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26.5 Creating Frames

The prefix key C-x 5 is analogous to C-x 4, with parallel subcommands. The difference is that C-x 5 commands create a new frame rather than just a new window in the selected frame (see section Displaying in Another Window). If an existing visible or iconified frame already displays the requested material, these commands use the existing frame, after raising or deiconifying as necessary.

The various C-x 5 commands differ in how they find or create the buffer to select:

C-x 5 2

Create a new frame (make-frame-command).

C-x 5 b bufname <RET>

Select buffer bufname in another frame. This runs switch-to-buffer-other-frame.

C-x 5 f filename <RET>

Visit file filename and select its buffer in another frame. This runs find-file-other-frame. See section Visiting Files.

C-x 5 d directory <RET>

Select a Dired buffer for directory directory in another frame. This runs dired-other-frame. See section Dired, the Directory Editor.

C-x 5 m

Start composing a mail message in another frame. This runs mail-other-frame. It is the other-frame variant of C-x m. See section Sending Mail.

C-x 5 .

Find a tag in the current tag table in another frame. This runs find-tag-other-frame, the multiple-frame variant of M-.. See section Tags Tables.

C-x 5 r filename <RET>

Visit file filename read-only, and select its buffer in another frame. This runs find-file-read-only-other-frame. See section Visiting Files.

You can control the appearance of new frames you create by setting the frame parameters in default-frame-alist. You can use the variable initial-frame-alist to specify parameters that affect only the initial frame. See (elisp)Initial Parameters section `Initial Parameters' in The Emacs Lisp Reference Manual, for more information.

The easiest way to specify the principal font for all your Emacs frames is with an X resource (see section Font Specification Options), but you can also do it by modifying default-frame-alist to specify the font parameter, as shown here:

 
(add-to-list 'default-frame-alist '(font . "10x20"))

Here's a similar example for specifying a foreground color:

 
(add-to-list 'default-frame-alist '(foreground-color . "blue"))

By putting such customizations in your ‘~/.emacs’ init file, you can control the appearance of all the frames Emacs creates, including the initial one.


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