GNU Emacs Manual. Node: Optional Mode Line

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9.5: Optional Mode Line Features

The current line number of point appears in the mode line when Line Number mode is enabled. Use the command M-x line-number-mode to turn this mode on and off; normally it is on. The line number appears before the buffer percentage pos, with the letter `L' to indicate what it is. See Minor Modes, for more information about minor modes and about how to use this command.

If the buffer is very large (larger than the value of line-number-display-limit), then the line number doesn't appear. Emacs doesn't compute the line number when the buffer is large, because that would be too slow. If you have narrowed the buffer (see Narrowing), the displayed line number is relative to the accessible portion of the buffer.

You can also display the current column number by turning on Column Number mode. It displays the current column number preceded by the letter `C'. Type M-x column-number-mode to toggle this mode.

Emacs can optionally display the time and system load in all mode lines. To enable this feature, type M-x display-time. The information added to the mode line usually appears after the buffer name, before the mode names and their parentheses. It looks like this:

hh:mmpm l.ll

Here hh and mm are the hour and minute, followed always by `am' or `pm'. l.ll is the average number of running processes in the whole system recently. (Some fields may be missing if your operating system cannot support them.) If you prefer time display in 24-hour format, set the variable display-time-24hr-format to t.

The word `Mail' appears after the load level if there is mail for you that you have not read yet.

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