Hinting is one of the most familiar features of Conkeror. It is the mode that is entered when you call the follow command (and many others) that lets you select a link or other DOM node by typing numbers and text.
When hints mode is active, a set of DOM nodes such as links, form fields, or images, will be tagged with numbers. These numbers are called hints. You can select one of the hinted items by typing its number and pressing enter.
Zero is a special number in hinting. Hint zero always refers to the top document in the buffer. Zero also has the property that it is never ambiguous (it is the only [reduced] number that begins with 0), so hinting exits immediately when you enter the number zero. This provides for some novel and very useful key sequences:
copy the current url
C-u f 0
open a new buffer with the current url
open the current document in an external program
Typing non-numeric text lets you select DOM nodes by their text content. You match text by typing any number of subsequences of the text you want to match, separated by spaces.
For example, suppose you wanted to select a link with the text: "Pants are an illusion, and so is death." Any of the following would work: "pants"; "death"; "death pants"; "de pa". The last two examples demonstrate that the subsequences can be in any order.
If you type any upper-case letters, matching will be case-sensitive.
2.1. Matching Numbers in Text
The key C-q, bound to hints-quote-next allows you to enter a number character as text.
Auto-exit is a feature that can save you keystrokes by automatically accepting your input after a short delay. It comes in two flavors: unambiguous auto-exit and ambiguous auto-exit. Unambiguous auto-exit is when the given input matches only a single node. Ambiguous auto-exit is when the input may match more than one node.
The user variable hints_auto_exit_delay can be set to a number of milliseconds to wait after each keystroke before automatically closing hints mode with the currently selected hint as the final result, when the input has narrowed the selection down to one possibility.
The user variable hints_ambiguous_auto_exit_delay can be set to a number of milliseconds to wait after each keystroke before automatically closing hints mode with the currently selected hint as the final result, when the input may still be ambiguous.
4. Using Letters Instead of Numbers
You can change the counting system that hinting uses with the user variable hint_digits. Instead of 1-9 and 0, you could use a base 26 system using all of the alphabetic keys on your keyboard, or a base 36 system using both letters and numbers. To set the counting system, set hint_digits to a string of characters representing 0,1,2, and so on. For example:
The character '0' is still reserved when hint_digits is in effect, and will be translated into the zero character of the current counting system. Zero is considered special because of its role in key sequences like 'c 0'.
The key C-q works the same when a different counting base is in effect as it does normally. You can use it to enter a "number" key as a text key.
Hints-minibuffer-annotation-mode uses a minibuffer annotation to display information about the currently selected hint, usually its URL.