GNU Emacs package for selecting a window to switch to
What and why
I'm sure you're aware of
other-window command. While it's great for
two windows, it quickly loses its value when there are more windows:
you need to call it many times, and since it's not easily predictable,
you have to check each time if you're in the window that you wanted.
Another approach is to use
windmove-up, etc. These
are fast and predictable. Their disadvantage is that they need 4 key
bindings. The default ones are shift+arrows, which are hard to reach.
This package aims to take the speed and predictability of
and pack it into a single key binding, similar to
ace-window to a short key binding, as switching windows
is a common task. I suggest M-p, as it's short and not
bound in the default Emacs.
When there are two windows,
ace-window will call
there are more, each window will have its first character highlighted.
Pressing that character will switch to that window. Note that, unlike
ace-jump-mode, the point position will not be changed: it's the same
behavior as that of
The windows are ordered top-down, left-to-right. This means that if
you remember your window layouts, you can switch windows without even
looking at the leading char. For instance, the top left window will
ace-window works across multiple frames, as you can see from the
Swap and delete window
You can swap windows by calling
ace-windowwith a prefix argument C-u.
You can delete the selected window by calling
ace-windowwith a double prefix argument, i.e. C-u C-u.
Change the action midway
You can also start by calling
ace-window and then decide to switch the action to
swap etc. By default the bindings are:
- x - delete window
- m - swap (move) window
- v - split window vertically
- b - split window horizontally
- n - select the previous window
- i - maximize window (select which window)
- o - maximize current window
In order for it to work, these keys must not be in
aw-keys and you have to have
aw-dispatch-always set to
Aside from binding
(global-set-key (kbd "M-p") 'ace-window)
maybe you'd like the following customizations:
aw-keys - the sequence of leading characters for each window:
(setq aw-keys '(?a ?s ?d ?f ?g ?h ?j ?k ?l))
aw-keys are 0-9 by default, which is reasonable, but in the setup
above, the keys are on the home row.
The default one is
global, which means that
ace-window will work
across frames. If you set this to
ace-window will offer you
the windows only on current frame.
ace-window temporarily sets a gray background and
removes color from available windows in order to make the
window-switching characters more visible. This is the behavior
This behavior might not be necessary, as you already know the locations where to look, i.e. the top-left corners of each window. So you can turn off the gray background with:
(setq aw-background nil)
ace-window will issue a
read-char even for one window.
This will make
ace-window act differently from
other-window for one
or two windows. This is useful to change the action midway
and execute other action other than the jump default.
By default is set to
This is the list of actions that you can trigger from
ace-window other than the
By default is:
(defvar aw-dispatch-alist '((?x aw-delete-window " Ace - Delete Window") (?m aw-swap-window " Ace - Swap Window") (?n aw-flip-window) (?v aw-split-window-vert " Ace - Split Vert Window") (?b aw-split-window-horz " Ace - Split Horz Window") (?i delete-other-windows " Ace - Maximize Window") (?o delete-other-windows)) "List of actions for `aw-dispatch-default'.")
If the pair key-action is followed by a string, then
ace-window will be
invoked again to be able to select on which window you want to select the
action. Otherwise the current window is selected.