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Fri, 07 Jan 2005 18:04:19 -0500
> When format is nil (for mode-line-format) or t (for header-line-format),
> the resulting string is propertized with the proper mode-line and
> face as the base face.
I'll show my ignorance: I don't know what a base face is and I can't
find a definition in the manual.
There is no term "base face". What he means is a face to apply
by default to any characters that don't specify some other face.
So that you would get the same face actually used in the mode line.
I think adding an argument specifying a default face for format-mode-line
is a good way to do it.