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1 Emacs tutorial. See end for copying conditions.
3 Emacs commands generally involve the CONTROL key (sometimes labeled
4 CTRL or CTL) or the META key (sometimes labeled EDIT or ALT). Rather than
5 write that in full each time, we'll use the following abbreviations:
7 C-<chr> means hold the CONTROL key while typing the character <chr>
8 Thus, C-f would be: hold the CONTROL key and type f.
9 M-<chr> means hold the META or EDIT or ALT key down while typing <chr>.
10 If there is no META, EDIT or ALT key, instead press and release the
11 ESC key and then type <chr>. We write <ESC> for the ESC key.
13 Important note: to end the Emacs session, type C-x C-c. (Two characters.)
14 To quit a partially entered command, type C-g.
15 The characters ">>" at the left margin indicate directions for you to
16 try using a command. For instance:
17 <<Blank lines inserted around following line by help-with-tutorial>>
18 [Middle of page left blank for didactic purposes. Text continues below]
19 >> Now type C-v (View next screen) to move to the next screen.
20 (go ahead, do it by holding down the CONTROL key while typing v).
21 From now on, you should do this again whenever you finish
22 reading the screen.
24 Note that there is an overlap of two lines when you move from screen
25 to screen; this provides some continuity so you can continue reading
26 the text.
28 The first thing that you need to know is how to move around from place
29 to place in the text. You already know how to move forward one screen,
30 with C-v. To move backwards one screen, type M-v (hold down the META key
31 and type v, or type <ESC>v if you do not have a META, EDIT, or ALT key).
33 >> Try typing M-v and then C-v, a few times.
36 * SUMMARY
39 The following commands are useful for viewing screenfuls:
41 C-v Move forward one screenful
42 M-v Move backward one screenful
43 C-l Clear screen and redisplay all the text,
44 moving the text around the cursor
45 to the center of the screen.
46 (That's CONTROL-L, not CONTROL-1.)
48 >> Find the cursor, and note what text is near it. Then type C-l.
49 Find the cursor again and notice that the same text is still near
50 the cursor, but now it is in the center of the screen.
51 If you press C-l again, this piece of text will move to the top of
52 the screen. Press C-l again, and it moves to the bottom.
54 You can also use the PageUp and PageDn keys to move by screenfuls, if
55 your terminal has them, but you can edit more efficiently if you use
56 C-v and M-v.
59 * BASIC CURSOR CONTROL
62 Moving from screenful to screenful is useful, but how do you
63 move to a specific place within the text on the screen?
65 There are several ways you can do this. You can use the arrow keys,
66 but it's more efficient to keep your hands in the standard position
67 and use the commands C-p, C-b, C-f, and C-n. These characters
68 are equivalent to the four arrow keys, like this:
70 Previous line, C-p
73 Backward, C-b .... Current cursor position .... Forward, C-f
76 Next line, C-n
78 >> Move the cursor to the line in the middle of that diagram
79 using C-n or C-p. Then type C-l to see the whole diagram
80 centered in the screen.
82 You'll find it easy to remember these letters by words they stand for:
83 P for previous, N for next, B for backward and F for forward. You
84 will be using these basic cursor positioning commands all the time.
86 >> Do a few C-n's to bring the cursor down to this line.
88 >> Move into the line with C-f's and then up with C-p's.
89 See what C-p does when the cursor is in the middle of the line.
91 Each line of text ends with a Newline character, which serves to
92 separate it from the following line. (Normally, the last line in
93 a file will have a Newline at the end, but Emacs does not require it.)
95 >> Try to C-b at the beginning of a line. It should move to
96 the end of the previous line. This is because it moves back
97 across the Newline character.
99 C-f can move across a Newline just like C-b.
101 >> Do a few more C-b's, so you get a feel for where the cursor is.
102 Then do C-f's to return to the end of the line.
103 Then do one more C-f to move to the following line.
105 When you move past the top or bottom of the screen, the text beyond
106 the edge shifts onto the screen. This is called "scrolling". It
107 enables Emacs to move the cursor to the specified place in the text
108 without moving it off the screen.
110 >> Try to move the cursor off the bottom of the screen with C-n, and
111 see what happens.
113 If moving by characters is too slow, you can move by words. M-f
114 (META-f) moves forward a word and M-b moves back a word.
116 >> Type a few M-f's and M-b's.
118 When you are in the middle of a word, M-f moves to the end of the word.
119 When you are in whitespace between words, M-f moves to the end of the
120 following word. M-b works likewise in the opposite direction.
122 >> Type M-f and M-b a few times, interspersed with C-f's and C-b's
123 so that you can observe the action of M-f and M-b from various
124 places inside and between words.
126 Notice the parallel between C-f and C-b on the one hand, and M-f and
127 M-b on the other hand. Very often Meta characters are used for
128 operations related to the units defined by language (words, sentences,
129 paragraphs), while Control characters operate on basic units that are
130 independent of what you are editing (characters, lines, etc).
132 This parallel applies between lines and sentences: C-a and C-e move to
133 the beginning or end of a line, and M-a and M-e move to the beginning
134 or end of a sentence.
136 >> Try a couple of C-a's, and then a couple of C-e's.
137 Try a couple of M-a's, and then a couple of M-e's.
139 See how repeated C-a's do nothing, but repeated M-a's keep moving one
140 more sentence. Although these are not quite analogous, each one seems
143 The location of the cursor in the text is also called "point". To
144 paraphrase, the cursor shows on the screen where point is located in
145 the text.
