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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 To stop the tutorial, type C-x k, then <Return> at the prompt.
16 The characters ">>" at the left margin indicate directions for you to
17 try using a command. For instance:
18 <<Blank lines inserted around following line by help-with-tutorial>>
19 [Middle of page left blank for didactic purposes. Text continues below]
20 >> Now type C-v (View next screen) to scroll down in the tutorial.
21 (go ahead, do it by holding down the CONTROL key while typing v).
22 From now on, please do this whenever you reach the end of the screen.
24 Note that there is an overlap of two lines when you scroll a whole
25 screenful; this provides some continuity so you can continue reading
26 the text.
28 This is a copy of the Emacs tutorial text, customized slightly for
29 you. Later on we will instruct you to try various commands to alter
30 this text. Don't worry if you change this text before we tell you to;
31 that is called "editing" and that's what Emacs is for.
33 The first thing that you need to know is how to move around from place
34 to place in the text. You already know how to move forward one screen,
35 with C-v. To move backwards one screen, type M-v (hold down the META key
36 and type v, or type <ESC>v if you do not have a META, EDIT, or ALT key).
38 >> Try typing M-v and then C-v, a few times.
40 It is ok to scroll this text in other ways, if you know how.
42 * SUMMARY
45 The following commands are useful for viewing screenfuls:
47 C-v Move forward one screenful
48 M-v Move backward one screenful
49 C-l Clear screen and redisplay all the text,
50 moving the text around the cursor
51 to the center of the screen.
52 (That's CONTROL-L, not CONTROL-1.)
54 >> Find the cursor, and note what text is near it. Then type C-l.
55 Find the cursor again and notice that the same text is still near
56 the cursor, but now it is in the center of the screen.
57 If you press C-l again, this piece of text will move to the top of
58 the screen. Press C-l again, and it moves to the bottom.
60 You can also use the PageUp and PageDn keys to move by screenfuls, if
61 your terminal has them, but you can edit more efficiently if you use
62 C-v and M-v.
64 * BASIC CURSOR CONTROL
67 Moving from screenful to screenful is useful, but how do you
68 move to a specific place within the text on the screen?
70 There are several ways you can do this. You can use the arrow keys,
71 but it's more efficient to keep your hands in the standard position
72 and use the commands C-p, C-b, C-f, and C-n. These characters
73 are equivalent to the four arrow keys, like this:
75 Previous line, C-p
78 Backward, C-b .... Current cursor position .... Forward, C-f
81 Next line, C-n
83 >> Move the cursor to the line in the middle of that diagram
84 using C-n or C-p. Then type C-l to see the whole diagram
85 centered in the screen.
87 You'll find it easy to remember these letters by words they stand for:
88 P for previous, N for next, B for backward and F for forward. You
89 will be using these basic cursor positioning commands all the time.
91 >> Do a few C-n's to bring the cursor down to this line.
93 >> Move into the line with C-f's and then up with C-p's.
94 See what C-p does when the cursor is in the middle of the line.
96 Each line of text ends with a Newline character, which serves to
97 separate it from the following line. (Normally, the last line in
98 a file will have a Newline at the end, but Emacs does not require it.)
100 >> Try to C-b at the beginning of a line. It should move to
101 the end of the previous line. This is because it moves back
102 across the Newline character.
104 C-f can move across a Newline just like C-b.
106 >> Do a few more C-b's, so you get a feel for where the cursor is.
107 Then do C-f's to return to the end of the line.
108 Then do one more C-f to move to the following line.
110 When you move past the top or bottom of the screen, the text beyond
111 the edge shifts onto the screen. This is called "scrolling". It
112 enables Emacs to move the cursor to the specified place in the text
113 without moving it off the screen.
115 >> Try to move the cursor off the bottom of the screen with C-n, and
116 see what happens.
118 If moving by characters is too slow, you can move by words. M-f
119 (META-f) moves forward a word and M-b moves back a word.
121 >> Type a few M-f's and M-b's.
123 When you are in the middle of a word, M-f moves to the end of the word.
124 When you are in whitespace between words, M-f moves to the end of the
125 following word. M-b works likewise in the opposite direction.
127 >> Type M-f and M-b a few times, interspersed with C-f's and C-b's
128 so that you can observe the action of M-f and M-b from various
129 places inside and between words.
131 Notice the parallel between C-f and C-b on the one hand, and M-f and
132 M-b on the other hand. Very often Meta characters are used for
133 operations related to the units defined by language (words, sentences,
134 paragraphs), while Control characters operate on basic units that are
135 independent of what you are editing (characters, lines, etc).
137 This parallel applies between lines and sentences: C-a and C-e move to
138 the beginning or end of a line, and M-a and M-e move to the beginning
139 or end of a sentence.
141 >> Try a couple of C-a's, and then a couple of C-e's.
142 Try a couple of M-a's, and then a couple of M-e's.
144 See how repeated C-a's do nothing, but repeated M-a's keep moving one
145 more sentence. Although these are not quite analogous, each one seems
148 The location of the cursor in the text is also called "point". To
149 paraphrase, the cursor shows on the screen where point is located in
150 the text.
