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Certain collections bindings of keys to commands and other parameter
settings are referred to as
modes. When such collections simply modify a few
characteristics, they are called minor modes. Emacs will
automatically establish a mode for buffers containing
certain files depending on the name of their
associated file. Thus, buffers with
extensions `.c' and `.h' start out in C mode, which affects the
behavior of tab commands, for example. The shell buffer runs in Shell
mode. Files with unclassifiable names generally start in Fundamental mode.
For routine work, you will seldom need to worry about these modes.
There is one useful minor mode that's worth knowing about, however.
- M-x auto-fill-mode
- toggles (reverses the setting) of
auto-fill mode, which by default is usually off. In auto-fill mode,
lines get broken automatically as they are being typed when they get
too long. When you are typing comments in C programs, auto-fill mode
will automatically start a new comment on the next line when the
current line gets near to filling up.