147 Here is a summary of simple cursor-moving operations, including the
148 word and sentence moving commands:
150 C-f Move forward a character
151 C-b Move backward a character
153 M-f Move forward a word
154 M-b Move backward a word
156 C-n Move to next line
157 C-p Move to previous line
159 C-a Move to beginning of line
160 C-e Move to end of line
162 M-a Move back to beginning of sentence
163 M-e Move forward to end of sentence
165 >> Try all of these commands now a few times for practice.
166 These are the most often used commands.
168 Two other important cursor motion commands are M-< (META Less-than),
169 which moves to the beginning of the whole text, and M-> (META
170 Greater-than), which moves to the end of the whole text.
172 On most terminals, the "<" is above the comma, so you must use the
173 shift key to type it. On these terminals you must use the shift key
174 to type M-< also; without the shift key, you would be typing M-comma.
176 >> Try M-< now, to move to the beginning of the tutorial.
177 Then use C-v repeatedly to move back here.
179 >> Try M-> now, to move to the end of the tutorial.
180 Then use M-v repeatedly to move back here.
182 You can also move the cursor with the arrow keys, if your terminal has
183 arrow keys. We recommend learning C-b, C-f, C-n and C-p for three
184 reasons. First, they work on all kinds of terminals. Second, once
185 you gain practice at using Emacs, you will find that typing these Control
186 characters is faster than typing the arrow keys (because you do not
187 have to move your hands away from touch-typing position). Third, once
188 you form the habit of using these Control character commands, you can
189 easily learn to use other advanced cursor motion commands as well.
191 Most Emacs commands accept a numeric argument; for most commands, this
192 serves as a repeat-count. The way you give a command a repeat count
193 is by typing C-u and then the digits before you type the command. If
194 you have a META (or EDIT or ALT) key, there is another, alternative way
195 to enter a numeric argument: type the digits while holding down the
196 META key. We recommend learning the C-u method because it works on
197 any terminal. The numeric argument is also called a "prefix argument",
198 because you type the argument before the command it applies to.
200 For instance, C-u 8 C-f moves forward eight characters.
202 >> Try using C-n or C-p with a numeric argument, to move the cursor
203 to a line near this one with just one command.
205 Most commands use the numeric argument as a repeat count, but some
206 commands use it in some other way. Several commands (but none of
207 those you have learned so far) use it as a flag--the presence of a
208 prefix argument, regardless of its value, makes the command do
209 something different.
211 C-v and M-v are another kind of exception. When given an argument,
212 they scroll the text up or down by that many lines, rather than by a
213 screenful. For example, C-u 8 C-v scrolls by 8 lines.
215 >> Try typing C-u 8 C-v now.
217 This should have scrolled the text up by 8 lines. If you would like
218 to scroll it down again, you can give an argument to M-v.
220 If you are using a graphical display, such as X or MS-Windows, there
221 should be a tall rectangular area called a scroll bar on one side of
222 the Emacs window. You can scroll the text by clicking the mouse in
223 the scroll bar.
225 If your mouse has a wheel button, you can also use this to scroll.
228 * IF EMACS STOPS RESPONDING
231 If Emacs stops responding to your commands, you can stop it safely by
232 typing C-g. You can use C-g to stop a command which is taking too
233 long to execute.
235 You can also use C-g to discard a numeric argument or the beginning of
236 a command that you do not want to finish.
238 >> Type C-u 100 to make a numeric argument of 100, then type C-g.
239 Now type C-f. It should move just one character, because you
240 canceled the argument with C-g.
242 If you have typed an <ESC> by mistake, you can get rid of it with a C-g.
245 * DISABLED COMMANDS
248 Some Emacs commands are "disabled" so that beginning users cannot use
249 them by accident.
251 If you type one of the disabled commands, Emacs displays a message
252 saying what the command was, and asking you whether you want to go
253 ahead and execute the command.
255 If you really want to try the command, type <SPC> (the Space bar) in
256 answer to the question. Normally, if you do not want to execute the
257 disabled command, answer the question with "n".
259 >> Type C-x C-l (which is a disabled command),
260 then type n to answer the question.
263 * WINDOWS
266 Emacs can have several "windows", each displaying its own text. We
267 will explain later on how to use multiple windows. Right now we want
268 to explain how to get rid of extra windows and go back to basic
269 one-window editing. It is simple:
271 C-x 1 One window (i.e., kill all other windows).
273 That is CONTROL-x followed by the digit 1. C-x 1 expands the window
274 which contains the cursor, to occupy the full screen. It deletes all
275 other windows.
277 >> Move the cursor to this line and type C-u 0 C-l.
278 >> Type C-h k C-f.
279 See how this window shrinks, while a new one appears
280 to display documentation on the C-f command.
282 >> Type C-x 1 and see the documentation listing window disappear.
284 There is a whole series of commands that start with CONTROL-x; many of
285 them have to do with windows, files, buffers, and related things.
286 These commands are two, three or four characters long.
289 * INSERTING AND DELETING
292 If you want to insert text, just type the text. Ordinary characters,
293 like A, 7, *, etc., are inserted as you type them. To insert a
294 Newline character, type <Return> (this is the key on the keyboard
295 which is sometimes labeled "Enter").
