Before you start
Learn what to expect from this tutorial, and how to get the most out of it.
The Emacs editing environment is a favorite of UNIX® developers. It's known around the world as the king of editors, but many users find it has a bit of a learning curve. The Emacs environment doesn't seem intuitive at first glance, and it doesn't work like other editors and word processors. But learning Emacs doesn't have to be difficult. Once you get going, you'll see how intuitive it is and become more comfortable with it after each use. This tutorial series shows you the way, taking you from the basics of Emacs, such as its features, philosophy, key-command layout, and methods for editing text, through many of its powerful editing features.
After completing this series, you'll be able to comfortably use Emacs for everyday editing, be well on your way to Emacs proficiency, and have a good feel for many of the advanced capabilities of Emacs.
The first part of this tutorial focuses on the history and origin of Emacs and the later part explains how to:
- Start and stop Emacs
- Manipulate files and read them in for editing
- Use basic editing keys
- Move through documents
- Use the powerful Emacs text-marking routines
- Use the mouse for editing and selection
The primary objective of this tutorial is to introduce you to the Emacs editor, give you a concise introduction to the application and its design philosophy, and show you how to be productive in this editing environment.
Upon completion of this tutorial, you'll have learned everything you need to know to perform basic text editing with Emacs.
Previous knowledge of Emacs is not required to benefit from this tutorial; however, you should have a basic understanding of what text editors and word processors do. Although this tutorial is written for all levels of UNIX expertise, it's helpful if you have an understanding of the UNIX filesystem, including:
- Filesystem hierarchy
This tutorial requires a user account on any UNIX-based system that has a recent copy of Emacs installed.
There are several varieties of Emacs; the original and most popular is GNU Emacs, which is published online by the GNU Project (see Resources).
You should have a recent copy of GNU Emacs -- one that is at version 20 or greater. Versions 20 and 21 are the most commonly available, and development snapshots of version 22 are also available. This tutorial works with any of these versions for Emacs. If your system is running something older, it's time to upgrade.
To know what version of Emacs you have running, use the GNU-style
--version flag, as follows:
$ emacs --version GNU Emacs 184.108.40.206 Copyright (C) 2006 Free Software Foundation, Inc. GNU Emacs comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY. You may redistribute copies of Emacs under the terms of the GNU General Public License. For more information about these matters, see the file named COPYING. $