152 Here is a summary of simple cursor-moving operations, including the
153 word and sentence moving commands:
155 C-f Move forward a character
156 C-b Move backward a character
158 M-f Move forward a word
159 M-b Move backward a word
161 C-n Move to next line
162 C-p Move to previous line
164 C-a Move to beginning of line
165 C-e Move to end of line
167 M-a Move back to beginning of sentence
168 M-e Move forward to end of sentence
170 >> Try all of these commands now a few times for practice.
171 These are the most often used commands.
173 Two other important cursor motion commands are M-< (META Less-than),
174 which moves to the beginning of the whole text, and M-> (META
175 Greater-than), which moves to the end of the whole text.
177 On most terminals, the "<" is above the comma, so you must use the
178 shift key to type it. On these terminals you must use the shift key
179 to type M-< also; without the shift key, you would be typing M-comma.
181 >> Try M-< now, to move to the beginning of the tutorial.
182 Then use C-v repeatedly to move back here.
184 >> Try M-> now, to move to the end of the tutorial.
185 Then use M-v repeatedly to move back here.
187 You can also move the cursor with the arrow keys, if your terminal has
188 arrow keys. We recommend learning C-b, C-f, C-n and C-p for three
189 reasons. First, they work on all kinds of terminals. Second, once
190 you gain practice at using Emacs, you will find that typing these Control
191 characters is faster than typing the arrow keys (because you do not
192 have to move your hands away from touch-typing position). Third, once
193 you form the habit of using these Control character commands, you can
194 easily learn to use other advanced cursor motion commands as well.
196 Most Emacs commands accept a numeric argument; for most commands, this
197 serves as a repeat-count. The way you give a command a repeat count
198 is by typing C-u and then the digits before you type the command. If
199 you have a META (or EDIT or ALT) key, there is another, alternative way
200 to enter a numeric argument: type the digits while holding down the
201 META key. We recommend learning the C-u method because it works on
202 any terminal. The numeric argument is also called a "prefix argument",
203 because you type the argument before the command it applies to.
205 For instance, C-u 8 C-f moves forward eight characters.
207 >> Try using C-n or C-p with a numeric argument, to move the cursor
208 to a line near this one with just one command.
210 Most commands use the numeric argument as a repeat count, but some
211 commands use it in some other way. Several commands (but none of
212 those you have learned so far) use it as a flag--the presence of a
213 prefix argument, regardless of its value, makes the command do
214 something different.
216 C-v and M-v are another kind of exception. When given an argument,
217 they scroll the text up or down by that many lines, rather than by a
218 screenful. For example, C-u 8 C-v scrolls by 8 lines.
220 >> Try typing C-u 8 C-v now.
222 This should have scrolled the text up by 8 lines. If you would like
223 to scroll it down again, you can give an argument to M-v.
225 If you are using a graphical display, such as X or MS-Windows, there
226 should be a tall rectangular area called a scroll bar on one side of
227 the Emacs window. You can scroll the text by clicking the mouse in
228 the scroll bar.
230 If your mouse has a wheel button, you can also use this to scroll.
233 * IF EMACS STOPS RESPONDING
236 If Emacs stops responding to your commands, you can stop it safely by
237 typing C-g. You can use C-g to stop a command which is taking too
238 long to execute.
240 You can also use C-g to discard a numeric argument or the beginning of
241 a command that you do not want to finish.
243 >> Type C-u 100 to make a numeric argument of 100, then type C-g.
244 Now type C-f. It should move just one character, because you
245 canceled the argument with C-g.
247 If you have typed an <ESC> by mistake, you can get rid of it with a C-g.
250 * DISABLED COMMANDS
253 Some Emacs commands are "disabled" so that beginning users cannot use
254 them by accident.
256 If you type one of the disabled commands, Emacs displays a message
257 saying what the command was, and asking you whether you want to go
258 ahead and execute the command.
260 If you really want to try the command, type <SPC> (the Space bar) in
261 answer to the question. Normally, if you do not want to execute the
262 disabled command, answer the question with "n".
264 >> Type C-x C-l (which is a disabled command),
265 then type n to answer the question.
268 * WINDOWS
271 Emacs can have several "windows", each displaying its own text. We
272 will explain later on how to use multiple windows. Right now we want
273 to explain how to get rid of extra windows and go back to basic
274 one-window editing. It is simple:
276 C-x 1 One window (i.e., kill all other windows).
278 That is CONTROL-x followed by the digit 1. C-x 1 expands the window
279 which contains the cursor, to occupy the full screen. It deletes all
280 other windows.
282 >> Move the cursor to this line and type C-u 0 C-l.
283 >> Type C-h k C-f.
284 See how this window shrinks, while a new one appears
285 to display documentation on the C-f command.
287 >> Type C-x 1 and see the documentation listing window disappear.
289 There is a whole series of commands that start with CONTROL-x; many of
290 them have to do with windows, files, buffers, and related things.
291 These commands are two, three or four characters long.
294 * INSERTING AND DELETING
297 If you want to insert text, just type the text. Ordinary characters,
298 like A, 7, *, etc., are inserted as you type them. To insert a
299 Newline character, type <Return> (this is the key on the keyboard
300 which is sometimes labeled "Enter").
302 To delete the character immediately before the current cursor
303 position, type <DEL>. This is the key on the keyboard usually labeled
304 "Backspace"--the same one you normally use, outside Emacs, to delete
305 the last character typed.
307 There may also be another key on your keyboard labeled <Delete>, but
308 that's not the one we refer to as <DEL>.