297 To delete the character immediately before the current cursor
298 position, type <DEL>. This is the key on the keyboard usually labeled
299 "Backspace"--the same one you normally use, outside Emacs, to delete
300 the last character typed.
302 There may also be another key on your keyboard labeled <Delete>, but
303 that's not the one we refer to as <DEL>.
305 >> Do this now--type a few characters, then delete them by
306 typing <DEL> a few times. Don't worry about this file
307 being changed; you will not alter the master tutorial.
308 This is your personal copy of it.
310 When a line of text gets too big for one line on the screen, the line
311 of text is "continued" onto a second screen line. If you're using a
312 graphical display, little curved arrows appear in the narrow spaces on
313 each side of the text area (the left and right "fringes"), to indicate
314 where a line has been continued. If you're using a text terminal, the
315 continued line is indicated by a backslash ('\') on the rightmost
316 screen column.
318 >> Insert text until you reach the right margin, and keep on inserting.
319 You'll see a continuation line appear.
321 >> Use <DEL>s to delete the text until the line fits on one screen
322 line again. The continuation line goes away.
324 You can delete a Newline character just like any other character.
325 Deleting the Newline character between two lines merges them into
326 one line. If the resulting combined line is too long to fit in the
327 screen width, it will be displayed with a continuation line.
329 >> Move the cursor to the beginning of a line and type <DEL>. This
330 merges that line with the previous line.
332 >> Type <Return> to reinsert the Newline you deleted.
334 The <Return> key is special, in that pressing it may do more than
335 just insert a Newline character. Depending on the surrounding text,
336 it may insert whitespace after the Newline character, so that when
337 you start typing on the newly created line, the text lines up with
338 that on the previous line. We call this behavior (where pressing a
339 key does more than simply inserting the relevant character) "electric".
341 >> Here is an example of <Return> being electric.
342 Type <Return> at the end of this line.
344 You should see that after inserting the Newline, Emacs inserts spaces
345 so that the cursor moves under the "T" of "Type".
347 Remember that most Emacs commands can be given a repeat count;
348 this includes text characters. Repeating a text character inserts
349 it several times.
351 >> Try that now -- type C-u 8 * to insert ********.
353 You've now learned the most basic way of typing something in
354 Emacs and correcting errors. You can delete by words or lines
355 as well. Here is a summary of the delete operations:
357 <DEL> Delete the character just before the cursor
358 C-d Delete the next character after the cursor
360 M-<DEL> Kill the word immediately before the cursor
361 M-d Kill the next word after the cursor
363 C-k Kill from the cursor position to end of line
364 M-k Kill to the end of the current sentence
366 Notice that <DEL> and C-d vs M-<DEL> and M-d extend the parallel
367 started by C-f and M-f (well, <DEL> is not really a control character,
368 but let's not worry about that). C-k and M-k are like C-e and M-e,
369 sort of, in that lines are paired with sentences.
371 You can also kill a segment of text with one uniform method. Move to
372 one end of that part, and type C-<SPC>. (<SPC> is the Space bar.)
373 Next, move the cursor to the other end of the text you intend to kill.
374 As you do this, Emacs highlights the text between the cursor and the
375 position where you typed C-<SPC>. Finally, type C-w. This kills all
376 the text between the two positions.
378 >> Move the cursor to the Y at the start of the previous paragraph.
379 >> Type C-<SPC>. Emacs should display a message "Mark set"
380 at the bottom of the screen.
381 >> Move the cursor to the n in "end", on the second line of the
383 >> Type C-w. This will kill the text starting from the Y,
384 and ending just before the n.
386 The difference between "killing" and "deleting" is that "killed" text
387 can be reinserted (at any position), whereas "deleted" things cannot
388 be reinserted in this way (you can, however, undo a deletion--see
389 below). Reinsertion of killed text is called "yanking". (Think of it
390 as yanking back, or pulling back, some text that was taken away.)
391 Generally, the commands that can remove a lot of text kill the text
392 (they are set up so that you can yank the text), while the commands
393 that remove just one character, or only remove blank lines and spaces,
394 do deletion (so you cannot yank that text). <DEL> and C-d do deletion
395 in the simplest case, with no argument. When given an argument, they
396 kill instead.
398 >> Move the cursor to the beginning of a line which is not empty.
399 Then type C-k to kill the text on that line.
400 >> Type C-k a second time. You'll see that it kills the Newline
401 which follows that line.
403 Note that a single C-k kills the contents of the line, and a second
404 C-k kills the line itself, and makes all the other lines move up. C-k
405 treats a numeric argument specially: it kills that many lines AND
406 their contents. This is not mere repetition. C-u 2 C-k kills two
407 lines and their Newlines; typing C-k twice would not do that.
409 You can yank the killed text either at the same place where it was
410 killed, or at some other place in the text you are editing, or even in
411 a different file. You can yank the same text several times; that
412 makes multiple copies of it. Some other editors call killing and
413 yanking "cutting" and "pasting" (see the Glossary in the Emacs
416 The command for yanking is C-y. It reinserts the last killed text,
417 at the current cursor position.
419 >> Try it; type C-y to yank the text back.
421 If you do several C-k's in a row, all of the killed text is saved
422 together, so that one C-y will yank all of the lines at once.
424 >> Do this now, type C-k several times.
