30.12.6 Indentation in Formatted Text
When editing formatted text, you can specify different amounts of
indentation for the right or left margin of an entire paragraph or a
part of a paragraph. The margins you specify automatically affect the
Emacs fill commands (see Filling) and line-breaking commands.
The Indentation submenu provides a convenient interface for specifying
these properties. The submenu contains four items:
- Indent the region by 4 columns (
Enriched mode, this command is also available on C-x <TAB>; if
you supply a numeric argument, that says how many columns to add to the
margin (a negative argument reduces the number of columns).
- Remove 4 columns of indentation from the region.
Indent Right More
- Make the text narrower by indenting 4 columns at the right margin.
Indent Right Less
- Remove 4 columns of indentation from the right margin.
You can use these commands repeatedly to increase or decrease the
The most common way to use them is to change the indentation of an
entire paragraph. For other uses, the effects of refilling can be
hard to predict, except in some special cases like the one described
The most common other use is to format paragraphs with hanging
indents, which means that the first line is indented less than
subsequent lines. To set up a hanging indent, increase the
indentation of the region starting after the first word of the
paragraph and running until the end of the paragraph.
Indenting the first line of a paragraph is easier. Set the margin for
the whole paragraph where you want it to be for the body of the
paragraph, then indent the first line by inserting extra spaces or tabs.
standard-indent specifies how many columns these
commands should add to or subtract from the indentation. The default
value is 4. The overall default right margin for Enriched mode is
controlled by the variable
fill-column, as usual.
There are also two commands for setting the left or right margin of
the region absolutely:
set-right-margin. Enriched mode binds these commands to
C-c [ and C-c ], respectively. You can specify the
margin width either with a numeric argument or in the minibuffer.
Sometimes, as a result of editing, the filling of a paragraph becomes
messed up—parts of the paragraph may extend past the left or right
margins. When this happens, use M-q (
refill the paragraph.
The fill prefix, if any, works in addition to the specified paragraph
indentation: C-x . does not include the specified indentation's
whitespace in the new value for the fill prefix, and the fill commands
look for the fill prefix after the indentation on each line. See Fill Prefix.