310 >> Do this now--type a few characters, then delete them by
311 typing <DEL> a few times. Don't worry about this file
312 being changed; you will not alter the master tutorial.
313 This is your personal copy of it.
315 When a line of text gets too big for one line on the screen, the line
316 of text is "continued" onto a second screen line. If you're using a
317 graphical display, little curved arrows appear in the narrow spaces on
318 each side of the text area (the left and right "fringes"), to indicate
319 where a line has been continued. If you're using a text terminal, the
320 continued line is indicated by a backslash ('\') on the rightmost
321 screen column.
323 >> Insert text until you reach the right margin, and keep on inserting.
324 You'll see a continuation line appear.
326 >> Use <DEL>s to delete the text until the line fits on one screen
327 line again. The continuation line goes away.
329 You can delete a Newline character just like any other character.
330 Deleting the Newline character between two lines merges them into
331 one line. If the resulting combined line is too long to fit in the
332 screen width, it will be displayed with a continuation line.
334 >> Move the cursor to the beginning of a line and type <DEL>. This
335 merges that line with the previous line.
337 >> Type <Return> to reinsert the Newline you deleted.
339 The <Return> key is special, in that pressing it may do more than
340 just insert a Newline character. Depending on the surrounding text,
341 it may insert whitespace after the Newline character, so that when
342 you start typing on the newly created line, the text lines up with
343 that on the previous line. We call this behavior (where pressing a
344 key does more than simply inserting the relevant character) "electric".
346 >> Here is an example of <Return> being electric.
347 Type <Return> at the end of this line.
349 You should see that after inserting the Newline, Emacs inserts spaces
350 so that the cursor moves under the "T" of "Type".
352 Remember that most Emacs commands can be given a repeat count;
353 this includes text characters. Repeating a text character inserts
354 it several times.
356 >> Try that now -- type C-u 8 * to insert ********.
358 You've now learned the most basic way of typing something in
359 Emacs and correcting errors. You can delete by words or lines
360 as well. Here is a summary of the delete operations:
362 <DEL> Delete the character just before the cursor
363 C-d Delete the next character after the cursor
365 M-<DEL> Kill the word immediately before the cursor
366 M-d Kill the next word after the cursor
368 C-k Kill from the cursor position to end of line
369 M-k Kill to the end of the current sentence
371 Notice that <DEL> and C-d vs M-<DEL> and M-d extend the parallel
372 started by C-f and M-f (well, <DEL> is not really a control character,
373 but let's not worry about that). C-k and M-k are like C-e and M-e,
374 sort of, in that lines are paired with sentences.
376 You can also kill a segment of text with one uniform method. Move to
377 one end of that part, and type C-<SPC>. (<SPC> is the Space bar.)
378 Next, move the cursor to the other end of the text you intend to kill.
379 As you do this, Emacs highlights the text between the cursor and the
380 position where you typed C-<SPC>. Finally, type C-w. This kills all
381 the text between the two positions.
383 >> Move the cursor to the Y at the start of the previous paragraph.
384 >> Type C-<SPC>. Emacs should display a message "Mark set"
385 at the bottom of the screen.
386 >> Move the cursor to the n in "end", on the second line of the
388 >> Type C-w. This will kill the text starting from the Y,
389 and ending just before the n.
391 The difference between "killing" and "deleting" is that "killed" text
392 can be reinserted (at any position), whereas "deleted" things cannot
393 be reinserted in this way (you can, however, undo a deletion--see
394 below). Reinsertion of killed text is called "yanking". (Think of it
395 as yanking back, or pulling back, some text that was taken away.)
396 Generally, the commands that can remove a lot of text kill the text
397 (they are set up so that you can yank the text), while the commands
398 that remove just one character, or only remove blank lines and spaces,
399 do deletion (so you cannot yank that text). <DEL> and C-d do deletion
400 in the simplest case, with no argument. When given an argument, they
401 kill instead.
403 >> Move the cursor to the beginning of a line which is not empty.
404 Then type C-k to kill the text on that line.
405 >> Type C-k a second time. You'll see that it kills the Newline
406 which follows that line.
408 Note that a single C-k kills the contents of the line, and a second
409 C-k kills the line itself, and makes all the other lines move up. C-k
410 treats a numeric argument specially: it kills that many lines AND
411 their contents. This is not mere repetition. C-u 2 C-k kills two
412 lines and their Newlines; typing C-k twice would not do that.
414 You can yank the killed text either at the same place where it was
415 killed, or at some other place in the text you are editing, or even in
416 a different file. You can yank the same text several times; that
417 makes multiple copies of it. Some other editors call killing and
418 yanking "cutting" and "pasting" (see the Glossary in the Emacs
421 The command for yanking is C-y. It reinserts the last killed text,
422 at the current cursor position.
424 >> Try it; type C-y to yank the text back.
426 If you do several C-k's in a row, all of the killed text is saved
427 together, so that one C-y will yank all of the lines at once.
429 >> Do this now, type C-k several times.
431 Now to retrieve that killed text:
433 >> Type C-y. Then move the cursor down a few lines and type C-y
434 again. You now see how to copy some text.