426 Now to retrieve that killed text:
428 >> Type C-y. Then move the cursor down a few lines and type C-y
429 again. You now see how to copy some text.
431 What do you do if you have some text you want to yank back, and then
432 you kill something else? C-y would yank the more recent kill. But
433 the previous text is not lost. You can get back to it using the M-y
434 command. After you have done C-y to get the most recent kill, typing
435 M-y replaces that yanked text with the previous kill. Typing M-y
436 again and again brings in earlier and earlier kills. When you have
437 reached the text you are looking for, you do not have to do anything to
438 keep it. Just go on with your editing, leaving the yanked text where
439 it is.
441 If you M-y enough times, you come back to the starting point (the most
442 recent kill).
444 >> Kill a line, move around, kill another line.
445 Then do C-y to get back the second killed line.
446 Then do M-y and it will be replaced by the first killed line.
447 Do more M-y's and see what you get. Keep doing them until
448 the second kill line comes back, and then a few more.
449 If you like, you can try giving M-y positive and negative
453 * UNDO
456 If you make a change to the text, and then decide that it was a
457 mistake, you can undo the change with the undo command, C-/.
459 Normally, C-/ undoes the changes made by one command; if you repeat
460 C-/ several times in a row, each repetition undoes one more command.
462 But there are two exceptions: commands that do not change the text
463 don't count (this includes cursor motion commands and scrolling
464 commands), and self-inserting characters are usually handled in groups
465 of up to 20. (This is to reduce the number of C-/'s you have to type
466 to undo insertion of text.)
468 >> Kill this line with C-k, then type C-/ and it should reappear.
470 C-_ is an alternative undo command; it works exactly the same as C-/.
471 On some text terminals, typing C-/ actually sends C-_ to Emacs.
472 Alternatively, C-x u also works exactly like C-/, but is a little less
473 convenient to type.
475 A numeric argument to C-/, C-_, or C-x u acts as a repeat count.
477 You can undo deletion of text just as you can undo killing of text.
478 The distinction between killing something and deleting it affects
479 whether you can yank it with C-y; it makes no difference for undo.
482 * FILES
485 In order to make the text you edit permanent, you must put it in a
486 file. Otherwise, it will go away when you exit Emacs. In order to
487 put your text in a file, you must "find" the file before you enter the
488 text. (This is also called "visiting" the file.)
490 Finding a file means that you see the contents of the file within
491 Emacs. In many ways, it is as if you were editing the file itself.
492 However, the changes you make using Emacs do not become permanent
493 until you "save" the file. This is so you can avoid leaving a
494 half-changed file on the system when you do not want to. Even when
495 you save, Emacs leaves the original file under a changed name in case
496 you later decide that your changes were a mistake.
498 If you look near the bottom of the screen you will see a line that
499 begins with dashes, and starts with " -:--- TUTORIAL" or something
500 like that. This part of the screen normally shows the name of the
501 file that you are visiting. Right now, you are visiting your personal
502 copy of the Emacs tutorial, which is called "TUTORIAL". When you find
503 a file with Emacs, that file's name will appear in that precise spot.
505 One special thing about the command for finding a file is that you
506 have to say what file name you want. We say the command "reads an
507 argument" (in this case, the argument is the name of the file). After
508 you type the command
510 C-x C-f Find a file
512 Emacs asks you to type the file name. The file name you type appears
513 on the bottom line of the screen. The bottom line is called the
514 minibuffer when it is used for this sort of input. You can use
515 ordinary Emacs editing commands to edit the file name.
517 While you are entering the file name (or any minibuffer input),
518 you can cancel the command with C-g.
520 >> Type C-x C-f, then type C-g. This cancels the minibuffer,
521 and also cancels the C-x C-f command that was using the
522 minibuffer. So you do not find any file.
524 When you have finished entering the file name, type <Return> to
525 terminate it. The minibuffer disappears, and the C-x C-f command goes
526 to work to find the file you chose.
528 The file contents now appear on the screen, and you can edit the
529 contents. When you wish to make your changes permanent, type the
532 C-x C-s Save the file
534 This copies the text within Emacs into the file. The first time you
535 do this, Emacs renames the original file to a new name so that it is
536 not lost. The new name is made by adding "~" to the end of the
537 original file's name. When saving is finished, Emacs displays the
538 name of the file written.
540 >> Type C-x C-s TUTORIAL <Return>.
541 This should save this tutorial to a file named TUTORIAL, and show
542 "Wrote ...TUTORIAL" at the bottom of the screen.
544 You can find an existing file, to view it or edit it. You can also
545 find a file which does not already exist. This is the way to create a
546 file with Emacs: find the file, which starts out empty, and then begin
547 inserting the text for the file. When you ask to "save" the file,
548 Emacs actually creates the file with the text that you have inserted.
549 From then on, you can consider yourself to be editing an already
550 existing file.
553 * BUFFERS
556 If you find a second file with C-x C-f, the first file remains
557 inside Emacs. You can switch back to it by finding it again with
558 C-x C-f. This way you can get quite a number of files inside Emacs.
560 Emacs stores each file's text inside an object called a "buffer".
561 Finding a file makes a new buffer inside Emacs. To see a list of the
562 buffers that currently exist, type
564 C-x C-b List buffers
566 >> Try C-x C-b now.
