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Conventions used in this manual

This manual assumes that you have at least a basic knowledge of Common Lisp. Many source code examples are used throughout the manual to illustrate important concepts, but only extensions to Common Lisp which are specific to the environment are explained in detail.

This manual does provide a complete description of the windowed development environment available in your Lisp image. This includes a description of the user interface itself, and a description of how the user interface interacts with Common Lisp.

Using the mouse

Throughout this manual, actions that you perform using the mouse are described in terms of the gesture used, rather than the combination of mouse buttons and keys that need to be used to perform the operation. This is because the buttons that are used are highly dependent on the platform you are running your Lisp image on, the operating system you are using, and even the type of mouse that you have attached to your computer. The mouse gestures available in the environment are described below.


This is by far the most common mouse gesture, and is used for nearly all mouse operations in the environment. Use the select gesture to

Depending on the characteristics of your operating system or (if you are using a UNIX system) your window manager, you may also need to use select in order to move the mouse focus to another window.

If you are using a mouse with several buttons, you can nearly always select by clicking the left-most button, but you should refer to the documentation for your operating system or window manager if you are unsure. This is particularly true if you are using a mouse which has been set up for use by a left-handed person, since it is possible that the function of the mouse buttons has been reversed.

Multiple select

Multiple selection is used in lists and graphs when you want to select more than one item. You can select several items from any list or graph in the environment, and there are a large number of commands which can operate equally well on these multiple selections.

There are a number of standard ways of making multiple selections in a list or graph, depending on your operating system or window manager. Check the relevant documentation if you are unsure, or try any of the following:

Typically, in lists, holding down the Shift key lets you make a contiguous selection, and holding down the Control key lets you make a discontiguous selection.

This behavior is typical in a number of operating systems or window managers. You are probably familiar with it if you are familiar with using a mouse.


The double-click gesture consists of two select gestures, performed in rapid succession. In general, any item in a list, tree or graph may be double-clicked.

Double-clicking in a choice is usually a shortcut for selecting an item and choosing a common menu command, and the precise action that takes place depends on the context in which the double-click was performed. Double-clicking can only be performed on single selections.

In the Editor double-click selects the current Lisp form.


The triple-click gesture consists of three select gestures, performed in rapid succession.

In the Editor this selects the line on GTK+ and Cocoa. The triple-click gesture is not currently supported in LispWorks on Microsoft Windows.

Alternate select

This is a less common gesture, and is used almost exclusively within the LispWorks IDE to display a context menu (sometimes referred to as the "context menu" or the "right button menu").

If you are using a mouse with several buttons, you should find that you can perform this gesture by clicking the right-most mouse button. On a Macintosh with a single button mouse, the context menu is raised by holding down the Control key and clicking the mouse button. Refer to the documentation for your window manager or operating system if you are unsure.

Choosing menu commands and other controls

Throughout this manual, menu command names and other text labels are shown in This Bold Font .

Submenus are indicated by use of the > character. Thus, for instance, the instruction

    "Choose File > Open "

means that you should select the File menu on a menu bar, and choose the Open command in the menu that appears. Similarly,

    "Choose Works > Tools > Editor "

means that you should display the Works menu by selecting it, select Tools from this menu to display a submenu, and choose the Editor command from this submenu.

The sequence can include labels of other GUI elements such as tabs and list items. For example the instruction

    "Choose Preferences... > Environment > General > Use in-place completion "

means that you should select the Preferences... menu item, then select the Environment item in a list within the dialog that appears, then select the General tab within that dialog, and lastly access the button labelled Use in-place completion .

Using the keyboard

Throughout this manual there are descriptions of commands that you can choose by typing at the keyboard. This is especially true when discussing the built-in editor, which relies heavily on the use of keyboard commands, and the Common Lisp listener, which uses many of the same commands.

Throughout this manual, keyboard input including the names of keys you press is shown in This Font .

Keyboard commands generally use a combination of ordinary keys together with the modifier keys Control , Shift , Escape , Alt , Meta and Command (not all of these are available on each platform).

In all cases, the Control , Shift , Meta and Command keys should be held down concurrently with the specified letter. For example:

    Ctrl+S is read as "hold down the Control key and press S".

    Ctrl+Shift+A is read as "hold down the Control and Shift keys and press A".

In the editor in Emacs emulation mode, instead using the Meta ( Alt ) modifier with a key, the Escape key can be pressed and released before pressing the key. For example:

    Esc E is read as "press and release the Escape key, then press E".

    Alt+E is read as "hold down the Alt key and press E".

The two key inputs above are equivalent in Emacs emulation mode. This manual generally refers to Alt when referring to the editor key strokes.

For more information on using keyboard commands in the built-in editor and the Listener, see Using keyboard commands.

Appearance of the graphical tools

The screenshots in this manual show toolbars that may have been customized (using the context menu) so you might see some differences from your setup.


LispWorks IDE User Guide (Windows version) - 25 Nov 2011