The Emacs Info Apropos Command

I’m a longtime Unix programmer. I started before Linux or FreeBSD and if you count Xenix, I programmed on versions as early as System III. As a result, I came to view the man page as the sine qua non of Unix documentation. Later, the GNU project introduced the texinfo format but by then I was well into curmudgeonhood and I never did warm up to info. Part of the problem was info itself. As far as I’m concerned, it’s unusable. I know, I know, lots of people love info. I’m not one of those people. When I absolutely had to read an info page I used a little Tcl/Tk utility called tkinfo. I still used it grudgingly but at least it was usable.

Back in those days, I was a vi user, so info or tkinfo were pretty much the only choices. When I moved to Emacs, I was delighted to discover that its info interface was much better so, while I still preferred man pages, I got much more comfortable with info documentation. One problem I still had even with the Emacs info reader was that it’s hard to search for specific text if you’re not already on the proper node. Now Mickey over at Mastering Emacs has written an excellent post on Full Text Searching In Info Mode With Apropos that showed me how to solve that problem.

The info-apropos command (【Meta+ xinfo-apropos) will do a text search of all the info documentation (not just Emacs documentation) on your system. It produces an apropos-like buffer containing each match and an indication of what node it’s in. You can select one of the matches in the usual info mode way and go directly to the corresponding info node.

Mickey’s post covers other apropos-type commands so you should definitely head over there and absorb some of his wisdom.

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