568 See how each buffer has a name, and it may also have a file name for
569 the file whose contents it holds. ANY text you see in an Emacs window
570 is always part of some buffer.
572 >> Type C-x 1 to get rid of the buffer list.
574 When you have several buffers, only one of them is "current" at any
575 time. That buffer is the one you edit. If you want to edit another
576 buffer, you need to "switch" to it. If you want to switch to a buffer
577 that corresponds to a file, you can do it by visiting the file again
578 with C-x C-f. But there is an easier way: use the C-x b command.
579 In that command, you have to type the buffer's name.
581 >> Create a file named "foo" by typing C-x C-f foo <Return>.
582 Then type C-x b TUTORIAL <Return> to come back to this tutorial.
584 Most of the time, the buffer's name is the same as the file name
585 (without the file directory part). However, this is not always true.
586 The buffer list you make with C-x C-b shows you both the buffer name
587 and the file name of every buffer.
589 Some buffers do not correspond to files. The buffer named
590 "*Buffer List*", which contains the buffer list that you made with
591 C-x C-b, does not have any file. This TUTORIAL buffer initially did
592 not have a file, but now it does, because in the previous section you
593 typed C-x C-s and saved it to a file.
595 The buffer named "*Messages*" also does not correspond to any file.
596 This buffer contains the messages that have appeared on the bottom
597 line during your Emacs session.
599 >> Type C-x b *Messages* <Return> to look at the buffer of messages.
600 Then type C-x b TUTORIAL <Return> to come back to this tutorial.
602 If you make changes to the text of one file, then find another file,
603 this does not save the first file. Its changes remain inside Emacs,
604 in that file's buffer. The creation or editing of the second file's
605 buffer has no effect on the first file's buffer. This is very useful,
606 but it also means that you need a convenient way to save the first
607 file's buffer. Having to switch back to that buffer, in order to save
608 it with C-x C-s, would be a nuisance. So we have
610 C-x s Save some buffers
612 C-x s asks you about each buffer which contains changes that you have
613 not saved. It asks you, for each such buffer, whether to save the
616 >> Insert a line of text, then type C-x s.
617 It should ask you whether to save the buffer named TUTORIAL.
618 Answer yes to the question by typing "y".
621 * EXTENDING THE COMMAND SET
624 There are many, many more Emacs commands than could possibly be put
625 on all the control and meta characters. Emacs gets around this with
626 the X (eXtend) command. This comes in two flavors:
628 C-x Character eXtend. Followed by one character.
629 M-x Named command eXtend. Followed by a long name.
631 These are commands that are generally useful but are used less than the
632 commands you have already learned about. You have already seen a few
633 of them: the file commands C-x C-f to Find and C-x C-s to Save, for
634 example. Another example is the command to end the Emacs
635 session--this is the command C-x C-c. (Do not worry about losing
636 changes you have made; C-x C-c offers to save each changed file before
637 it kills Emacs.)
639 If you are using a graphical display, you don't need any special
640 command to move from Emacs to another application. You can do this
641 with the mouse or with window manager commands. However, if you're
642 using a text terminal which can only show one application at a time,
643 you need to "suspend" Emacs to move to any other application.
645 C-z is the command to exit Emacs *temporarily*--so that you can go
646 back to the same Emacs session afterward. When Emacs is running on a
647 text terminal, C-z "suspends" Emacs; that is, it returns to the shell
648 but does not destroy the Emacs job. In the most common shells, you
649 can resume Emacs with the "fg" command or with "%emacs".
651 The time to use C-x C-c is when you are about to log out. It's also
652 the right thing to use to exit an Emacs invoked for a quick edit, such
653 as by a mail handling utility.
655 There are many C-x commands. Here is a list of the ones you have learned:
657 C-x C-f Find file
658 C-x C-s Save file
659 C-x s Save some buffers
660 C-x C-b List buffers
661 C-x b Switch buffer
662 C-x C-c Quit Emacs
663 C-x 1 Delete all but one window
664 C-x u Undo
666 Named eXtended commands are commands which are used even less
667 frequently, or commands which are used only in certain modes. An
668 example is the command replace-string, which replaces one string with
669 another in the buffer. When you type M-x, Emacs prompts you at the
670 bottom of the screen with M-x and you should type the name of the
671 command; in this case, "replace-string". Just type "repl s<TAB>" and
672 Emacs will complete the name. (<TAB> is the Tab key, usually found
673 above the CapsLock or Shift key near the left edge of the keyboard.)
674 Submit the command name with <Return>.
676 The replace-string command requires two arguments--the string to be
677 replaced, and the string to replace it with. You must end each
678 argument with <Return>.
680 >> Move the cursor to the blank line two lines below this one.
681 Then type M-x repl s<Return>changed<Return>altered<Return>.
683 Notice how this line has changed: you've replaced the word
684 "changed" with "altered" wherever it occurred, after the
685 initial position of the cursor.
688 * AUTO SAVE
691 When you have made changes in a file, but you have not saved them yet,
692 they could be lost if your computer crashes. To protect you from
693 this, Emacs periodically writes an "auto save" file for each file that
694 you are editing. The auto save file name has a # at the beginning and
695 the end; for example, if your file is named "hello.c", its auto save
696 file's name is "#hello.c#". When you save the file in the normal way,
697 Emacs deletes its auto save file.
699 If the computer crashes, you can recover your auto-saved editing by
700 finding the file normally (the file you were editing, not the auto
701 save file) and then typing M-x recover-file <Return>. When it asks for
702 confirmation, type yes<Return> to go ahead and recover the auto-save
706 * ECHO AREA
709 If Emacs sees that you are typing multicharacter commands slowly, it
710 shows them to you at the bottom of the screen in an area called the
711 "echo area". The echo area contains the bottom line of the screen.
