Emacs is the extensible, customizable, self-documenting real-time display editor. This manual describes how to edit with Emacs and some of the ways to customize it; it corresponds to GNU Emacs version To view this manual in other formats, click here. You can also purchase a printed copy from the FSF store.
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If you find any errors, or have any suggestions, please use M-x report-emacs-bug to report them. This is the version of the FAQ distributed with Emacs Although there is some information on older versions, details about very old releases now only of historical interest have been removed.
If you are interested in this, consult either the version of the FAQ distributed with older versions of Emacs, or the history of this document in the Emacs source repository. Since Emacs releases are very stable, we recommend always running the latest release. This FAQ is not updated very frequently. When you have a question about Emacs, the Emacs manual is often the best starting point.
Every copy of the FAQ must include this notice or an approved translation, information on who is currently maintaining the FAQ and how to contact them including their e-mail address , and information on where the latest version of the FAQ is archived including FTP information. The FAQ may be copied and redistributed under these conditions, except that the FAQ may not be embedded in a larger literary work unless that work itself allows free copying and redistribution.
Consult this section if this is the first time you are reading the FAQ, or if you are confused by notation or terms used in the FAQ. It is a misnomer to call C-? Also, on very few keyboards does C-? See Keys. M-x by default invokes the command execute-extended-command. This command allows you to run any Emacs command if you can remember the command's name. An Emacs command is an interactive Emacs function. Your system administrator may have bound other key sequences to invoke execute-extended-command.
A function key labeled Do is a good candidate for this, on keyboards that have such a key. If you need to run non-interactive Emacs functions, see Evaluating Emacs Lisp code. This invokes Info, the GNU hypertext documentation browser. If you don't already know how to use Info, type? If these commands don't work as expected, your system administrator may not have installed the Info files, or may have installed them improperly.
In this case you should complain. See Getting a printed manual , if you would like a paper copy of the Emacs manual. These are files that come with Emacs. The Emacs distribution is divided into subdirectories; e. Some of these e. The directory name displayed by this will be the full pathname of the installed etc directory.
This full path is recorded in the Emacs variable data-directory , and C-h v displays the value and the documentation of a variable. The location of your Info directory i. The last directory in that list is probably where most Info files are stored. For information on some of the files in the etc directory, see Informational files for Emacs.
The LPF opposes look-and-feel copyrights and software patents. The FSF aims to make high quality free software available for everyone. However, in practice, the freedom enforced by the GPL leads to low prices, because you can always get the software for less money from someone else, since everyone has the right to resell or give away GPL-covered software.
The LPF opposes the expanding danger of software patents and look-and-feel copyrights. The real legal meaning of the GNU General Public License copyleft will only be known if and when a judge rules on its validity and scope.
There has never been a copyright infringement case involving the GPL to set any precedents. Although legal actions have been brought against companies for violating the terms of the GPL, so far all have been settled out of court in favor of the plaintiffs. Please take any discussion regarding this issue to the newsgroup news:gnu.
RMS writes: The legal meaning of the GNU copyleft is less important than the spirit, which is that Emacs is a free software project and that work pertaining to Emacs should also be free software. To make sure everyone has this freedom, pass along source code when you distribute any version of Emacs or a related program, and give the recipients the same freedom that you enjoyed.
The Emacs mailing lists are described at the Emacs Savannah page. Some of them are gatewayed to newsgroups. The newsgroup news:comp. The newsgroup news:gnu. It therefore makes no sense to cross-post to both groups, since only one can be appropriate to any question.
Be careful to remove the gnu. The FSF has maintained archives of all of the GNU mailing lists for many years, although there may be some unintentional gaps in coverage.
The archive can be browsed over the web at the GNU mail archive. Web-based Usenet search services, such as Google , also archive the gnu. You can also read the archives of the gnu. Gmane is a service that presents mailing lists as newsgroups even those without a traditional mail-to-news gateway. The correct way to report Emacs bugs is to use the command M-x report-emacs-bug. It sets up a mail buffer with the essential information and the correct e-mail address, bug-gnu-emacs gnu.
Anything sent there also appears in the newsgroup news:gnu. This ensures a reliable return address so you can be contacted for further details. The manual describes in detail how to submit a useful bug report see Reporting Bugs. See Emacs manual , if you don't know how to read the manual. RMS says: Sending bug reports to the help-gnu-emacs mailing list which has the effect of posting on news:gnu. The bug-gnu-emacs list reaches a much smaller group of people who are more likely to know what to do and have expressed a wish to receive more messages about Emacs than the others.
RMS says it is sometimes fine to post to news:gnu. If you are unsure whether you have found a bug, consider the following non-exhaustive list, courtesy of RMS: If Emacs crashes, that is a bug. If Emacs gets compilation errors while building, that is a bug.
If Emacs crashes while building, that is a bug. If Lisp code does not do what the documentation says it does, that is a bug. If you are receiving a GNU mailing list named list , you should be able to unsubscribe from it by sending a request to the address list -request gnu.
For up-to-date information, see the FSF contact web-page. You can send general correspondence to info fsf. Type C-h t to invoke the self-paced tutorial. Just typing C-h enters the help system. Starting with Emacs 22, the tutorial is available in many foreign languages such as French, German, Japanese, Russian, etc.
You can use M-x help-for-help instead to invoke help. This will print a comma-separated list of key sequences in the echo area. Ignore the last character in each key sequence listed. Each of the resulting key sequences e. Emacs help works best if it is invoked by a single key whose value should be stored in the variable help-char. There are several methods for finding out how to do things in Emacs. The complete text of the Emacs manual is available via the Info hypertext reader.
Type C-h r to display the manual in Info mode. Typing h immediately after entering Info will provide a short tutorial on how to use it. If this does not land you on the right place in the manual, press , comma repeatedly until you find what you need. The i and , keys invoke the index-searching functions, which look for the topic you type in all the indices of the Emacs manual. You can list all of the commands whose names contain a certain word actually which match a regular expression using C-h a M-x command-apropos.
The command C-h F Info-goto-emacs-command-node prompts for the name of a command, and then attempts to find the section in the Emacs manual where that command is described. You can list all of the functions and variables whose names contain a certain word using M-x apropos.
You can list all of the functions and variables whose documentation matches a regular expression or a string, using M-x apropos-documentation. You can order a hardcopy of the manual from the FSF. See Getting a printed manual. You can get a printed reference card listing commands and keys to invoke them. Beginning with version There are many other commands in Emacs for getting help and information.
You can order a printed copy of the Emacs manual from the FSF. For details see the FSF on-line store. Within Emacs, you can type C-h f to get the documentation for a function, C-h v for a variable. This manual is not always in print. Emacs releases come with pre-built Info files, and the normal install process places them in the correct location. This is true for most applications that provide Info files. The following section is only relevant if you want to install extra Info files by hand.
My GNU Emacs Quick Reference
John M. Gabriele, Note: this quick ref is still for Emacs It needs to be updated for Emacs