emacs—GNU project emacs

emacs [ command-line switches ] [ files … ]

GNU emacs is a version of emacs, written by the author of the original (PDP-10) emacs, Richard Stallman.

The primary documentation of GNU emacs is in the GNU Emacs Manual, which you can read online using info, a subsystem of emacs. Please look there for complete and up-to-date documentation. This man page is updated only when someone volunteers to do so; the emacs maintainers’ priority goal is to minimize the amount of time this man page takes away from other more useful projects.

The user functionality of GNU emacs encompasses everything other emacs editors do, and it is easily extensible since its editing commands are written in Lisp.

emacs has an extensive interactive help facility, but the facility assumes that you know how to manipulate emacs windows and buffers. Ctrl+h (backspace or Ctrl+h) enters the Help facility. Help Tutorial (Ctrl+h t) requests an interactive tutorial that can teach beginners the fundamentals of emacs in a few minutes. Help Apropos (Ctrl+h a) helps you find a command given its functionality, Help Character (Ctrl+h c) describes a given character’s effect, and Help Function (Ctrl+h f) describes a given Lisp function specified by name.

emacs’s Undo can undo several steps of modification to your buffers, so it is easy to recover from editing mistakes. GNU emacs’s many special packages handle mail reading (RMail) and sending (Mail), outline editing (Outline), compiling (Compile), running subshells within emacs windows (Shell), running a Lisp read-eval-print loop (Lisp-Interaction-Mode), and automated psychotherapy (Doctor).

There is an extensive reference manual, but users of other emacses should have little trouble adapting even without a copy. Users new to emacs will be able to use basic features fairly rapidly by studying the tutorial and using the self-documentation features.

The following options are of general interest:

file Edit file.
+number Go to the line specified by number (do not insert a space between the + sign and the number).
–q Do not load an init file.
–u user Load user’s init file.
–t file Use specified file as the terminal instead of using stdin/stdout. This must be the first argument specified in the command line.

The following options are Lisp-oriented (these options are processed in the order encountered):

–f function Execute the Lisp function function.
–l file Load the Lisp code in the file file.

The following options are useful when running emacs as a batch editor:

–batch Edit in batch mode. The editor will send messages to stdout. This option must be the first in the argument list. You must use -l and -f options to specify files to execute and functions to call.
–kill  Exit emacs while in batch mode.

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