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Appendix A Standard Errors

Here is a list of the more important error symbols in standard Emacs, grouped by concept. The list includes each symbol’s message and a cross reference to a description of how the error can occur.

Each error symbol has an set of parent error conditions that is a list of symbols. Normally this list includes the error symbol itself and the symbol error. Occasionally it includes additional symbols, which are intermediate classifications, narrower than error but broader than a single error symbol. For example, all the errors in accessing files have the condition file-error. If we do not say here that a certain error symbol has additional error conditions, that means it has none.

As a special exception, the error symbol quit does not have the condition error, because quitting is not considered an error.

Most of these error symbols are defined in C (mainly ‘data.c’), but some are defined in Lisp. For example, the file ‘userlock.el’ defines the file-locked and file-supersession errors. Several of the specialized Lisp libraries distributed with Emacs define their own error symbols. We do not attempt to list of all those here.

@xref{Errors}, for an explanation of how errors are generated and handled.


The message is ‘error’. @xref{Errors}.


The message is ‘Quit’. @xref{Quitting}.


The message is ‘Args out of range’. This happens when trying to access an element beyond the range of a sequence, buffer, or other container-like object. @xref{Sequences Arrays Vectors}, and @xref{Text}.


The message is ‘Arithmetic error’. This occurs when trying to perform integer division by zero. @xref{Numeric Conversions}, and @xref{Arithmetic Operations}.


The message is ‘Beginning of buffer’. @xref{Character Motion}.


The message is ‘Buffer is read-only’. @xref{Read Only Buffers}.


The message is ‘List contains a loop’. This happens when a circular structure is encountered. @xref{Circular Objects}.


The message is ‘Assertion failed’. This happens when the cl-assert macro fails a test. See Assertions in Common Lisp Extensions.


The message is ‘Invalid coding system’. @xref{Lisp and Coding Systems}.


The message is ‘Symbol's chain of function indirections contains a loop’. @xref{Function Indirection}.


The message is ‘Symbol's chain of variable indirections contains a loop’. @xref{Variable Aliases}.


The message is ‘D-Bus error’. This is only defined if Emacs was compiled with D-Bus support. See Errors and Events in D-Bus integration in Emacs.


The message is ‘End of buffer’. @xref{Character Motion}.


The message is ‘End of file during parsing’. Note that this is not a subcategory of file-error, because it pertains to the Lisp reader, not to file I/O. @xref{Input Functions}.


This is a subcategory of file-error. @xref{Writing to Files}.


This is a subcategory of file-error. It occurs when copy-file tries and fails to set the last-modification time of the output file. @xref{Changing Files}.


We do not list the error-strings of this error and its subcategories, because the error message is normally constructed from the data items alone when the error condition file-error is present. Thus, the error-strings are not very relevant. However, these error symbols do have error-message properties, and if no data is provided, the error-message property is used. @xref{Files}.


This is a subcategory of file-error. It occurs when an operation attempts to act on a file that is missing. @xref{Changing Files}.


This is a subcategory of file-error, which results from problems handling a compressed file. @xref{How Programs Do Loading}.


This is a subcategory of file-error. @xref{File Locks}.


This is a subcategory of file-error. @xref{Modification Time}.


This is a subcategory of file-error. It happens, when a file could not be watched for changes. @xref{File Notifications}.


This is a subcategory of file-error, which results from problems in accessing a remote file using ftp. See Remote Files in The GNU Emacs Manual.


The message is ‘Invalid function’. @xref{Function Indirection}.


The message is ‘Invalid read syntax’. @xref{Printed Representation}.


The message is ‘Invalid regexp’. @xref{Regular Expressions}.


The message is ‘The mark is not active now’. @xref{The Mark}.


The message is ‘No catch for tag’. @xref{Catch and Throw}.


The message is ‘Scan error’. This happens when certain syntax-parsing functions find invalid syntax or mismatched parentheses. Conventionally raised with three argument: a human-readable error message, the start of the obstacle that cannot be moved over, and the end of the obstacle. @xref{List Motion}, and @xref{Parsing Expressions}.


The message is ‘Search failed’. @xref{Searching and Matching}.


The message is ‘Attempt to set a constant symbol’. This happens when attempting to assign values to nil, t, most-positive-fixnum, most-negative-fixnum, and keyword symbols. It also happens when attempting to assign values to enable-multibyte-characters and some other symbols whose direct assignment is not allowed for some reason. @xref{Constant Variables}.


The message is ‘Text is read-only’. This is a subcategory of buffer-read-only. @xref{Special Properties}.


The message is ‘Undefined color’. @xref{Color Names}.


The message is the empty string. @xref{Signaling Errors}.


This is like ‘search-failed’, but doesn’t trigger the debugger, like ‘user-error’. @xref{Signaling Errors}, and @xref{Searching and Matching}. This is used for searching in Info files, See Search Text in Info.


The message is ‘Symbol's function definition is void’. @xref{Function Cells}.


The message is ‘Symbol's value as variable is void’. @xref{Accessing Variables}.


The message is ‘Wrong number of arguments’. @xref{Argument List}.


The message is ‘Wrong type argument’. @xref{Type Predicates}.

This document was generated on May 30, 2018 using texi2html.