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Linux in a Nutshell, Fourth Edition by Aaron Weber, Stephen Figgins, Ellen Siever

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Notes on the Tables

Emacs commands use the Ctrl key and the Meta key. Most modern terminals provide a key named Alt that functions as a Meta key. In this section, the notation C- indicates that you should hold down the Ctrl key and press the character that follows, while M- indicates the same for the Meta or Alt key. As an alternative to Meta or Alt, you can press the Esc key, release it, and press the character. You might want to do this if you have problems with controlling windows capturing the Alt key (which sometimes happens).

In the command tables that follow, the first column lists the keystroke and the last column describes it. When there is a middle column, it lists the command name. The command can be executed by typing M-x followed by the command name; you have to do this when the binding is listed as “(none)”. If you’re unsure of the full command name, you can type a space, tab, or carriage return, and Emacs will list possible completions of what you’ve typed so far.

Because Emacs is such a comprehensive editor, containing hundreds of commands, some commands must be omitted for the sake of preserving a “quick” reference. You can browse the full command set by typing C-h (for help) and then b to get a list of the key bindings,[9] or M-x followed by a space or tab to get the command names.

Absolutely Essential Commands

If you’re just getting started with Emacs, here’s a short list of the most important commands to know:

Binding

Action

C-h

Enter the online help system. ...

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