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Another alternative to ordinary line continuation is to use word wrap. Here, each long logical line is divided into two or more screen lines, like in ordinary line continuation. However, Emacs attempts to wrap the line at word boundaries near the right window edge. (If the line's direction is right-to-left, it is wrapped at the left window edge instead.) This makes the text easier to read, as wrapping does not occur in the middle of words.
Word wrap is enabled by Visual Line mode, an optional minor mode. To turn on Visual Line mode in the current buffer, type M-x visual-line-mode; repeating this command turns it off. You can also turn on Visual Line mode using the menu bar: in the Options menu, select the ‘Line Wrapping in this Buffer’ submenu, followed by the ‘Word Wrap (Visual Line mode)’ menu item. While Visual Line mode is enabled, the mode line shows the string ‘wrap’ in the mode display. The command M-x global-visual-line-mode toggles Visual Line mode in all buffers.
In Visual Line mode, some editing commands work on screen lines
instead of logical lines: C-a (
moves to the beginning of the screen line, C-e
end-of-visual-line) moves to the end of the screen line, and
kill-visual-line) kills text to the end of the
To move by logical lines, use the commands M-x next-logical-line and M-x previous-logical-line. These move point to the next logical line and the previous logical line respectively, regardless of whether Visual Line mode is enabled. If you use these commands frequently, it may be convenient to assign key bindings to them. See Init Rebinding.
By default, word-wrapped lines do not display fringe indicators.
Visual Line mode is often used to edit files that contain many long
logical lines, so having a fringe indicator for each wrapped line
would be visually distracting. You can change this by customizing the