436 What do you do if you have some text you want to yank back, and then
437 you kill something else? C-y would yank the more recent kill. But
438 the previous text is not lost. You can get back to it using the M-y
439 command. After you have done C-y to get the most recent kill, typing
440 M-y replaces that yanked text with the previous kill. Typing M-y
441 again and again brings in earlier and earlier kills. When you have
442 reached the text you are looking for, you do not have to do anything to
443 keep it. Just go on with your editing, leaving the yanked text where
444 it is.
446 If you M-y enough times, you come back to the starting point (the most
447 recent kill).
449 >> Kill a line, move around, kill another line.
450 Then do C-y to get back the second killed line.
451 Then do M-y and it will be replaced by the first killed line.
452 Do more M-y's and see what you get. Keep doing them until
453 the second kill line comes back, and then a few more.
454 If you like, you can try giving M-y positive and negative
458 * UNDO
461 If you make a change to the text, and then decide that it was a
462 mistake, you can undo the change with the undo command, C-/.
464 Normally, C-/ undoes the changes made by one command; if you repeat
465 C-/ several times in a row, each repetition undoes one more command.
467 But there are two exceptions: commands that do not change the text
468 don't count (this includes cursor motion commands and scrolling
469 commands), and self-inserting characters are usually handled in groups
470 of up to 20. (This is to reduce the number of C-/'s you have to type
471 to undo insertion of text.)
473 >> Kill this line with C-k, then type C-/ and it should reappear.
475 C-_ is an alternative undo command; it works exactly the same as C-/.
476 On some text terminals, typing C-/ actually sends C-_ to Emacs.
477 Alternatively, C-x u also works exactly like C-/, but is a little less
478 convenient to type.
480 A numeric argument to C-/, C-_, or C-x u acts as a repeat count.
482 You can undo deletion of text just as you can undo killing of text.
483 The distinction between killing something and deleting it affects
484 whether you can yank it with C-y; it makes no difference for undo.
487 * FILES
490 In order to make the text you edit permanent, you must put it in a
491 file. Otherwise, it will go away when you exit Emacs. In order to
492 put your text in a file, you must "find" the file before you enter the
493 text. (This is also called "visiting" the file.)
495 Finding a file means that you see the contents of the file within
496 Emacs. In many ways, it is as if you were editing the file itself.
497 However, the changes you make using Emacs do not become permanent
498 until you "save" the file. This is so you can avoid leaving a
499 half-changed file on the system when you do not want to. Even when
500 you save, Emacs leaves the original file under a changed name in case
501 you later decide that your changes were a mistake.
503 If you look near the bottom of the screen you will see a line that
504 begins with dashes, and starts with " -:--- TUTORIAL" or something
505 like that. This part of the screen normally shows the name of the
506 file that you are visiting. Right now, you are visiting your personal
507 copy of the Emacs tutorial, which is called "TUTORIAL". When you find
508 a file with Emacs, that file's name will appear in that precise spot.
510 One special thing about the command for finding a file is that you
511 have to say what file name you want. We say the command "reads an
512 argument" (in this case, the argument is the name of the file). After
513 you type the command
515 C-x C-f Find a file
517 Emacs asks you to type the file name. The file name you type appears
518 on the bottom line of the screen. The bottom line is called the
519 minibuffer when it is used for this sort of input. You can use
520 ordinary Emacs editing commands to edit the file name.
522 While you are entering the file name (or any minibuffer input),
523 you can cancel the command with C-g.
525 >> Type C-x C-f, then type C-g. This cancels the minibuffer,
526 and also cancels the C-x C-f command that was using the
527 minibuffer. So you do not find any file.
529 When you have finished entering the file name, type <Return> to
530 terminate it. The minibuffer disappears, and the C-x C-f command goes
531 to work to find the file you chose.
533 The file contents now appear on the screen, and you can edit the
534 contents. When you wish to make your changes permanent, type the
537 C-x C-s Save the file
539 This copies the text within Emacs into the file. The first time you
540 do this, Emacs renames the original file to a new name so that it is
541 not lost. The new name is made by adding "~" to the end of the
542 original file's name. When saving is finished, Emacs displays the
543 name of the file written.
545 >> Type C-x C-s TUTORIAL <Return>.
546 This should save this tutorial to a file named TUTORIAL, and show
547 "Wrote ...TUTORIAL" at the bottom of the screen.
549 You can find an existing file, to view it or edit it. You can also
550 find a file which does not already exist. This is the way to create a
551 file with Emacs: find the file, which starts out empty, and then begin
552 inserting the text for the file. When you ask to "save" the file,
553 Emacs actually creates the file with the text that you have inserted.
554 From then on, you can consider yourself to be editing an already
555 existing file.
558 * BUFFERS
561 If you find a second file with C-x C-f, the first file remains
562 inside Emacs. You can switch back to it by finding it again with
563 C-x C-f. This way you can get quite a number of files inside Emacs.
565 Emacs stores each file's text inside an object called a "buffer".
566 Finding a file makes a new buffer inside Emacs. To see a list of the
567 buffers that currently exist, type
569 C-x C-b List buffers
571 >> Try C-x C-b now.
573 See how each buffer has a name, and it may also have a file name for
574 the file whose contents it holds. ANY text you see in an Emacs window
575 is always part of some buffer.
577 >> Type C-x 1 to get rid of the buffer list.
