In this lesson, we will introduce the Emacs editor. Emacs like vi is a powerful editor. Some people prefer vi, others prefer Emacs.

Emacs editor

To edit a file with Emacs , run emacs [file], the file is the file name that you wish to edit.

When you look at the Emacs documentation, you will see C-<char> , this means to hold down the Ctrl key while pressing that <character>. For example, C-h means to hold down the Ctrl + h.

When you see the M-<char> "Meta" key ( This is Alt key ) while pressing that <character>.

Documentation Keys Meaning
C-h Ctrl + h Help
C-x C-c Ctrl + x followed by Ctrl + c Exit
C-x C-s Ctrl + x followed by Ctrl + s Save the file
C-h t Ctrl + h followed by t Built-in tutorial
C-h k <key> Ctrl + h followed by k <key> The help on key

Emacs Navigation

In Documentation Keys Meaning
C-p Ctrl + p Previous line
C-n Ctrl + n Next line
C-b Ctrl + b Backward one character
C-f Ctrl + f Forward one character
M-f Alt + f Forward one word
M-b Alt + b Backward one word
C-a Ctrl + a Go to the beginning of the line
C-e Ctrl + e Go to the end of the line
M-< Alt + < Go to the beginning of the file
M-> Alt + > Go to the end of the file

Emacs - Deleting Text

In Documentation Keys Meaning
C-d Ctrl + d Delete a character
M-d Alt + d Delete a word

Emacs - Copying, Pasting, and Undo

In Documentation Keys Meaning
C-k Ctrl + k Kill (cut)
C-y Ctrl + y Yank (paste)
C-x u Ctrl + x followed by u Undo

Emacs - Searching

In Documentation Keys Meaning
C-s Ctrl + s Start a forward search
C-r Ctrl + r Start a reverse search

Emacs - Repeating Commands

Like vi Emacs provides a way to repeat Commands.

In Documentation Keys Meaning
C-u N <command> Ctrl + u followed by N <command> Repeat <command> N times.

For example, to kill three lines of text, enter Ctrl + u followed by 3 followed by Ctrl + k.