A window is a place to show the text of a node. Windows have a view area where the text of the node is displayed, and an associated mode line, which briefly describes the node being viewed.
GNU Info supports multiple windows appearing in a single screen; each window is separated from the next by its modeline. At any time, there is only one active window, that is, the window in which the cursor appears. There are commands available for creating windows, changing the size of windows, selecting which window is active, and for deleting windows.
A mode line is a line of inverse video which appears at the bottom of an info window. It describes the contents of the window just above it; this information includes the name of the file and node appearing in that window, the number of screen lines it takes to display the node, and the percentage of text that is above the top of the window. It can also tell you if the indirect tags table for this info file needs to be updated, and whether or not the info file was compressed when stored on disk.
Here is a sample mode line for a window containing an uncompressed file named `dir', showing the node `Top'.
-----Info: (dir)Top, 40 lines --Top--------------------------------------- ^^ ^ ^^^ ^^ (file)Node #lines where
When a node comes from a file which is compressed on disk, this is indicated in the mode line with two small `z''s. In addition, if the info file containing the node has been split into subfiles, the name of the subfile containing the node appears in the modeline as well:
--zz-Info: (emacs)Top, 291 lines --Top-- Subfile: emacs-1.Z---------------
When Info makes a node internally, such that there is no corresponding info file on disk, the name of the node is surrounded by asterisks (`*'). The name itself tells you what the contents of the window are; the sample mode line below shows an internally constructed node showing possible completions:
-----Info: *Completions*, 7 lines --All-----------------------------------
It can be convenient to view more than one node at a time. To allow this, Info can display more than one window. Each window has its own mode line (see section The Mode Line) and history of nodes viewed in that window (see section Selecting a New Node).
automatic-tilingcan cause all of the windows on the screen to be resized for you automatically, please see section Manipulating Variables for more information.
tile-windowsto be called when a window is created or deleted. See section Manipulating Variables.
The echo area is a one line window which appears at the bottom of the screen. It is used to display informative or error messages, and to read lines of input from you when that is necessary. Almost all of the commands available in the echo area are identical to their Emacs counterparts, so please refer to that documentation for greater depth of discussion on the concepts of editing a line of text. The following table briefly lists the commands that are available while input is being read in the echo area:
The next group of commands deal with killing, and yanking text. For an in depth discussion of killing and yanking, see section `Killing and Deleting' in the GNU Emacs Manual
Sometimes when reading input in the echo area, the command that needed input will only accept one of a list of several choices. The choices represent the possible completions, and you must respond with one of them. Since there are a limited number of responses you can make, Info allows you to abbreviate what you type, only typing as much of the response as is necessary to uniquely identify it. In addition, you can request Info to fill in as much of the response as is possible; this is called completion.
The following commands are available when completing in the echo area:
bar foliate food forgetand you have typed an `f', followed by `?', the possible completions would contain:
foliate food forgeti.e., all of the choices which begin with `f'. Pressing SPC or TAB would result in `fo' appearing in the echo area, since all of the choices which begin with `f' continue with `o'. Now, typing `l' followed by `TAB' results in `foliate' appearing in the echo area, since that is the only choice which begins with `fol'.