A brief primer on Emacs

A brief primer on Emacs

There are two types of people in the world. Those that use vi and those that use Emacs. --Unknown.

One should know only enough vi to compile Emacs. --Steph Bailey

I use emacs. In 1988, as a sophomore at the University of Chicago, I got a job working in the Computer Science Department. It was my first exposure to Unix, email and the Internet. The graduate students I worked with used Emacs, so I used Emacs.

Emacs is big; emacs is complicated. It took me nearly a year to figure out how to use the help system. It took me two years to figure out how to cut & paste a block of text.

This is stupid...

...and using a mode based text editor like vi...

...is more stupid.

Useful Commands

Quit: ctrl-x ctrl-c

Save: ctrl-x ctrl-s

Save As: ctrl-x ctrl-w

Search: ctrl-s

Move forward 1 character: ctrl-f

Move back 1 character: ctrl-b

Move up 1 line: ctrl-n

Move down 1 line: ctrl-p

"Cut": ctrl-k

"Paste": ctrl-y

Ctrl-k will cut the text from the current cursor position to the end of the line. You can repeatedly hit Ctrl-k to quickly cut several lines of text.

Ctrl-y will paste the text "cut" with the ctrl-k command at the current cursor position.