714 * MODE LINE
717 The line immediately above the echo area is called the "mode line".
718 The mode line says something like this:
720 -:**- TUTORIAL 63% L749 (Fundamental)
722 This line gives useful information about the status of Emacs and
723 the text you are editing.
725 You already know what the filename means--it is the file you have
726 found. NN% indicates your current position in the buffer text; it
727 means that NN percent of the buffer is above the top of the screen.
728 If the top of the buffer is on the screen, it will say "Top" instead
729 of " 0%". If the bottom of the buffer is on the screen, it will say
730 "Bot". If you are looking at a buffer so small that all of it fits on
731 the screen, the mode line says "All".
733 The L and digits indicate position in another way: they give the
734 current line number of point.
736 The stars near the front mean that you have made changes to the text.
737 Right after you visit or save a file, that part of the mode line shows
738 no stars, just dashes.
740 The part of the mode line inside the parentheses is to tell you what
741 editing modes you are in. The default mode is Fundamental which is
742 what you are using now. It is an example of a "major mode".
744 Emacs has many different major modes. Some of them are meant for
745 editing different languages and/or kinds of text, such as Lisp mode,
746 Text mode, etc. At any time one and only one major mode is active,
747 and its name can always be found in the mode line just where
748 "Fundamental" is now.
750 Each major mode makes a few commands behave differently. For example,
751 there are commands for creating comments in a program, and since each
752 programming language has a different idea of what a comment should
753 look like, each major mode has to insert comments differently. Each
754 major mode is the name of an extended command, which is how you can
755 switch to that mode. For example, M-x fundamental-mode is a command to
756 switch to Fundamental mode.
758 If you are going to be editing human-language text, such as this file, you
759 should probably use Text Mode.
761 >> Type M-x text-mode <Return>.
763 Don't worry, none of the Emacs commands you have learned changes in
764 any great way. But you can observe that M-f and M-b now treat
765 apostrophes as part of words. Previously, in Fundamental mode,
766 M-f and M-b treated apostrophes as word-separators.
768 Major modes usually make subtle changes like that one: most commands
769 do "the same job" in each major mode, but they work a little bit
772 To view documentation on your current major mode, type C-h m.
774 >> Move the cursor to the line following this line.
775 >> Type C-l C-l to bring this line to the top of screen.
776 >> Type C-h m, to see how Text mode differs from Fundamental mode.
777 >> Type C-x 1 to remove the documentation from the screen.
779 Major modes are called major because there are also minor modes.
780 Minor modes are not alternatives to the major modes, just minor
781 modifications of them. Each minor mode can be turned on or off by
782 itself, independent of all other minor modes, and independent of your
783 major mode. So you can use no minor modes, or one minor mode, or any
784 combination of several minor modes.
786 One minor mode which is very useful, especially for editing
787 human-language text, is Auto Fill mode. When this mode is on, Emacs
788 breaks the line in between words automatically whenever you insert
789 text and make a line that is too wide.
791 You can turn Auto Fill mode on by doing M-x auto-fill-mode <Return>.
792 When the mode is on, you can turn it off again by doing
793 M-x auto-fill-mode <Return>. If the mode is off, this command turns
794 it on, and if the mode is on, this command turns it off. We say that
795 the command "toggles the mode".
797 >> Type M-x auto-fill-mode <Return> now. Then insert a line of "asdf "
798 over again until you see it divide into two lines. You must put in
799 spaces between them because Auto Fill breaks lines only at spaces.
801 The margin is usually set at 70 characters, but you can change it
802 with the C-x f command. You should give the margin setting you want
803 as a numeric argument.
805 >> Type C-x f with an argument of 20. (C-u 2 0 C-x f).
806 Then type in some text and see Emacs fill lines of 20
807 characters with it. Then set the margin back to 70 using
808 C-x f again.
810 If you make changes in the middle of a paragraph, Auto Fill mode
811 does not re-fill it for you.
812 To re-fill the paragraph, type M-q (META-q) with the cursor inside
813 that paragraph.
815 >> Move the cursor into the previous paragraph and type M-q.
818 * SEARCHING
821 Emacs can do searches for strings (a "string" is a group of contiguous
822 characters) either forward through the text or backward through it.
823 Searching for a string is a cursor motion command; it moves the cursor
824 to the next place where that string appears.
826 The Emacs search command is "incremental". This means that the
827 search happens while you type in the string to search for.
829 The command to initiate a search is C-s for forward search, and C-r
830 for reverse search. BUT WAIT! Don't try them now.
832 When you type C-s you'll notice that the string "I-search" appears as
833 a prompt in the echo area. This tells you that Emacs is in what is
834 called an incremental search waiting for you to type the thing that
835 you want to search for. <Return> terminates a search.
837 >> Now type C-s to start a search. SLOWLY, one letter at a time,
838 type the word "cursor", pausing after you type each
839 character to notice what happens to the cursor.
840 Now you have searched for "cursor", once.
841 >> Type C-s again, to search for the next occurrence of "cursor".
