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39.15.5 Customizing the Diary

Ordinarily, the mode line of the diary buffer window indicates any holidays that fall on the date of the diary entries. The process of checking for holidays can take several seconds, so including holiday information delays the display of the diary buffer noticeably. If you'd prefer to have a faster display of the diary buffer but without the holiday information, set the variable holidays-in-diary-buffer to nil.

The variable number-of-diary-entries controls the number of days of diary entries to be displayed at one time. It affects the initial display when view-diary-entries-initially is t, as well as the command M-x diary. For example, the default value is 1, which says to display only the current day's diary entries. If the value is 2, both the current day's and the next day's entries are displayed. The value can also be a vector of seven elements: for example, if the value is [0 2 2 2 2 4 1] then no diary entries appear on Sunday, the current date's and the next day's diary entries appear Monday through Thursday, Friday through Monday's entries appear on Friday, while on Saturday only that day's entries appear.

The variable print-diary-entries-hook is a normal hook run after preparation of a temporary buffer containing just the diary entries currently visible in the diary buffer. (The other, irrelevant diary entries are really absent from the temporary buffer; in the diary buffer, they are merely hidden.) The default value of this hook does the printing with the command lpr-buffer. If you want to use a different command to do the printing, just change the value of this hook. Other uses might include, for example, rearranging the lines into order by day and time.

You can customize the form of dates in your diary file, if neither the standard American nor European styles suits your needs, by setting the variable diary-date-forms. This variable is a list of patterns for recognizing a date. Each date pattern is a list whose elements may be regular expressions (see (elisp)Regular Expressions section `Regular Expressions' in the Emacs Lisp Reference Manual) or the symbols month, day, year, monthname, and dayname. All these elements serve as patterns that match certain kinds of text in the diary file. In order for the date pattern, as a whole, to match, all of its elements must match consecutively.

A regular expression in a date pattern matches in its usual fashion, using the standard syntax table altered so that ‘*’ is a word constituent.

The symbols month, day, year, monthname, and dayname match the month number, day number, year number, month name, and day name of the date being considered. The symbols that match numbers allow leading zeros; those that match names allow three-letter abbreviations and capitalization. All the symbols can match ‘*’; since ‘*’ in a diary entry means “any day”, “any month”, and so on, it should match regardless of the date being considered.

The default value of diary-date-forms in the American style is this:

 
((month "/" day "[^/0-9]")
 (month "/" day "/" year "[^0-9]")
 (monthname " *" day "[^,0-9]")
 (monthname " *" day ", *" year "[^0-9]")
 (dayname "\\W"))

The date patterns in the list must be mutually exclusive and must not match any portion of the diary entry itself, just the date and one character of whitespace. If, to be mutually exclusive, the pattern must match a portion of the diary entry text—beyond the whitespace that ends the date—then the first element of the date pattern must be backup. This causes the date recognizer to back up to the beginning of the current word of the diary entry, after finishing the match. Even if you use backup, the date pattern must absolutely not match more than a portion of the first word of the diary entry. The default value of diary-date-forms in the European style is this list:

 
((day "/" month "[^/0-9]")
 (day "/" month "/" year "[^0-9]")
 (backup day " *" monthname "\\W+\\<[^*0-9]")
 (day " *" monthname " *" year "[^0-9]")
 (dayname "\\W"))

Notice the use of backup in the third pattern, because it needs to match part of a word beyond the date itself to distinguish it from the fourth pattern.


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