579 When you have several buffers, only one of them is "current" at any
580 time. That buffer is the one you edit. If you want to edit another
581 buffer, you need to "switch" to it. If you want to switch to a buffer
582 that corresponds to a file, you can do it by visiting the file again
583 with C-x C-f. But there is an easier way: use the C-x b command.
584 In that command, you have to type the buffer's name.
586 >> Create a file named "foo" by typing C-x C-f foo <Return>.
587 Then type C-x b TUTORIAL <Return> to come back to this tutorial.
589 Most of the time, the buffer's name is the same as the file name
590 (without the file directory part). However, this is not always true.
591 The buffer list you make with C-x C-b shows you both the buffer name
592 and the file name of every buffer.
594 Some buffers do not correspond to files. The buffer named
595 "*Buffer List*", which contains the buffer list that you made with
596 C-x C-b, does not have any file. This TUTORIAL buffer initially did
597 not have a file, but now it does, because in the previous section you
598 typed C-x C-s and saved it to a file.
600 The buffer named "*Messages*" also does not correspond to any file.
601 This buffer contains the messages that have appeared on the bottom
602 line during your Emacs session.
604 >> Type C-x b *Messages* <Return> to look at the buffer of messages.
605 Then type C-x b TUTORIAL <Return> to come back to this tutorial.
607 If you make changes to the text of one file, then find another file,
608 this does not save the first file. Its changes remain inside Emacs,
609 in that file's buffer. The creation or editing of the second file's
610 buffer has no effect on the first file's buffer. This is very useful,
611 but it also means that you need a convenient way to save the first
612 file's buffer. Having to switch back to that buffer, in order to save
613 it with C-x C-s, would be a nuisance. So we have
615 C-x s Save some buffers
617 C-x s asks you about each buffer which contains changes that you have
618 not saved. It asks you, for each such buffer, whether to save the
621 >> Insert a line of text, then type C-x s.
622 It should ask you whether to save the buffer named TUTORIAL.
623 Answer yes to the question by typing "y".
626 * EXTENDING THE COMMAND SET
629 There are many, many more Emacs commands than could possibly be put
630 on all the control and meta characters. Emacs gets around this with
631 the X (eXtend) command. This comes in two flavors:
633 C-x Character eXtend. Followed by one character.
634 M-x Named command eXtend. Followed by a long name.
636 These are commands that are generally useful but are used less than the
637 commands you have already learned about. You have already seen a few
638 of them: the file commands C-x C-f to Find and C-x C-s to Save, for
639 example. Another example is the command to end the Emacs
640 session--this is the command C-x C-c. (Do not worry about losing
641 changes you have made; C-x C-c offers to save each changed file before
642 it kills Emacs.)
644 If you are using a graphical display, you don't need any special
645 command to move from Emacs to another application. You can do this
646 with the mouse or with window manager commands. However, if you're
647 using a text terminal which can only show one application at a time,
648 you need to "suspend" Emacs to move to any other application.
650 C-z is the command to exit Emacs *temporarily*--so that you can go
651 back to the same Emacs session afterward. When Emacs is running on a
652 text terminal, C-z "suspends" Emacs; that is, it returns to the shell
653 but does not destroy the Emacs job. In the most common shells, you
654 can resume Emacs with the "fg" command or with "%emacs".
656 The time to use C-x C-c is when you are about to log out. It's also
657 the right thing to use to exit an Emacs invoked for a quick edit, such
658 as by a mail handling utility.
660 There are many C-x commands. Here is a list of the ones you have learned:
662 C-x C-f Find file
663 C-x C-s Save file
664 C-x s Save some buffers
665 C-x C-b List buffers
666 C-x b Switch buffer
667 C-x C-c Quit Emacs
668 C-x 1 Delete all but one window
669 C-x u Undo
671 Named eXtended commands are commands which are used even less
672 frequently, or commands which are used only in certain modes. An
673 example is the command replace-string, which replaces one string with
674 another in the buffer. When you type M-x, Emacs prompts you at the
675 bottom of the screen with M-x and you should type the name of the
676 command; in this case, "replace-string". Just type "repl s<TAB>" and
677 Emacs will complete the name. (<TAB> is the Tab key, usually found
678 above the CapsLock or Shift key near the left edge of the keyboard.)
679 Submit the command name with <Return>.
681 The replace-string command requires two arguments--the string to be
682 replaced, and the string to replace it with. You must end each
683 argument with <Return>.
685 >> Move the cursor to the blank line two lines below this one.
686 Then type M-x repl s<Return>changed<Return>altered<Return>.
688 Notice how this line has changed: you've replaced the word
689 "changed" with "altered" wherever it occurred, after the
690 initial position of the cursor.
693 * AUTO SAVE
696 When you have made changes in a file, but you have not saved them yet,
697 they could be lost if your computer crashes. To protect you from
698 this, Emacs periodically writes an "auto save" file for each file that
699 you are editing. The auto save file name has a # at the beginning and
700 the end; for example, if your file is named "hello.c", its auto save
701 file's name is "#hello.c#". When you save the file in the normal way,
702 Emacs deletes its auto save file.
704 If the computer crashes, you can recover your auto-saved editing by
705 finding the file normally (the file you were editing, not the auto
706 save file) and then typing M-x recover-this-file <Return>. When it
707 asks fo confirmation, type yes<Return> to go ahead and recover the
708 auto-save data.
