Practical Emacs Tutorial

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By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This tutorial is designed for writers, scientists, engineers, to get started on emacs quickly. Each page teaches you something practical you can use right away. No emacs jargons. No need programing experience.

Quick Start

  1. Where to Download?
  2. Emacs First Day
  3. Fun with Emacs
  4. Emacs Keys
  5. Advanced Tips
  6. Less-known Tips
  7. Emacs Windows FAQ
  8. Make Emacs Use Modern UI

More at Practical Emacs Panel Index

About This Tutorial

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If you were to spend 3 months reading 3 emacs books, it is more efficient to just read Xah Emacs Tutorial for just 1 month. Xah tutorial focus on actually using emacs in practice, and on efficiency of using emacs, as well as efficiency of learning.

  1. This tutorial skips the emacs parts that are rarely used. Every single one thousand emacs C-x commands are looked, the practical ones are presented to you.
  2. The writing style is concrete, and example based. No story telling, no joke, just what you need to know to use emacs in the most efficient way.
  3. This tutorial does not force emacs jargons and emacs hacker methods. If you are new to emacs, you will understand it. If you are old time hacker, you will improve your efficiency of using emacs.
  4. This tutorial covers emacs lisp, more extensive than any existing book-length tutorial. A little elisp makes you a far better emacs user and understanding emacs. 〔►see Practical Emacs Lisp
  5. There are more examples and elisp code in Xah Emacs Tutorial than all existing emacs books combined. You do not need to read it all, but any time spent reading this tutorial, you'll learn more useful things than same amount of time spent elsewhere.

The author lives in emacs since 1999. And has been writing emacs tutorial since 2006.

If you have a question, leave a comment at the bottom of the page you are reading.

For experienced emacs users or programers, see Practical Emacs Lisp. Knowing a little elisp goes a long way.


from Sacha and Marie emacs tutorial review 2014

Thank YOU for your fantastic resource. I've been an emacs user for 28 years, and I've learned countless things from your tutorials.

I've used Emacs since 1986. Thanks for making such interesting remarks with history and pictures and so forth. In addition, you're right! —NN

;;; coffee-mode.el --- Major mode to edit CoffeeScript files in Emacs
;; Major thanks to
;; the instructions.

Chris Wanstrath (co-founder of Github) At

Thank you guys. Testimonial on Xah's Emacs Tutorial

Buy my tutorial to support the site. Thank you. 〔►see Buy Xah Emacs Tutorial

Like it? Buy Xah Emacs Tutorial. Thanks.