GNU Emacs package for selecting a window to switch to
What and why
I'm sure you're aware of the
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-o, as it's short and not
bound to anything important in the default Emacs.
When there are two windows,
ace-window will call
aw-dispatch-always is set non-nil). If there are more, each
window will have the first character of its window label highlighted
at the upper left of the window. Pressing that character will either
switch to that window or filter to the next character needed to select
a specific window. Note that, unlike
ace-jump-mode, the position of
point will not be changed, i.e. the same behavior as that of
A special character defined by
aw-make-frame-char (default =
means create a new frame and use its window as the target. The new
frame's location is set relative to the prior selected frame's location
and given by
aw-frame-offset. The new frame's size is given by
aw-frame-size. See their documentation strings for more information.
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
a if you use letters for window characters).
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 windows
- M - move window
- c - copy window
- j - select buffer
- n - select the previous window
- u - select buffer in the other window
- c - split window fairly, either vertically or horizontally
- v - split window vertically
- b - split window horizontally
- o - maximize current window
- ? - show these command bindings
For proper operation, these keys must not be in
if you want these keys to work with fewer than three windows, you need to
aw-dispatch-always set to
Aside from binding
(global-set-key (kbd "M-o") 'ace-window)
the following customizations are available:
aw-keys - the list of initial characters used in window labels:
(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
only the windows of the 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
an action other than the default jump action.
By default, this is set to
This is the list of actions you can trigger from
ace-window other than the
jump default. By default it is:
(defvar aw-dispatch-alist '((?x aw-delete-window "Delete Window") (?m aw-swap-window "Swap Windows") (?M aw-move-window "Move Window") (?c aw-copy-window "Copy Window") (?j aw-switch-buffer-in-window "Select Buffer") (?n aw-flip-window) (?u aw-switch-buffer-other-window "Switch Buffer Other Window") (?c aw-split-window-fair "Split Fair Window") (?v aw-split-window-vert "Split Vert Window") (?b aw-split-window-horz "Split Horz Window") (?o delete-other-windows "Delete Other Windows") (?? aw-show-dispatch-help)) "List of actions for `aw-dispatch-default'.")
When using ace-window, if the action character is followed by a string,
ace-window will be invoked again to select the target window for
the action. Otherwise, the current window is selected.
When non-nil, also display
ace-window-mode string in the minibuffer
ace-window is active. This is useful when there are many
side-by-side windows and the
ace-window-mode string is cutoff in the
minor mode area of the modeline.
List of buffers and major-modes to ignore when choosing a window from
the window list. Active only when
aw-ignore-on is non-nil. Windows
displaying these buffers can still be chosen by typing their specific
ace-window will ignore buffers and major-modes in
aw-ignored-buffers. Use M-0
ace-window to toggle this value.
ace-window will ignore `selected-window'.