EMACS 1 "1995 December 7"

Table of contents


emacs - GNU project Emacs


emacs [ command-line ] [ files ]


GNU 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 on line 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 which 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 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:

Edit file.
Go to the line specified by number (do not insert a space between the "+" sign and the number).
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:
Edit in batch mode. The editor will send messages to stderr. 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.
Exit Emacs while in batch mode.


Emacs has been tailored to work well with the X window system. If you run Emacs from under X windows, it will create its own X window to display in. You will probably want to start the editor as a background process so that you can continue using your original window.

Emacs can be started with the following X switches:

-name name
Specifies the name which should be assigned to the initial Emacs window. This controls looking up X resources as well as the window title.
-title name
Specifies the title for the initial X window.
Display the Emacs window in reverse video.
Use the "kitchen sink" bitmap icon when iconifying the Emacs window.
-font font, -fn font
Set the Emacs window's font to that specified by font. You will find the various X fonts in the /usr/lib/X11/fonts directory. Note that Emacs will only accept fixed width fonts. Under the X11 Release 4 font-naming conventions, any font with the value "m" or "c" in the eleventh field of the font name is a fixed width font. Furthermore, fonts whose name are of the form widthxheight are generally fixed width, as is the font fixed. See xlsfonts(1) for more information. When you specify a font, be sure to put a space between the switch and the font name.
-bw pixels
Set the Emacs window's border width to the number of pixels specified by pixels. Defaults to one pixel on each side of the window.
-ib pixels
Set the window's internal border width to the number of pixels specified by pixels. Defaults to one pixel of padding on each side of the window.

-geometry geometry
Set the Emacs window's width, height, and position as specified. The geometry specification is in the standard X format; see X(1) for more information. The width and height are specified in characters; the default is 80 by 24.

-fg color
On color displays, sets the color of the text. See the file /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt for a list of valid color names.
-bg color
On color displays, sets the color of the window's background.
-bd color
On color displays, sets the color of the window's border.
-cr color
On color displays, sets the color of the window's text cursor.
-ms color
On color displays, sets the color of the window's mouse cursor.
-d displayname, -display displayname
Create the Emacs window on the display specified by displayname. Must be the first option specified in the command line.
Tells Emacs not to use its special interface to X. If you use this switch when invoking Emacs from an xterm(1) window, display is done in that window. This must be the first option specified in the command line.

You can set X default values for your Emacs windows in your \.Xresources file (see xrdb(1)). Use the following format:


where value specifies the default value of keyword. Emacs lets you set default values for the following keywords:

Sets the window's text font.
If reverseVideo's value is set to on, the window will be displayed in reverse video.
If bitmapIcon's value is set to on, the window will iconify into the "kitchen sink."
Sets the window's border width in pixels.
Sets the window's internal border width in pixels.
For color displays, sets the window's text color.
For color displays, sets the window's background color.
For color displays, sets the color of the window's border.
For color displays, sets the color of the window's text cursor.
For color displays, sets the color of the window's mouse cursor.
Sets the geometry of the Emacs window (as described above).
Sets the title of the Emacs window.
Sets the icon name for the Emacs window icon.

If you try to set color values while using a black and white display, the window's characteristics will default as follows: the foreground color will be set to black, the background color will be set to white, the border color will be set to grey, and the text and mouse cursors will be set to black.


The following lists the mouse button bindings for the Emacs window under X11. MOUSE BUTTON FUNCTION
left Set point.
middle Paste text.
right Cut text into X cut buffer.
SHIFT-middle Cut text into X cut buffer.
SHIFT-right Paste text.
CTRL-middle Cut text into X cut buffer and kill it.
CTRL-right Select this window, then split it into two windows. Same as typing CTRL-x 2.
CTRL-SHIFT-left X buffer menu--hold the buttons and keys down, wait for menu to appear, select buffer, and release. Move mouse out of menu and release to cancel.
CTRL-SHIFT-middle X help menu--pop up index card menu for Emacs help.
CTRL-SHIFT-right Select window with mouse, and delete all other windows. Same as typing CTRL-x 1.


