This blog started out as a weekly emacs tip sent to the
firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list. The tips are aimed at people who have learned the basics of emacs (i.e. moving around, opening, editing, saving files) and are starting to explore how to do more than basic editing.
I am not a lisp programmer, and these tips are not intended to give any particular insight into the inner workings of emacs. My aim is to give short practical tips that might make your use of emacs that bit more efficient and/or fun.
If you want a more complete overview and introduction to emacs, there are many great resources online like this tutorial, or of course the built-in emacs tutorial (
A new tip will be added each week, and I’ll also add a tip from the mailing list archive (available here). Most of the tips should work for a standard emacs installation, but some may require additional packages. My recommended emacs configuration is described here, and is basically emacs with the excellent prelude configuration.
I use the standard emacs notation for commands, so
C-x C-s means hold control and press
C-x s means hold control and press
x then release control and press
M- means the meta key (generally the ALT key),
ESC mean space, return, and escape respectively.