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9.5 Repeating Minibuffer Commands

Every command that uses the minibuffer once is recorded on a special history list, the command history, together with the values of its arguments, so that you can repeat the entire command. In particular, every use of M-x is recorded there, since M-x uses the minibuffer to read the command name.

C-x <ESC> <ESC>

Re-execute a recent minibuffer command from the command history (repeat-complex-command).

M-x list-command-history

Display the entire command history, showing all the commands C-x <ESC> <ESC> can repeat, most recent first.

C-x <ESC> <ESC> is used to re-execute a recent command that used the minibuffer. With no argument, it repeats the last such command. A numeric argument specifies which command to repeat; 1 means the last one, 2 the previous, and so on.

C-x <ESC> <ESC> works by turning the previous command into a Lisp expression and then entering a minibuffer initialized with the text for that expression. Even if you don't understand Lisp syntax, it will probably be obvious which command is displayed for repetition. If you type just <RET>, that repeats the command unchanged. You can also change the command by editing the Lisp expression before you execute it. The repeated command is added to the front of the command history unless it is identical to the most recently item.

Once inside the minibuffer for C-x <ESC> <ESC>, you can use the minibuffer history commands (M-p, M-n, M-r, M-s; see section Minibuffer History) to move through the history list of saved entire commands. After finding the desired previous command, you can edit its expression as usual and then repeat it by typing <RET>.

Incremental search does not, strictly speaking, use the minibuffer. Therefore, although it behaves like a complex command, it normally does not appear in the history list for C-x <ESC> <ESC>. You can make incremental search commands appear in the history by setting isearch-resume-in-command-history to a non-nil value. See section Incremental Search.

The list of previous minibuffer-using commands is stored as a Lisp list in the variable command-history. Each element is a Lisp expression which describes one command and its arguments. Lisp programs can re-execute a command by calling eval with the command-history element.


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