Emacs tips

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This page of emacs usage tips was originally written for my fellow ArsDigita Web/DB bootcampers. The current version includes stuff incorporated from an earlier set of help pages written for my colleagues at BMERC.

[Note: I am in the process of reorganizing this, so some of the links may be broken. Please bear with me. -- rgr, 27-May-00.]

Table of contents

Contents of this page:

  1. Emacs tips
    1. Table of contents
    2. Notation conventions
    3. Learning emacs
      1. Other resources for learning emacs

Other pages in this set:

Keyboard issues
Is emacs designed give you Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)? Not if you have a sensible keyboard layout.
emacs self-documentation commands
This covers the C-h (for "help") commands, which let emacs tell you about itself.
Advanced emacs usage tips
These are the things that, in my opinion, makes emacs particularly worthwhile; I use them constantly.
Other useful emacs customizations
This is a subset of my own emacs customization code that I have exported for general use.

Notation conventions

I use an HTML-ized version of the standard emacs notation:

Learning emacs

The ideal way to learn emacs, really the only way, is to sit down in front of it and bang away. If you have access to emacs, then you have several options:
In your experimentation, be sure to edit source code in Tcl, or a language you know.

If you don't have access to emacs, then your options are much more limited. I emphatically don't recommend trying to learn emacs solely from a book; you'll only put yourself to sleep. If you can't download and install it yourself on your machine, then you're best off glancing at, say, the emacsis.great tutorial page, and otherwise waiting until you can get your hands on a keyboard.

Other resources for learning emacs

Cheat sheets and other short summaries:

Tutorials and other longer articles:


Bob Rogers <rogers@darwin.bu.edu>
Last modified: Sun Jul 21 14:19:34 EDT 2002