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37.16.4 Other Display Specifications

Here are the other sorts of display specifications that you can use in the display text property.


Display string instead of the text that has this property.

Recursive display specifications are not supported—string’s display properties, if any, are not used.

(image . image-props)

This kind of display specification is an image descriptor (see Images). When used as a display specification, it means to display the image instead of the text that has the display specification.

(slice x y width height)

This specification together with image specifies a slice (a partial area) of the image to display. The elements y and x specify the top left corner of the slice, within the image; width and height specify the width and height of the slice. Integers are numbers of pixels. A floating-point number in the range 0.0–1.0 stands for that fraction of the width or height of the entire image.

((margin nil) string)

A display specification of this form means to display string instead of the text that has the display specification, at the same position as that text. It is equivalent to using just string, but it is done as a special case of marginal display (see Display Margins).

(left-fringe bitmap [face])
(right-fringe bitmap [face])

This display specification on any character of a line of text causes the specified bitmap be displayed in the left or right fringes for that line, instead of the characters that have the display specification. The optional face specifies the colors to be used for the bitmap. See Fringe Bitmaps, for the details.

(space-width factor)

This display specification affects all the space characters within the text that has the specification. It displays all of these spaces factor times as wide as normal. The element factor should be an integer or float. Characters other than spaces are not affected at all; in particular, this has no effect on tab characters.

(height height)

This display specification makes the text taller or shorter. Here are the possibilities for height:

(+ n)

This means to use a font that is n steps larger. A “step” is defined by the set of available fonts—specifically, those that match what was otherwise specified for this text, in all attributes except height. Each size for which a suitable font is available counts as another step. n should be an integer.

(- n)

This means to use a font that is n steps smaller.

a number, factor

A number, factor, means to use a font that is factor times as tall as the default font.

a symbol, function

A symbol is a function to compute the height. It is called with the current height as argument, and should return the new height to use.

anything else, form

If the height value doesn’t fit the previous possibilities, it is a form. Emacs evaluates it to get the new height, with the symbol height bound to the current specified font height.

(raise factor)

This kind of display specification raises or lowers the text it applies to, relative to the baseline of the line.

factor must be a number, which is interpreted as a multiple of the height of the affected text. If it is positive, that means to display the characters raised. If it is negative, that means to display them lower down.

If the text also has a height display specification, that does not affect the amount of raising or lowering, which is based on the faces used for the text.

You can make any display specification conditional. To do that, package it in another list of the form (when condition . spec). Then the specification spec applies only when condition evaluates to a non-nil value. During the evaluation, object is bound to the string or buffer having the conditional display property. position and buffer-position are bound to the position within object and the buffer position where the display property was found, respectively. Both positions can be different when object is a string.

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