GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Format Justification

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19.11.7: Justification in Formatted Text

When editing formatted text, you can specify various styles of justification for a paragraph. The style you specify automatically affects the Emacs fill commands.

The Justification submenu provides a convenient interface for specifying the style. The submenu contains five items:

Flush Left

This is the most common style of justification (at least for English). Lines are aligned at the left margin but left uneven at the right.

Flush Right

This aligns each line with the right margin. Spaces and tabs are added on the left, if necessary, to make lines line up on the right.


This justifies the text, aligning both edges of each line. Justified text looks very nice in a printed book, where the spaces can all be adjusted equally, but it does not look as nice with a fixed-width font on the screen. Perhaps a future version of Emacs will be able to adjust the width of spaces in a line to achieve elegant justification.


This centers every line between the current margins.


This turns off filling entirely. Each line will remain as you wrote it; the fill and auto-fill functions will have no effect on text which has this setting. You can, however, still indent the left margin. In unfilled regions, all newlines are treated as hard newlines (see Hard and Soft Newlines) .

In Enriched mode, you can also specify justification from the keyboard using the M-j prefix character:

M-j l

Make the region left-filled (set-justification-left).

M-j r Make the region right-filled (set-justification-right).
M-j f Make the region fully-justified (set-justification-full).
M-j c
Make the region centered (set-justification-center).
M-j u Make the region unfilled (set-justification-none).

Justification styles apply to entire paragraphs. All the justification-changing commands operate on the paragraph containing point, or, if the region is active, on all paragraphs which overlap the region.

The default justification style is specified by the variable default-justification. Its value should be one of the symbols left, right, full, center, or none.

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