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34.5 Saving Abbrevs

These commands allow you to keep abbrev definitions between editing sessions.

M-x write-abbrev-file <RET> file <RET>

Write a file file describing all defined abbrevs.

M-x read-abbrev-file <RET> file <RET>

Read the file file and define abbrevs as specified therein.

M-x quietly-read-abbrev-file <RET> file <RET>

Similar but do not display a message about what is going on.

M-x define-abbrevs

Define abbrevs from definitions in current buffer.

M-x insert-abbrevs

Insert all abbrevs and their expansions into current buffer.

M-x write-abbrev-file reads a file name using the minibuffer and then writes a description of all current abbrev definitions into that file. This is used to save abbrev definitions for use in a later session. The text stored in the file is a series of Lisp expressions that, when executed, define the same abbrevs that you currently have.

M-x read-abbrev-file reads a file name using the minibuffer and then reads the file, defining abbrevs according to the contents of the file. The function quietly-read-abbrev-file is similar except that it does not display a message in the echo area; you cannot invoke it interactively, and it is used primarily in the ‘.emacs’ file. If either of these functions is called with nil as the argument, it uses the file name specified in the variable abbrev-file-name, which is by default "~/.abbrev_defs". That file is your standard abbrev definition file, and Emacs loads abbrevs from it automatically when it starts up.

Emacs will offer to save abbrevs automatically if you have changed any of them, whenever it offers to save all files (for C-x s or C-x C-c). It saves them in the file specified by abbrev-file-name. This feature can be inhibited by setting the variable save-abbrevs to nil.

The commands M-x insert-abbrevs and M-x define-abbrevs are similar to the previous commands but work on text in an Emacs buffer. M-x insert-abbrevs inserts text into the current buffer after point, describing all current abbrev definitions; M-x define-abbrevs parses the entire current buffer and defines abbrevs accordingly.


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