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8.6 Bookmarks

Bookmarks are somewhat like registers in that they record positions you can jump to. Unlike registers, they have long names, and they persist automatically from one Emacs session to the next. The prototypical use of bookmarks is to record "where you were reading" in various files.

C-x r m RET
Set the bookmark for the visited file, at point.

C-x r m bookmark RET
Set the bookmark named bookmark at point (bookmark-set).

C-x r b bookmark RET
Jump to the bookmark named bookmark (bookmark-jump).

C-x r l
List all bookmarks (list-bookmarks).

M-x bookmark-save
Save all the current bookmark values in the default bookmark file.

The prototypical use for bookmarks is to record one current position in each of several files. So the command C-x r m, which sets a bookmark, uses the visited file name as the default for the bookmark name. If you name each bookmark after the file it points to, then you can conveniently revisit any of those files with C-x r b, and move to the position of the bookmark at the same time.

To display a list of all your bookmarks in a separate buffer, type C-x r l (list-bookmarks). If you switch to that buffer, you can use it to edit your bookmark definitions or annotate the bookmarks. Type C-h m in that buffer for more information about its special editing commands.

When you kill Emacs, Emacs offers to save your bookmark values in your default bookmark file, `~/.emacs.bmk', if you have changed any bookmark values. You can also save the bookmarks at any time with the M-x bookmark-save command. The bookmark commands load your default bookmark file automatically. This saving and loading is how bookmarks persist from one Emacs session to the next.

If you set the variable bookmark-save-flag to 1, then each command that sets a bookmark will also save your bookmarks; this way, you don't lose any bookmark values even if Emacs crashes. (The value, if a number, says how many bookmark modifications should go by between saving.)

Bookmark position values are saved with surrounding context, so that bookmark-jump can find the proper position even if the file is modified slightly. The variable bookmark-search-size says how many characters of context to record, on each side of the bookmark's position.

Here are some additional commands for working with bookmarks:

M-x bookmark-load RET filename RET
Load a file named filename that contains a list of bookmark values. You can use this command, as well as bookmark-write, to work with other files of bookmark values in addition to your default bookmark file.

M-x bookmark-write RET filename RET
Save all the current bookmark values in the file filename.

M-x bookmark-delete RET bookmark RET
Delete the bookmark named bookmark.

M-x bookmark-insert-location RET bookmark RET
Insert in the buffer the name of the file that bookmark bookmark points to.

M-x bookmark-insert RET bookmark RET
Insert in the buffer the contents of the file that bookmark bookmark points to.

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