ErgoEmacs Features

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This page lists the main features of ErgoEmacs.

Note: this page is outdated. The outline remains the same, but details may be inaccurate. For any questions, please post to


ErgoEmacs is a emacs distribution based on GNU Emacs, so it has ALL the features of emacs.

For a introduction of what emacs can do, see:

Difference From GNU Emacs

ErgoEmacs improves GNU Emacs for people who did not grew up with emacs. User interface is based on common modern software interface familiar to most people today, such as using 【Ctrl+C】 key for Copy, 【Ctrl+Z】 for undo, 【Ctrl+O】 for Open file, and also bundles many elisp packages that are not in GNU Emacs.

Here is a list of major differences and additions.

Standard Keyboard Shortcuts

Common keyboard shortcut are supported, so you don't have to change your mindset when you switch in and out of emacs. The following are supported standard keys in Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. (Mac uses ⌘ Cmd instead of Ctrl.)

Standard Shortcuts
Standard nameKey pressEmacs command name
RedoCtrl+y】 or 【Ctrl+⇧ Shift+zredo
Standard Shortcuts
Standard nameKey pressEmacs command name
Open New FileCtrl+nergoemacs-new-empty-buffer
Save AsCtrl+⇧ Shift+swrite-file
Select AllCtrl+amark-whole-buffer

Standard shortcuts for cursor navigation are also supported. Example:

Fast Shortcuts For Text Editing

In addition to standard keyboard shortcuts, ErgoEmacs's shortcut set is based on Ergonomics. That is, most frequently used commands are given easy keys. This makes it easier and faster for editing text, and avoid Repetitive strain injury.

ergonomic emacs layout qwerty 5.3.4
ErgoEmacs Shortcut Keys

18 keyboard layouts are supported, including {UK, German, French, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Spanish, Persian} and efficient layouts {Dvorak, Colemak, Workman, PT Nativo (Spanish), Programmer Dvorak, BÉPO (French)}.

For detail, see: ErgoEmacs Keybinding.

Simplified Menu

The graphical menu is simplied. Menu items that are rarely used or confusing are removed. Useful commands now has a menu representation. For example, you can choose a Language Mode in the menu 〖File‣Language Modes〗 for a glance of supported language modes.

Bundled Packages

Extra Language Modes

The following language modes are added to existing modes in GNU Emacs.

All these are listed in the menu 〖File‣Language Modes〗, so you can easily activate them without needing to know the command names. File names with proper extension will automatically open in the right mode.

Additional Conveniences

Major Improvements For Windows Platform

ErgoEmacs actively support the Microsoft Windows platform. For Windows users, you don't need to spend hours to look for packages or make things work that works in Emacs on Linux. Here's a list of additions that ErgoEmacs support on Windows, out of the box:

Misc Features

Many extra little additions and default settings over the rough edges of GNU Emacs. They include:

For detail on many more misc improvements, see: Emacs Modernization.


ErgoEmacs's look and feel is like GNU Emacs. ErgoEmacs works well in terminal emulators such as PuTTY on Windows, xterm on Linux, Terminal App in Mac OS X.

Emacs's power as a system that interfaces OS's shell, and “dired” as a file management system, as a ftp client, as a irc client, as system admin center, are all integral part of ErgoEmacs.

ErgoEmacs does not add any extra addition that encourages Graphics User Interface. For example, there's no extra pop-up dialogues or forcing users to use the mouse.

If you use Windows's Notepad, you can use ErgoEmacs out of the box, without needing to learn any new keyboard shortcuts. If you have experience with emacs, you may find many added advantages saving you time, especially on Windows.

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