19.11. Using Word-Abbreviation Mode
Like vi, Emacs provides an "abbreviation" facility. Its traditional usage lets you define abbreviations for long words or phrases so you don't have to type them in their entirety. For example, let's say you are writing a contract that repeatedly references the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Rather than typing the full name, you can define the abbreviation nist. Emacs inserts the full name whenever you type nist, followed by a space or punctuation mark. Emacs watches for you to type an abbreviation, then expands it automatically as soon as you press the spacebar or type a punctuation mark (such as ., ,, !, ?, ;, or :).
One use for word-abbreviation mode is to correct misspellings as you type. Almost everyone has a dozen or so words that he habitually types incorrectly, due to some worn neural pathways. You can simply tell Emacs that these misspellings are "abbreviations" for the correct versions, and Emacs fixes the misspellings every time you type them. If you take time to define your common typos as abbreviations, you'll never be bothered with teh, adn, and recieve when you run the spellchecker. Emacs sweeps up after your typos and corrects them. For example, let's say that you define teh as an abbreviation for the. When you press the spacebar after you type teh, Emacs fixes it immediately, and you continue happily typing. You may not even notice that you typed the word wrong before Emacs fixes it.
19.11.1. Trying Word Abbreviations for One Session
Usually, if you go to the trouble of defining a word abbreviation, you will use it in more than one Emacs session. But if you'd like to try out abbreviation mode to see if you want to make it part of your startup, use the following procedure to define word abbreviations for this session:
If you find that you like using word-abbreviation mode, you may want to make it part of your startup, as described in the following section.
19.11.2. Making Word Abbreviations Part of Your Startup
Once you become hooked on abbreviation mode, make it part of your .emacs file so that you enter abbreviation mode and load your word-abbreviations file automatically. To define word abbreviations and make them part of your startup:
After you've followed this procedure the first time, you only need to use Steps 3 and 4 to define more abbreviations. When you add word abbreviations in subsequent sessions, Emacs asks whether you want to save the abbreviations file. Respond with a y to save the new abbreviations you've defined and have them take effect automatically. If you define an abbreviation and later regret it, use ESC-x edit-word-abbrevs to delete it.
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