Predictive abbreviation

Normally hitting TAB a second time after a completion will take you to a suggestions buffer where you can select from alternate completions. This bit of elisp hackery will instead use a pop-up list via auto-competion mode. Make sure this is executed after pabbrev is loaded.

(require 'auto-complete)

(defun pabbrevx-ac-on-pre-command ()
(if (or (eq this-command 'self-insert-command)
(and (not (ac-trigger-command-p))
(or (not (symbolp this-command))
(not (string-match "^ac-" (symbol-name this-command))))))
(remove-hook 'post-command-hook 'pabbrevx-ac-on-post-command t)
(remove-hook 'pre-command-hook 'pabbrevx-ac-on-pre-command t)

(defun pabbrevx-ac-on-post-command ()
(if (and (not isearch-mode)

(defun pabbrevx-ac-start ()
(let ((candidates (mapcar 'car pabbrev-expansion-suggestions)))
(add-hook 'pre-command-hook 'pabbrevx-ac-on-pre-command nil t)
(add-hook 'post-command-hook 'pabbrevx-ac-on-post-command nil t)
;; ripped straight from ac-start
(let* ((point (save-excursion (funcall ac-prefix-function)))
(reposition (or (not (equal ac-point point))
;; If menu direction is positive and next visual line belongs
;; to same buffer line, then need reposition
(and (> ac-menu-direction 0)
(if (null point)
;; need to nil this so pabbrev-expand-maybe-full we won't try
;; pabbrev expansion if user hits another TAB after ac aborts
(setq pabbrev-last-expansion-suggestions nil)
(setq ac-buffer (current-buffer))
(setq ac-point point)
(when (not (equal ac-point ac-old-point))
(setq ac-old-point point))
(setq ac-prefix (buffer-substring-no-properties point (point)))
(setq ac-limit ac-candidate-limit)
(if (or reposition (null ac-menu))
(funcall ac-init-function)))
(let (;;candidates
(current-width (if ac-menu (ac-menu-width ac-menu) 0)))
;; (setq candidates (if (or ac-completing
;; (not (integerp ac-auto-start))
;; (>= (length ac-prefix) ac-auto-start))
;; (save-excursion
;; (funcall ac-candidate-function))))
;;(if ac-candidate-filter-function
;; (setq candidates (funcall ac-candidate-filter-function candidates)))
(setq width (let ((w '(0)) s)
(dotimes (i ac-candidate-menu-height)
(setq s (nth i candidates))
(if (stringp s) (push (string-width s) w)))
(apply 'max w)))
(if (or reposition
(null ac-menu)
(> width current-width)
(< width (- current-width 10)))
(ac-setup (* (ceiling (/ width 10.0)) 10)))
(ac-update-candidates candidates))))))

(defun pabbrevx-suggestions-goto-buffer (suggestions)

;;; pabbrev.el --- Predictive abbreviation expansion

;; Author: Phillip Lord <>
;; Maintainer: Phillip Lord <>
;; Maintainer (XEmacs): Martin Kuehl (
;; Website:

;;; Commentary:
;; The code provides a abbreviation expansion for Emacs. Its fairly
;; similar to "dabbrev" expansion, which works based on the contents
;; of the current buffer (or other buffers).
;; Predictive abbreviation expansion works based on the previously
;; written text. Unlike dynamic abbreviation, the text is analysed
;; during idle time, while Emacs is doing nothing else. `pabbrev-mode'
;; tells you when this is happening. If this irritates you unset
;; `pabbrev-idle-timer-verbose'. The advantage of this is that its
;; very quick to look up potential abbreviations, which means that the
;; can be constantly displayed, without interfering with the user as
;; they type. Certainly it works for me, on an old laptop, typing as
;; fast as I can (which is fast, since I learnt to type with four
;; fingers).
;; pabbrev's main entry point is through the minor mode
;; `pabbrev-mode'. There is also a global minor mode, called
;; `global-pabbrev-mode', which does the same in all appropriate
;; buffers.

;; The current user interface looks like so...
;; p[oint]
;; pr[ogn]
;; pre[-command-hook]
;; pred[ictive]
;; As the user types the system narrows down the possibilities. The
;; narrowing is based on how many times the words have been used
;; previously. By hitting [tab] at any point the user can complete the
;; word. The [tab] key is normally bound to `indent-line'.
;; `pabbrev-mode' preserves access to this command (or whatever else
;; [tab] was bound to), if there is not current expansion.
;; Sometimes you do not want to select the most commonly occurring
;; word, but a less frequently occurring word. You can access this
;; functionality by hitting [tab] for a second time. This takes you
;; into a special suggestions buffer, from where you can select
;; secondary selections. See `pabbrev-select-mode' for more
;; details. There is also an option `pabbrev-minimal-expansion-p'
;; which results in the shortest substring option being offered as the
;; first replacement.
;; But is this actually of any use? Well having use the system for a
;; while now, I can say that it is sometimes. I originally thought
;; that it would be good for text, but in general its not so
;; useful. By the time you have realised that you have an expansion
;; that you can use, hit tab, and checked that its done the right
;; thing, you could have just typed the word directly in. It's much
;; nicer in code containing buffers, where there tend to be lots of
;; long words, which is obviously where an abbreviation expansion
;; mechanism is most useful.
;; Currently pabbrev builds up a dictionary on a per major-mode basis.
;; While pabbrev builds up this dictionary automatically, you can also
;; explicitly add a buffer, or a region to the dictionary with
;; `pabbrev-scavenge-buffer', or `pabbrev-scavenge-region'. There is
;; also a command `pabbrev-scavenge-some' which adds some words from
;; around point. pabbrev remembers the word that it has seen already,
;; so run these commands as many times as you wish.

(fset 'pabbrev-suggestions-goto-buffer 'pabbrevx-suggestions-goto-buffer)