711 * ECHO AREA
714 If Emacs sees that you are typing multicharacter commands slowly, it
715 shows them to you at the bottom of the screen in an area called the
716 "echo area". The echo area contains the bottom line of the screen.
719 * MODE LINE
722 The line immediately above the echo area is called the "mode line".
723 The mode line says something like this:
725 -:**- TUTORIAL 63% L749 (Fundamental)
727 This line gives useful information about the status of Emacs and
728 the text you are editing.
730 You already know what the filename means--it is the file you have
731 found. NN% indicates your current position in the buffer text; it
732 means that NN percent of the buffer is above the top of the screen.
733 If the top of the buffer is on the screen, it will say "Top" instead
734 of " 0%". If the bottom of the buffer is on the screen, it will say
735 "Bot". If you are looking at a buffer so small that all of it fits on
736 the screen, the mode line says "All".
738 The L and digits indicate position in another way: they give the
739 current line number of point.
741 The stars near the front mean that you have made changes to the text.
742 Right after you visit or save a file, that part of the mode line shows
743 no stars, just dashes.
745 The part of the mode line inside the parentheses is to tell you what
746 editing modes you are in. The default mode is Fundamental which is
747 what you are using now. It is an example of a "major mode".
749 Emacs has many different major modes. Some of them are meant for
750 editing different languages and/or kinds of text, such as Lisp mode,
751 Text mode, etc. At any time one and only one major mode is active,
752 and its name can always be found in the mode line just where
753 "Fundamental" is now.
755 Each major mode makes a few commands behave differently. For example,
756 there are commands for creating comments in a program, and since each
757 programming language has a different idea of what a comment should
758 look like, each major mode has to insert comments differently. Each
759 major mode is the name of an extended command, which is how you can
760 switch to that mode. For example, M-x fundamental-mode is a command to
761 switch to Fundamental mode.
763 If you are going to be editing human-language text, such as this file, you
764 should probably use Text Mode.
766 >> Type M-x text-mode <Return>.
768 Don't worry, none of the Emacs commands you have learned changes in
769 any great way. But you can observe that M-f and M-b now treat
770 apostrophes as part of words. Previously, in Fundamental mode,
771 M-f and M-b treated apostrophes as word-separators.
773 Major modes usually make subtle changes like that one: most commands
774 do "the same job" in each major mode, but they work a little bit
777 To view documentation on your current major mode, type C-h m.
779 >> Move the cursor to the line following this line.
780 >> Type C-l C-l to bring this line to the top of screen.
781 >> Type C-h m, to see how Text mode differs from Fundamental mode.
782 >> Type C-x 1 to remove the documentation from the screen.
784 Major modes are called major because there are also minor modes.
785 Minor modes are not alternatives to the major modes, just minor
786 modifications of them. Each minor mode can be turned on or off by
787 itself, independent of all other minor modes, and independent of your
788 major mode. So you can use no minor modes, or one minor mode, or any
789 combination of several minor modes.
791 One minor mode which is very useful, especially for editing
792 human-language text, is Auto Fill mode. When this mode is on, Emacs
793 breaks the line in between words automatically whenever you insert
794 text and make a line that is too wide.
796 You can turn Auto Fill mode on by doing M-x auto-fill-mode <Return>.
797 When the mode is on, you can turn it off again by doing
798 M-x auto-fill-mode <Return>. If the mode is off, this command turns
799 it on, and if the mode is on, this command turns it off. We say that
800 the command "toggles the mode".
802 >> Type M-x auto-fill-mode <Return> now. Then insert a line of "asdf "
803 over again until you see it divide into two lines. You must put in
804 spaces between them because Auto Fill breaks lines only at spaces.
806 The margin is usually set at 70 characters, but you can change it
807 with the C-x f command. You should give the margin setting you want
808 as a numeric argument.
810 >> Type C-x f with an argument of 20. (C-u 2 0 C-x f).
811 Then type in some text and see Emacs fill lines of 20
812 characters with it. Then set the margin back to 70 using
813 C-x f again.
815 If you make changes in the middle of a paragraph, Auto Fill mode
816 does not re-fill it for you.
817 To re-fill the paragraph, type M-q (META-q) with the cursor inside
818 that paragraph.
820 >> Move the cursor into the previous paragraph and type M-q.
823 * SEARCHING
826 Emacs can do searches for strings (a "string" is a group of contiguous
827 characters) either forward through the text or backward through it.
828 Searching for a string is a cursor motion command; it moves the cursor
829 to the next place where that string appears.
831 The Emacs search command is "incremental". This means that the
832 search happens while you type in the string to search for.
834 The command to initiate a search is C-s for forward search, and C-r
835 for reverse search. BUT WAIT! Don't try them now.
837 When you type C-s you'll notice that the string "I-search" appears as
838 a prompt in the echo area. This tells you that Emacs is in what is
839 called an incremental search waiting for you to type the thing that
840 you want to search for. <Return> terminates a search.
842 >> Now type C-s to start a search. SLOWLY, one letter at a time,
843 type the word "cursor", pausing after you type each
844 character to notice what happens to the cursor.
845 Now you have searched for "cursor", once.
846 >> Type C-s again, to search for the next occurrence of "cursor".
847 >> Now type <DEL> four times and see how the cursor moves.
848 >> Type <Return> to terminate the search.
