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 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:
The following options are lisp-oriented (these options are processed in the order encountered):
The following options are useful when running Emacs as a batch editor:
Using Emacs with X
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:
When you specify a font, be sure to put a space between the switch and the font name.
See the file /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt for a list of valid color names.
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:
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.
Using the Mouse
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
CTRL-SHIFT-right Select window with mouse, and delete all
other windows. Same as typing CTRL-x 1.
/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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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.
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.