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20.2 Nonincremental Search

Emacs also has conventional nonincremental search commands, which require you to type the entire search string before searching begins.

C-s <RET> string <RET>

Search for string.

C-r <RET> string <RET>

Search backward for string.

To do a nonincremental search, first type C-s <RET>. This enters the minibuffer to read the search string; terminate the string with <RET>, and then the search takes place. If the string is not found, the search command signals an error.

When you type C-s <RET>, the C-s invokes incremental search as usual. That command is specially programmed to invoke nonincremental search, search-forward, if the string you specify is empty. (Such an empty argument would otherwise be useless.) But it does not call search-forward right away. First it checks the next input character to see if is C-w, which specifies a word search. See section Word Search. C-r <RET> does likewise, for a reverse incremental search.

Forward and backward nonincremental searches are implemented by the commands search-forward and search-backward. These commands may be bound to keys in the usual manner. The feature that you can get to them via the incremental search commands exists for historical reasons, and to avoid the need to find separate key sequences for them.

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