850 Did you see what happened? Emacs, in an incremental search, tries to
851 go to the occurrence of the string that you've typed out so far. To
852 go to the next occurrence of "cursor" just type C-s again. If no such
853 occurrence exists, Emacs beeps and tells you the search is currently
854 "failing". C-g would also terminate the search.
856 If you are in the middle of an incremental search and type <DEL>, the
857 search "retreats" to an earlier location. If you type <DEL> just
858 after you had typed C-s to advance to the next occurrence of a search
859 string, the <DEL> moves the cursor back to an earlier occurrence. If
860 there are no earlier occurrences, the <DEL> erases the last character
861 in the search string. For instance, suppose you have typed "c", to
862 search for the first occurrence of "c". Now if you type "u", the
863 cursor will move to the first occurrence of "cu". Now type <DEL>.
864 This erases the "u" from the search string, and the cursor moves back
865 to the first occurrence of "c".
867 If you are in the middle of a search and type a control or meta
868 character (with a few exceptions--characters that are special in a
869 search, such as C-s and C-r), the search is terminated.
871 C-s starts a search that looks for any occurrence of the search string
872 AFTER the current cursor position. If you want to search for
873 something earlier in the text, type C-r instead. Everything that we
874 have said about C-s also applies to C-r, except that the direction of
875 the search is reversed.
878 * MULTIPLE WINDOWS
881 One of the nice features of Emacs is that you can display more than
882 one window on the screen at the same time. (Note that Emacs uses the
883 term "frames"--described in the next section--for what some other
884 applications call "windows". The Emacs manual contains a Glossary of
885 Emacs terms.)
887 >> Move the cursor to this line and type C-l C-l.
889 >> Now type C-x 2 which splits the screen into two windows.
890 Both windows display this tutorial. The editing cursor stays in
891 the top window.
893 >> Type C-M-v to scroll the bottom window.
894 (If you do not have a real META key, type <ESC> C-v.)
896 >> Type C-x o ("o" for "other") to move the cursor to the bottom window.
897 >> Use C-v and M-v in the bottom window to scroll it.
898 Keep reading these directions in the top window.
900 >> Type C-x o again to move the cursor back to the top window.
901 The cursor in the top window is just where it was before.
903 You can keep using C-x o to switch between the windows. The "selected
904 window", where most editing takes place, is the one with a prominent
905 cursor which blinks when you are not typing. The other windows have
906 their own cursor positions; if you are running Emacs in a graphical
907 display, those cursors are drawn as unblinking hollow boxes.
909 The command C-M-v is very useful when you are editing text in one
910 window and using the other window just for reference. Without leaving
911 the selected window, you can scroll the text in the other window with
914 C-M-v is an example of a CONTROL-META character. If you have a META
915 (or Alt) key, you can type C-M-v by holding down both CONTROL and META
916 while typing v. It does not matter whether CONTROL or META "comes
917 first," as both of these keys act by modifying the characters you
920 If you do not have a META key, and you use <ESC> instead, the order
921 does matter: you must type <ESC> followed by CONTROL-v, because
922 CONTROL-<ESC> v will not work. This is because <ESC> is a character
923 in its own right, not a modifier key.
925 >> Type C-x 1 (in the top window) to get rid of the bottom window.
927 (If you had typed C-x 1 in the bottom window, that would get rid
928 of the top one. Think of this command as "Keep just one
929 window--the window I am already in.")
931 You do not have to display the same buffer in both windows. If you
932 use C-x C-f to find a file in one window, the other window does not
933 change. You can find a file in each window independently.
935 Here is another way to use two windows to display two different things:
937 >> Type C-x 4 C-f followed by the name of one of your files.
938 End with <Return>. See the specified file appear in the bottom
939 window. The cursor goes there, too.
941 >> Type C-x o to go back to the top window, and C-x 1 to delete
942 the bottom window.
945 * MULTIPLE FRAMES
948 Emacs can also create multiple "frames". A frame is what we call one
949 collection of windows, together with its menus, scroll bars, echo
950 area, etc. On graphical displays, what Emacs calls a "frame" is what
951 most other applications call a "window". Multiple graphical frames
952 can be shown on the screen at the same time. On a text terminal, only
953 one frame can be shown at a time.
955 >> Type C-x 5 2.
956 See a new frame appear on your screen.
958 You can do everything you did in the original frame in the new frame.
959 There is nothing special about the first frame.
961 >> Type C-x 5 0.
962 This removes the selected frame.
964 You can also remove a frame by using the normal method provided by the
965 graphical system (often clicking a button with an "X" at a top corner
966 of the frame). If you remove the Emacs job's last frame this way,
967 that exits Emacs.
970 * RECURSIVE EDITING LEVELS
973 Sometimes you will get into what is called a "recursive editing
974 level". This is indicated by square brackets in the mode line,
975 surrounding the parentheses around the major mode name. For
976 example, you might see [(Fundamental)] instead of (Fundamental).
978 To get out of the recursive editing level, type <ESC> <ESC> <ESC>.
979 That is an all-purpose "get out" command. You can also use it for
980 eliminating extra windows, and getting out of the minibuffer.
982 >> Type M-x to get into a minibuffer; then type <ESC> <ESC> <ESC> to
983 get out.
