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The Xtensa instruction set has a code density option that provides 16-bit versions of some of the most commonly used opcodes. Use of these opcodes can significantly reduce code size. When possible, the assembler automatically translates instructions from the core Xtensa instruction set into equivalent instructions from the Xtensa code density option. This translation can be disabled by using underscore prefixes (see Opcode Names), by using the `--no-transform' command-line option (see Command Line Options), or by using the no-transform directive (see transform).

It is a good idea not to use the density instructions directly. The assembler will automatically select dense instructions where possible. If you later need to use an Xtensa processor without the code density option, the same assembly code will then work without modification.