22.1 Basic Use
- C-x (
- Start defining a keyboard macro (
- C-x )
- End the definition of a keyboard macro (
- C-x e
- Execute the most recent keyboard macro (
First end the definition of the keyboard macro, if currently defining it.
To immediately execute the keyboard macro again, just repeat the e.
- If a keyboard macro is being defined, end the definition; otherwise,
execute the most recent keyboard macro
- C-u C-x (
- Re-execute last keyboard macro, then add more keys to its definition.
- C-u C-u C-x (
- Add more keys to the last keyboard macro without re-executing it.
- C-x q
- When this point is reached during macro execution, ask for confirmation
- C-x C-k n
- Give a command name (for the duration of the session) to the most
recently defined keyboard macro (
- C-x C-k b
- Bind the most recently defined keyboard macro to a key sequence (for
the duration of the session) (
- M-x insert-kbd-macro
- Insert in the buffer a keyboard macro's definition, as Lisp code.
- C-x C-k e
- Edit a previously defined keyboard macro (
- C-x C-k r
- Run the last keyboard macro on each line that begins in the region
To start defining a keyboard macro, type the C-x ( command
kmacro-start-macro). From then on, your keys continue to be
executed, but also become part of the definition of the macro. ‘Def’
appears in the mode line to remind you of what is going on. When you are
finished, the C-x ) command (
kmacro-end-macro) terminates the
definition (without becoming part of it!). For example,
C-x ( M-f foo C-x )
defines a macro to move forward a word and then insert ‘foo’.
The macro thus defined can be invoked again with the C-x e
kmacro-end-and-call-macro), which may be given a
repeat count as a numeric argument to execute the macro many times.
If you enter C-x e while defining a macro, the macro is
terminated and executed immediately.
After executing the macro with C-x e, you can use e
repeatedly to immediately repeat the macro one or more times. For example,
C-x ( xyz C-x e e e
inserts ‘xyzxyzxyzxyz’ in the current buffer.
C-x ) can also be given a repeat count as an argument, in
which case it repeats the macro that many times right after defining
it, but defining the macro counts as the first repetition (since it is
executed as you define it). Therefore, giving C-x ) an argument
of 4 executes the macro immediately 3 additional times. An argument
of zero to C-x e or C-x ) means repeat the macro
indefinitely (until it gets an error or you type C-g or, on
The key <F4> is like a combination of C-x ) and C-x
e. If you're defining a macro, <F4> ends the definition.
Otherwise it executes the last macro.
If you wish to repeat an operation at regularly spaced places in the
text, define a macro and include as part of the macro the commands to move
to the next place you want to use it. For example, if you want to change
each line, you should position point at the start of a line, and define a
macro to change that line and leave point at the start of the next line.
Then repeating the macro will operate on successive lines.
When a command reads an argument with the minibuffer, your
minibuffer input becomes part of the macro along with the command. So
when you replay the macro, the command gets the same argument as
when you entered the macro. For example,
C-x ( C-a C-<SPC> C-n M-w C-x b f o o <RET> C-y C-x b <RET> C-x )
defines a macro that copies the current line into the buffer
‘foo’, then returns to the original buffer.
You can use function keys in a keyboard macro, just like keyboard
keys. You can even use mouse events, but be careful about that: when
the macro replays the mouse event, it uses the original mouse position
of that event, the position that the mouse had while you were defining
the macro. The effect of this may be hard to predict. (Using the
current mouse position would be even less predictable.)
One thing that doesn't always work well in a keyboard macro is the
command C-M-c (
exit-recursive-edit). When this command
exits a recursive edit that started within the macro, it works as you'd
expect. But if it exits a recursive edit that started before you
invoked the keyboard macro, it also necessarily exits the keyboard macro
as part of the process.
After you have terminated the definition of a keyboard macro, you can add
to the end of its definition by typing C-u C-x (. This is equivalent
to plain C-x ( followed by retyping the whole definition so far. As
a consequence it re-executes the macro as previously defined.
You can also add to the end of the definition of the last keyboard
macro without re-executing it by typing C-u C-u C-x (.
kmacro-execute-before-append specifies whether
a single C-u prefix causes the existing macro to be re-executed
before appending to it.
The command C-x C-k r (
repeats the last defined keyboard macro on each line that begins in
the region. It does this line by line, by moving point to the
beginning of the line and then executing the macro.