You can order printed copies of the GNU Emacs Manual from the Free Software Foundation, which develops GNU software. See the file ORDERS for ordering information.
Your local Emacs maintainer might also have copies available. As with all software and publications from FSF, everyone is permitted to make and distribute copies of the Emacs manual. The TeX source to the manual is also included in the Emacs source distribution.


/usr/local/info - files for the Info documentation browser (a subsystem of Emacs) to refer to. Currently not much of Unix is documented here, but the complete text of the Emacs reference manual is included in a convenient tree structured form. /usr/local/share/emacs/$VERSION/src - C source files and object files /usr/local/share/emacs/$VERSION/lisp - Lisp source files and compiled files that define most editing commands. Some are preloaded; others are autoloaded from this directory when used. /usr/local/share/emacs/$VERSION/etc - various programs that are used with GNU Emacs, and some files of information. /usr/local/share/emacs/$VERSION/etc/DOC.* - contains the documentation strings for the Lisp primitives and preloaded Lisp functions of GNU Emacs. They are stored here to reduce the size of Emacs proper. /usr/local/share/emacs/$VERSION/etc/OTHER.EMACSES discusses GNU Emacs vs. other versions of Emacs.
/usr/local/share/emacs/$VERSION/etc/SERVICE lists people offering various services to assist users of GNU Emacs, including education, troubleshooting, porting and customization.
These files also have information useful to anyone wishing to write programs in the Emacs Lisp extension language, which has not yet been fully documented. /usr/local/com/emacs/lock - holds lock files that are made for all files being modified in Emacs, to prevent simultaneous modification of one file by two users. /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt - list of valid X color names.


There is a mailing list, bug-gnu-emacs@prep.ai.mit.edu on the internet (ucbvax!prep.ai.mit.edu!bug-gnu-emacs on UUCPnet), for reporting Emacs bugs and fixes. But before reporting something as a bug, please try to be sure that it really is a bug, not a misunderstanding or a deliberate feature. We ask you to read the section ``Reporting Emacs Bugs'' near the end of the reference manual (or Info system) for hints on how and when to report bugs. Also, include the version number of the Emacs you are running in every bug report that you send in. Do not expect a personal answer to a bug report. The purpose of reporting bugs is to get them fixed for everyone in the next release, if possible. For personal assistance, look in the SERVICE file (see above) for a list of people who offer it. Please do not send anything but bug reports to this mailing list. Send requests to be added to mailing lists to the special list info-gnu-emacs-request@prep.ai.mit.edu (or the corresponding UUCP address). For more information about Emacs mailing lists, see the file /usr/local/emacs/etc/MAILINGLISTS. Bugs tend actually to be fixed if they can be isolated, so it is in your interest to report them in such a way that they can be easily reproduced.

Bugs that I know about are: shell will not work with programs running in Raw mode on some Unix versions.


Emacs is free; anyone may redistribute copies of Emacs to anyone under the terms stated in the Emacs General Public License, a copy of which accompanies each copy of Emacs and which also appears in the reference manual.

Copies of Emacs may sometimes be received packaged with distributions of Unix systems, but it is never included in the scope of any license covering those systems. Such inclusion violates the terms on which distribution is permitted. In fact, the primary purpose of the General Public License is to prohibit anyone from attaching any other restrictions to redistribution of Emacs.

Richard Stallman encourages you to improve and extend Emacs, and urges that you contribute your extensions to the GNU library. Eventually GNU (Gnu's Not Unix) will be a complete replacement for Berkeley Unix. Everyone will be free to use, copy, study and change the GNU system.


X(1), xlsfonts(1), xterm(1), xrdb(1)


Emacs was written by Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation. Joachim Martillo and Robert Krawitz added the X features.


Copyright 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

This document is part of a collection distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License. If you want to distribute this document separately from the collection, you can do so by adding a copy of the license to the document, as described in section 6 of the license. A copy of the license is included in the gfdl(1) man page, and in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License" in the Emacs manual.