highlighting the current line

When editing text, I find it quite nice to highlight the current line, that is, the line where the cursor is, gets a different color. This can be easily done with emacs, by putting global-hl-line-mode (more about modes) and the following in your .emacs:
;; highlight the current line; set a custom face, so we can
;; recognize from the normal marking (selection)
(defface hl-line '((t (:background "Gray")))
  "Face to use for `hl-line-face'." :group 'hl-line)
(setq hl-line-face 'hl-line)
(global-hl-line-mode t) ; turn it on for all modes by default
What this does:
  1. first, we define a special font ('face' in emacs-jargon) and we call it hl-line; there is a special format for that, which is discussed in detail in the ELisp Manual;
  2. second, we assign this 'face' to the hl-line-face-variable; this determines the face that will be used for highlighting;
  3. third, we turn the highlighting on for all modes.
That is all. Now, some notes to this:
  • You can of course experiment with the font/face: you can change the foreground and background colors, make things bold or italic, bigger or smaller, etc. -- personally I like to keep things a bit subtle;
  • In some emacs-versions, hl-line-mode may not be available; if you need to use your .emacs which such an emacs, the entry on using functions only if they are available might come handy.


chris said...

Thanks, great tip!

FWIW, for color themes with black backgrounds (I'm using arjen), I like "Gray10" for my line highlighting.

Qarlo Clobreginny said...

This helps greatly the readability of wrapped lines. Fiddling with line highlights got to be a bit of a time sink when I discovered

M-x list-colors-display

Thanks for tip!

ahck said...

I like the way the command line in *shell* highlights. Thanks for the tip.