Knowledge Base

Using the Emacs Text Editor

The Emacs text editor is a common editor on Unix systems, and beginning users often find it easier to learn than vi, which is found on all Unix and Unix-like systems, such as Linux. The Computer Science department recommends that students have a basic understanding of using emacs to edit text files; however, they may want to try using Vim (a more powerful variant of vi).  Both Vim and Emacs are powerful text editors; though it is universally agreed that Vim is harder to learn at first, but a skilled Vim user can edit text faster than a skilled Emacs user.  However, the most important thing is to use the editor that feels right, as Vim and Emacs have two fundamentally different design philosophies.

In Emacs, hold Ctrl and press H, then release Ctrl and press T to open a built-in tutorial which contains everything you need to know to get started using Emacs, including how to access other built-in help information.