I’ve always found expand-region really useful in Emacs… when I remember to use it, which is rarely.
That all changed for me when Henrik Lissner (developer of Doom Emacs) posted a clever key binding on Doom’s Discord server:
:v "v" #'er/expand-region
:v "V" #'er/contract-region))
This is only useful for those using evil (Vim) bindings in Doom, but it is spectacularly useful because it uses the
v binding for visual mode, in visual mode. This means that you can still hit
v and then a movement command to select a word, sentence, block or whatever, but if you hit
v repeatedly, it activates
expand-region, selecting progressively larger contexts (e.g. the contents of a pair of quotes, then the contents and the quotes, then the sentence, then the paragraph, etc.). You can hit
V (capital v) to reverse and contract the selection progressively.
This is genius because whenever I don’t quite know what I want to select, I tend to use visual selection. Now I can just keep mashing
v until I’m happy with the selection, using
V if I overcook it and want to reverse.