Emacs Editor - 11 Tips For The Road To Mastery

April 14, 2011
Emacs is a very powerful text editor used by geeks the world over. Now I am not trying to fuel a Emacs vs Vi war but mastering Emacs editor will definitely make you more productive and save time, compared to doing the same tasks using a more common text editor. What is more, Emacs is available cross platform which means, no matter which operating system you use, a native version of Emacs is available for your OS.

However, mastering the use of Emacs involves a learning curve. At the least, you need to be aware of a few terminologies used, and must be prepared to change your mind set as far as text editing is concerned.

Ben Simon has put together a nice compilation of the 11 things a potential Emacs user should be aware of before he starts using the editor.

So without further ado, the following are the 11 Emacs Concepts that a newbie should master.
  1. Killing and Yanking
  2. Buffer switching
  3. Dynamic Abbreviations
  4. Parenthesis Modes
  5. Spell Checking
  6. Undo
  7. Narrowing
  8. Incremental Search
  9. Keyboard Macros
  10. Dired Mode, and 
  11. Version Control
As an aside, did you know that Emacs has built-in games ? Well, I have played Tetris in Emacs. You can accomplish so much using Emacs that some die-hard fans of Emacs call it an operating system.