Using Emacs to write replies allows you to manipulate the text of the original and your reply.
You can use Emacs to write the reply, as you would in sending an original message. Type control-e after the Message... prompt. (If you have set use-editor-always to yes you will be put into Emacs automatically).
Let's meet on Sept 21 at 2:00 to go over plans for this semester. Joe --%%-Emacs: *MM In Reply To* (Text)---------All------------------------- _ -----Emacs: *MM Outgoing* (Text Fill)----All-------------------------- Don't forget to save your buffers if you want your changes to take effect
The upper window is read-only as shown by the %% signs in the status line. It contains the current message, the one you are replying to, placed so that the beginning of the message text is visible.
Using the upper window: The Emacs command control-x o moves the cursor to the other window; you can use meta-v and control-v to move the current message up and down in the upper window, so you can see relevant parts that you want to reply to. Type control-x o to move back to the lower window.
Copying text from the upper window: You may be familiar with using control-@ to set mark, control-w to wipe out text from mark to point, and control-y to yank back the text at another location. Since the upper window is read-only, you have to use meta-w instead of control-w; meta-w copies text into the so-called kill ring without deleting the text. Use control-@ and meta-w in the upper window to grab a piece of text, then move the cursor into your message in the lower window, and use control-y to insert it where you want it.
One window: If you want to remove the upper window, use the standard Emacs command control-x 1 while you are in the lower window.
If you include the text of the original into your reply, you can delete portions of the original, and you can also insert your comments wherever you like among parts of the original. The result is that you are quoting from the original and commenting on it. Format it so it is clear what parts are quotes; for example, leave the quoted material on separate lines from your comments. If the original is long, and especially if your comments address only part of it, your reply will be much more readable if you trim the included original.
Let's meet on Sept 21 at 2:00 to go over plans for this semester. Joe --%%-Emacs: *MM In Reply To* (Text)---------All------------------------- > Let's meet on Sept 21 at 2:00 to go over plans for this semester. > Joe > _ -----Emacs: *MM Outgoing* (Text Fill)----All-------------------------- Don't forget to save your buffers if you want your changes to take effect
In this example, the original message was very short, and the whole thing fits easily in the lower window. When the Emacs screen comes up, the cursor will be placed in the lower window no lower than the middle line, so the last 5 lines of the included original are visible. You can of course move back up with Emacs's meta-v command.
With the original text included, the upper window is almost useless. Among its uses are that you can go recover text from it if you delete too much in the lower window, and you can see the original header lines in it. With the cursor in the lower window, the Emacs command control-x 1 will remove the upper window.
There are three Emacs buffers in a reply. The one that is not visible is the message headers. To see it, place the cursor in either window and use the Emacs command control-x b to change buffers. The same command will cycle back to the other buffers.