842 >> Now type <DEL> four times and see how the cursor moves.
843 >> Type <Return> to terminate the search.
845 Did you see what happened? Emacs, in an incremental search, tries to
846 go to the occurrence of the string that you've typed out so far. To
847 go to the next occurrence of "cursor" just type C-s again. If no such
848 occurrence exists, Emacs beeps and tells you the search is currently
849 "failing". C-g would also terminate the search.
851 If you are in the middle of an incremental search and type <DEL>, the
852 search "retreats" to an earlier location. If you type <DEL> just
853 after you had typed C-s to advance to the next occurrence of a search
854 string, the <DEL> moves the cursor back to an earlier occurrence. If
855 there are no earlier occurrences, the <DEL> erases the last character
856 in the search string. For instance, suppose you have typed "c", to
857 search for the first occurrence of "c". Now if you type "u", the
858 cursor will move to the first occurrence of "cu". Now type <DEL>.
859 This erases the "u" from the search string, and the cursor moves back
860 to the first occurrence of "c".
862 If you are in the middle of a search and type a control or meta
863 character (with a few exceptions--characters that are special in a
864 search, such as C-s and C-r), the search is terminated.
866 C-s starts a search that looks for any occurrence of the search string
867 AFTER the current cursor position. If you want to search for
868 something earlier in the text, type C-r instead. Everything that we
869 have said about C-s also applies to C-r, except that the direction of
870 the search is reversed.
873 * MULTIPLE WINDOWS
876 One of the nice features of Emacs is that you can display more than
877 one window on the screen at the same time. (Note that Emacs uses the
878 term "frames"--described in the next section--for what some other
879 applications call "windows". The Emacs manual contains a Glossary of
880 Emacs terms.)
882 >> Move the cursor to this line and type C-l C-l.
884 >> Now type C-x 2 which splits the screen into two windows.
885 Both windows display this tutorial. The editing cursor stays in
886 the top window.
888 >> Type C-M-v to scroll the bottom window.
889 (If you do not have a real META key, type <ESC> C-v.)
891 >> Type C-x o ("o" for "other") to move the cursor to the bottom window.
892 >> Use C-v and M-v in the bottom window to scroll it.
893 Keep reading these directions in the top window.
895 >> Type C-x o again to move the cursor back to the top window.
896 The cursor in the top window is just where it was before.
898 You can keep using C-x o to switch between the windows. The "selected
899 window", where most editing takes place, is the one with a prominent
900 cursor which blinks when you are not typing. The other windows have
901 their own cursor positions; if you are running Emacs in a graphical
902 display, those cursors are drawn as unblinking hollow boxes.
904 The command C-M-v is very useful when you are editing text in one
905 window and using the other window just for reference. Without leaving
906 the selected window, you can scroll the text in the other window with
909 C-M-v is an example of a CONTROL-META character. If you have a META
910 (or Alt) key, you can type C-M-v by holding down both CONTROL and META
911 while typing v. It does not matter whether CONTROL or META "comes
912 first," as both of these keys act by modifying the characters you
915 If you do not have a META key, and you use <ESC> instead, the order
916 does matter: you must type <ESC> followed by CONTROL-v, because
917 CONTROL-<ESC> v will not work. This is because <ESC> is a character
918 in its own right, not a modifier key.
920 >> Type C-x 1 (in the top window) to get rid of the bottom window.
922 (If you had typed C-x 1 in the bottom window, that would get rid
923 of the top one. Think of this command as "Keep just one
924 window--the window I am already in.")
926 You do not have to display the same buffer in both windows. If you
927 use C-x C-f to find a file in one window, the other window does not
928 change. You can find a file in each window independently.
930 Here is another way to use two windows to display two different things:
932 >> Type C-x 4 C-f followed by the name of one of your files.
933 End with <Return>. See the specified file appear in the bottom
934 window. The cursor goes there, too.
936 >> Type C-x o to go back to the top window, and C-x 1 to delete
937 the bottom window.
940 * MULTIPLE FRAMES
943 Emacs can also create multiple "frames". A frame is what we call one
944 collection of windows, together with its menus, scroll bars, echo
945 area, etc. On graphical displays, what Emacs calls a "frame" is what
946 most other applications call a "window". Multiple graphical frames
947 can be shown on the screen at the same time. On a text terminal, only
948 one frame can be shown at a time.
950 >> Type M-x make-frame <Return>.
951 See a new frame appear on your screen.
953 You can do everything you did in the original frame in the new frame.
954 There is nothing special about the first frame.
956 >> Type M-x delete-frame <Return>.
957 This removes the selected frame.
959 You can also remove a frame by using the normal method provided by the
960 graphical system (often clicking a button with an "X" at a top corner
961 of the frame). If you remove the Emacs job's last frame this way,
962 that exits Emacs.
965 * RECURSIVE EDITING LEVELS
968 Sometimes you will get into what is called a "recursive editing
969 level". This is indicated by square brackets in the mode line,
970 surrounding the parentheses around the major mode name. For
971 example, you might see [(Fundamental)] instead of (Fundamental).
973 To get out of the recursive editing level, type <ESC> <ESC> <ESC>.
974 That is an all-purpose "get out" command. You can also use it for
975 eliminating extra windows, and getting out of the minibuffer.
977 >> Type M-x to get into a minibuffer; then type <ESC> <ESC> <ESC> to
978 get out.
