In emacs there are the functions forward-word and backward-word. Are there also functions which move the point to the next/last whitespace?

  • Isn't this for a lot of cases equivalent? What is the use case there a different functionality is needed? – H.-Dirk Schmitt Oct 31 '12 at 15:57
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    For example if a have a generalized word like \a_command_with_special-characters – Julia Oct 31 '12 at 16:21

You can modify the syntactical properties of characters using the modify-syntax-entry function (C-h f modify-syntax-entry in emacs for more info):

For instance, if you are writing .tex documents, you might add the following to your .emacs:

 '(lambda ()
    (modify-syntax-entry ?_ "w")
    (modify-syntax-entry ?- "w")

This tells emacs to treat _ and - as "word" characters when you are in TeX mode, thus forward-word and backward-word will do what you want.


Use forward-whitespace to advance by spaces, tabs or newlines. Multiple spaces are treated as one delimiter. With a negative argument, go backwards by that number of whitespaces.

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    Any idea how to advance to the first whitespace after a block of text, without skipping any? forward-whitespace seems to skip to the end of the line when I have trailing spaces on a line. I really just want to find the first trailing space. Thanks for any help. – Dave Nov 13 '15 at 8:03
  • @Dave : (lambda () (forward-whitespace) (forward-whitespace -1)) – Dean Serenevy May 19 '17 at 10:27

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