In various situations,
ne needs to ask you to choose one string
from several (where “several” can mean a lot).
For this kind of event, the requester is issued. The requester
displays the strings in as many columns as possible and lets you move
with the cursor from one string to another. The strings can fill many
screens, which are handled as consecutive pages. Most navigation keys
work exactly as in normal editing. This is true even of custom key
bindings. Thus, for instance, you can page up and down through the
list with Control-P and Control-N (in the standard keyboard
As with the input line (see The Input Line), you can confirm your
input with Return or escape the requester with f1 or the
Escape key (or whatever has been bound to the
command). Moreover, if you are selecting a file name there is a third
possibility: by escaping with the Tab key, the file or directory
name that the cursor is currently on will be copied to the input
line. This allows you to choose an existing name with Tab and
modify it before hitting Return.
A special feature is bound to printing characters: the requester progressively filters out entries that don’t match the characters you type without regard to case. You can use Backspace to progressively return filtered out entries to the list. This lets you quickly navigate large lists to get to the entries you really want.
An example of a requester is the list of commands appearing when you use
Help command. Another is the list of document words matching
a prefix given to the
AutoComplete command. A third example is the file requester that
ne issues whenever a file operation is going to take place. In
this case, pressing Return while on a directory name will enter
the directory. Note also that, should the requester take too long to
appear, you can interrupt the directory scanning with
Control-\. However, the listing will likely be incomplete.
Note that there are two items that always appear in the file requester: ./ and ../. The first one represents the current directory and can be used to force a reread of the directory. The second one represents the parent directory and can be used to move up by one directory level.
Another example of a requester is the list of current documents which
is displayed when you use the
Select... entry from the
menu, or invoke the
SelectDoc command with the f4 key.
Documents with unsaved changes will be bold (if your terminal supports
bold) and marked with an asterisk. These documents are generally listed in the
order they were opened. However, in this requester you can reorder these
documents by using the keys bound to the
commands, usually f2 and f3. Any document reordering and selection
will only take effect if you exit the requester with the Return key.
The requester presents the strings by default in “row major order,”
which means the second string is on the same row as the first but to
its right, at the top of the second column, and so on across each row
before filling in the next row down. If you prefer your lists displayed in
“column major order”—the first, second, and third strings are in
the same column and each column is filled before starting on the next
column to the right—then use the
RequestOrder command to
switch that preference. The setting will be stored in your default
preferences the next time you save them. See Preferences Commands.