GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Mark Ring

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7.5: The Mark Ring

Aside from delimiting the region, the mark is also useful for remembering a spot that you may want to go back to. To make this feature more useful, each buffer remembers 16 previous locations of the mark, in the mark ring. Commands that set the mark also push the old mark onto this ring. To return to a marked location, use C-u C-SPC (or C-u C-@); this is the command set-mark-command given a numeric argument. It moves point to where the mark was, and restores the mark from the ring of former marks. Thus, repeated use of this command moves point to all of the old marks on the ring, one by one. The mark positions you move through in this way are not lost; they go to the end of the ring.

Each buffer has its own mark ring. All editing commands use the current buffer's mark ring. In particular, C-u C-SPC always stays in the same buffer.

Many commands that can move long distances, such as M-< (beginning-of-buffer), start by setting the mark and saving the old mark on the mark ring. This is to make it easier for you to move back later. Searches set the mark if they move point. You can tell when a command sets the mark because it displays `Mark Set' in the echo area.

If you want to move back to the same place over and over, the mark ring may not be convenient enough. If so, you can record the position in a register for later retrieval (see RegPos).

The variable mark-ring-max specifies the maximum number of entries to keep in the mark ring. If that many entries exist and another one is pushed, the last one in the list is discarded. Repeating C-u C-SPC cycles through the positions currently in the ring.

The variable mark-ring holds the mark ring itself, as a list of marker objects, with the most recent first. This variable is local in every buffer.

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