980 You cannot use C-g to get out of a recursive editing level. This is
981 because C-g is used for canceling commands and arguments WITHIN the
982 recursive editing level.
985 * GETTING MORE HELP
988 In this tutorial we have tried to supply just enough information to
989 get you started using Emacs. There is so much available in Emacs that
990 it would be impossible to explain it all here. However, you may want
991 to learn more about Emacs since it has many other useful features.
992 Emacs provides commands for reading documentation about Emacs
993 commands. These "help" commands all start with the character
994 CONTROL-h, which is called "the Help character".
996 To use the Help features, type the C-h character, and then a
997 character saying what kind of help you want. If you are REALLY lost,
998 type C-h ? and Emacs will tell you what kinds of help it can give.
999 If you have typed C-h and decide you do not want any help, just
1000 type C-g to cancel it.
1002 (If C-h does not display a message about help at the bottom of the
1003 screen, try typing the F1 key or M-x help <Return> instead.)
1005 The most basic HELP feature is C-h c. Type C-h, the character c, and
1006 a command character or sequence; then Emacs displays a very brief
1007 description of the command.
1009 >> Type C-h c C-p.
1011 The message should be something like this:
1013 C-p runs the command previous-line
1015 This tells you the "name of the function". Since function names
1016 are chosen to indicate what the command does, they can serve as
1017 very brief documentation--sufficient to remind you of commands you
1018 have already learned.
1020 Multi-character commands such as C-x C-s and (if you have no META or
1021 EDIT or ALT key) <ESC>v are also allowed after C-h c.
1023 To get more information about a command, use C-h k instead of C-h c.
1025 >> Type C-h k C-p.
1027 This displays the documentation of the function, as well as its name,
1028 in an Emacs window. When you are finished reading the output, type
1029 C-x 1 to get rid of that window. You do not have to do this right
1030 away. You can do some editing while referring to the help text, and
1031 then type C-x 1.
1033 Here are some other useful C-h options:
1035 C-h f Describe a function. You type in the name of the
1038 >> Try typing C-h f previous-line <Return>.
1039 This displays all the information Emacs has about the
1040 function which implements the C-p command.
1042 A similar command C-h v displays the documentation of variables,
1043 including those whose values you can set to customize Emacs behavior.
1044 You need to type in the name of the variable when Emacs prompts for it.
1046 C-h a Command Apropos. Type in a keyword and Emacs will list
1047 all the commands whose names contain that keyword.
1048 These commands can all be invoked with META-x.
1049 For some commands, Command Apropos will also list a one
1050 or two character sequence which runs the same command.
1052 >> Type C-h a file <Return>.
1054 This displays in another window a list of all M-x commands with "file"
1055 in their names. You will see character-commands listed beside the
1056 corresponding command names (such as C-x C-f beside find-file).
1058 >> Type C-M-v to scroll the help window. Do this a few times.
1060 >> Type C-x 1 to delete the help window.
1062 C-h i Read included Manuals (a.k.a. Info). This command puts
1063 you into a special buffer called "*info*" where you
1064 can read manuals for the packages installed on your system.
1065 Type m emacs <Return> to read the Emacs manual.
1066 If you have never before used Info, type ? and Emacs
1067 will take you on a guided tour of Info mode facilities.
1068 Once you are through with this tutorial, you should
1069 consult the Emacs Info manual as your primary documentation.
1072 * MORE FEATURES
1075 You can learn more about Emacs by reading its manual, either as a
1076 printed book, or inside Emacs (use the Help menu or type C-h r).
1077 Two features that you may like especially are completion, which saves
1078 typing, and dired, which simplifies file handling.
1080 Completion is a way to avoid unnecessary typing. For instance, if you
1081 want to switch to the *Messages* buffer, you can type C-x b *M<Tab>
1082 and Emacs will fill in the rest of the buffer name as far as it can
1083 determine from what you have already typed. Completion also works for
1084 command names and file names. Completion is described in the Emacs
1085 manual in the node called "Completion".
1087 Dired enables you to list files in a directory (and optionally its
1088 subdirectories), move around that list, visit, rename, delete and
1089 otherwise operate on the files. Dired is described in the Emacs
1090 manual in the node called "Dired".
1092 The manual also describes many other Emacs features.
1095 * CONCLUSION
1098 To exit Emacs use C-x C-c.
1100 This tutorial is meant to be understandable to all new users, so if
1101 you found something unclear, don't sit and blame yourself - complain!
1104 * COPYING
1107 This tutorial descends from a long line of Emacs tutorials
1108 starting with the one written by Stuart Cracraft for the original Emacs.
1110 This version of the tutorial is a part of GNU Emacs. It is copyrighted
1111 and comes with permission to distribute copies on certain conditions:
1113 Copyright (C) 1985, 1996, 1998, 2001-2017 Free Software Foundation,
1116 This file is part of GNU Emacs.
1118 GNU Emacs is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
1119 it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
1120 the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
1121 (at your option) any later version.
1123 GNU Emacs is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
1124 but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
1125 MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
1126 GNU General Public License for more details.
1128 You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
1129 along with GNU Emacs. If not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
1131 Please read the file COPYING and then do give copies of GNU Emacs to
1132 your friends. Help stamp out software obstructionism ("ownership") by
1133 using, writing, and sharing free software!