A very simple guide to GNU Emacs

Emacs This guide was written in Emacs editor.

Introduction to GNU Emacs

GNU Emacs is a text editor in GNU project.

Why should we use Emacs for code editing?

  • High perfomancce
  • Many awesome features for programming:

    • Jump to any header file.
    • Autocompletion.
    • Showing function arguments.
    • Quickly comment.
    • And many more features depending on your configuration.


This guide uses GNU Emacs running on Ubuntu 16.04.

To Install Emacs, you can simply open Terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install emacs

If you’re using another operating system, just Google and you can easily find the installation guide for your OS.

Using Emacs

To start Emacs, open Terminal and type emacs& to open Emacs GUI or emacs -nw to open Emacs Terminal.

Basic shortcuts in Emacs

Firstly, in Emacs shortcuts, ‘C’ will stand for Ctrl key and ‘M’ will stand for Meta key (Esc key or Alt key on your keyboard).


Shortcut Description
C-x C-f Open file
C-x C-s Save
C-x C-w Save as
C-x s Save all
C-x C-v Revert to file
M-x Revert Buffer
C-x k Close Windows/Buffer
C-x C-c Quit


Shortcut Description
C-_ Undo
C-Space Begin Selection
C-g Cancel Seclection
C-w Cut Seclection
C-k Cut Line (From current position to the end of the line)
C-y Paste
C-x r s Copy Selection to Numbered Clipboard
C-x r i Paste from Numbered Clipboard
Delete or C-d Delete
M-Delete Delete Word Before The Cursor
M-d Fwd Delete Word

3.Cursor Movement:

Shortcut Description
M-f Word Forward
M-b Word Backward
C-a / C-e Jump to beginning / end of line
M-{ / M-} Paragraph Forward / Backward
C-v / M-v Page Forward / Backward
M-< / M-> Jump to beginning / end of file
M-C-a / M-C-e C Function Forward / Backward

Above is a very basic guide to GNU Emacs. You can find more documents about Emacs at : GNU Emacs - GNU Projects.

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