross reference at point ( help-follow).


Move point forward to the next hyperlink ( forward-button).


Move point back to the previous hyperlink ( backward-button).


Follow a hyperlink that you click on.

C-c C-c

Show all documentation about the symbol at point ( help-follow-symbol).

C-c C-f``r

Go forward to the next help topic ( help-go-forward).

C-c C-b``l

Go back to the previous help topic ( help-go-back).


View the source of the current help topic (if any) ( help-view-source).


Look up the current topic in the manual(s) ( help-goto-info).


Customize the variable or the face ( help-customize).

When a function name, variable name, or face name (see Text Faces) appears in the documentation in the help buffer, it is normally an underlined hyperlink. To view the associated documentation, move point there and type RET ( help-follow), or click on the hyperlink with mouse-1 or mouse-2. Doing so replaces the contents of the help buffer; to retrace your steps, type C-c C-b or l ( help-go-back). While retracing your steps, you can go forward by using C-c C-f or r ( help-go-forward).

A help buffer can also contain hyperlinks to Info manuals, source code definitions, and URLs (web pages). The first two are opened in Emacs, and the third using a web browser via the browse-url command (see Following URLs).

In a help buffer, TAB ( forward-button) moves point forward to the next hyperlink, while S-TAB ( backward-button) moves point back to the previous hyperlink. These commands act cyclically; for instance, typing TAB at the last hyperlink moves back to the first hyperlink.

To view all documentation about any symbol in the text, move point to the symbol and type C-c C-c ( help-follow-symbol). This shows the documentation for all the meanings of the symbol—as a variable, as a function, and/or as a face.