985 You cannot use C-g to get out of a recursive editing level. This is
986 because C-g is used for canceling commands and arguments WITHIN the
987 recursive editing level.
990 * GETTING MORE HELP
993 In this tutorial we have tried to supply just enough information to
994 get you started using Emacs. There is so much available in Emacs that
995 it would be impossible to explain it all here. However, you may want
996 to learn more about Emacs since it has many other useful features.
997 Emacs provides commands for reading documentation about Emacs
998 commands. These "help" commands all start with the character
999 CONTROL-h, which is called "the Help character".
1001 To use the Help features, type the C-h character, and then a
1002 character saying what kind of help you want. If you are REALLY lost,
1003 type C-h ? and Emacs will tell you what kinds of help it can give.
1004 If you have typed C-h and decide you do not want any help, just
1005 type C-g to cancel it.
1007 (If C-h does not display a message about help at the bottom of the
1008 screen, try typing the F1 key or M-x help <Return> instead.)
1010 The most basic HELP feature is C-h c. Type C-h, the character c, and
1011 a command character or sequence; then Emacs displays a very brief
1012 description of the command.
1014 >> Type C-h c C-p.
1016 The message should be something like this:
1018 C-p runs the command previous-line
1020 This tells you the "name of the function". Since function names
1021 are chosen to indicate what the command does, they can serve as
1022 very brief documentation--sufficient to remind you of commands you
1023 have already learned.
1025 Multi-character commands such as C-x C-s and <ESC>v (instead of M-v,
1026 if you have no META or EDIT or ALT key) are also allowed after C-h c.
1028 To get more information about a command, use C-h k instead of C-h c.
1030 >> Type C-h k C-p.
1032 This displays the documentation of the function, as well as its name,
1033 in an Emacs window. When you are finished reading the output, type
1034 C-x 1 to get rid of that window. You do not have to do this right
1035 away. You can do some editing while referring to the help text, and
1036 then type C-x 1.
1038 Here are some other useful C-h options:
1040 C-h f Describe a function. You type in the name of the
1043 >> Try typing C-h f previous-line <Return>.
1044 This displays all the information Emacs has about the
1045 function which implements the C-p command.
1047 A similar command C-h v displays the documentation of variables,
1048 including those whose values you can set to customize Emacs behavior.
1049 You need to type in the name of the variable when Emacs prompts for it.
1051 C-h a Command Apropos. Type in a keyword and Emacs will list
1052 all the commands whose names contain that keyword.
1053 These commands can all be invoked with META-x.
1054 For some commands, Command Apropos will also list a
1055 sequence of one or more characters which runs the same
1058 >> Type C-h a file <Return>.
1060 This displays in another window a list of all M-x commands with "file"
1061 in their names. You will see character-commands listed beside the
1062 corresponding command names (such as C-x C-f beside find-file).
1064 >> Type C-M-v to scroll the help window. Do this a few times.
1066 >> Type C-x 1 to delete the help window.
1068 C-h i Read included Manuals (a.k.a. Info). This command puts
1069 you into a special buffer called "*info*" where you
1070 can read manuals for the packages installed on your system.
1071 Type m emacs <Return> to read the Emacs manual.
1072 If you have never before used Info, type h and Emacs
1073 will take you on a guided tour of Info mode facilities.
1074 Once you are through with this tutorial, you should
1075 consult the Emacs Info manual as your primary documentation.
1078 * MORE FEATURES
1081 You can learn more about Emacs by reading its manual, either as a
1082 printed book, or inside Emacs (use the Help menu or type C-h r).
1083 Two features that you may like especially are completion, which saves
1084 typing, and dired, which simplifies file handling.
1086 Completion is a way to avoid unnecessary typing. For instance, if you
1087 want to switch to the *Messages* buffer, you can type C-x b *M<Tab>
1088 and Emacs will fill in the rest of the buffer name as far as it can
1089 determine from what you have already typed. Completion also works for
1090 command names and file names. Completion is described in the Emacs
1091 manual in the node called "Completion".
1093 Dired enables you to list files in a directory (and optionally its
1094 subdirectories), move around that list, visit, rename, delete and
1095 otherwise operate on the files. Dired is described in the Emacs
1096 manual in the node called "Dired".
1098 The manual also describes many other Emacs features.
1101 * CONCLUSION
1104 To exit Emacs use C-x C-c.
1106 This tutorial is meant to be understandable to all new users, so if
1107 you found something unclear, don't sit and blame yourself - complain!
1110 * COPYING
1113 This tutorial descends from a long line of Emacs tutorials
1114 starting with the one written by Stuart Cracraft for the original Emacs.
1116 This version of the tutorial is a part of GNU Emacs. It is copyrighted
1117 and comes with permission to distribute copies on certain conditions:
1119 Copyright (C) 1985, 1996, 1998, 2001-2018 Free Software Foundation,
1122 This file is part of GNU Emacs.
1124 GNU Emacs is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
1125 it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
1126 the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
1127 (at your option) any later version.
1129 GNU Emacs is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
1130 but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
1131 MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the
1132 GNU General Public License for more details.
1134 You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
1135 along with GNU Emacs. If not, see <https://www.gnu.org/licenses/>.
1137 Please read the file COPYING and then do give copies of GNU Emacs to
1138 your friends. Help stamp out software obstructionism ("ownership") by
1139 using, writing, and sharing free software!