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Unix in a Nutshell, 4th Edition by Arnold Robbins

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Chapter 8. The Emacs Editor

Although most commercial operating systems do not come with Emacs , it is available for all versions of Unix, including Mac OS X, and MS-Windows. (GNU/Linux systems usually do supply it.) On all these systems, there are often multiple versions: one for character terminals, another for X11, and possibly yet another for the native windowing system. This text editor is a popular alternative to vi. This chapter documents GNU Emacs (Version 21.3), which is available from the Free Software Foundation (http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs).

This chapter presents the following topics:

  • Conceptual overview

  • Command-line syntax

  • Summary of emacs commands by group

  • Summary of emacs commands by key

  • Summary of emacs commands by name

For more information about emacs, see Learning GNU Emacs, listed in the Bibliography.

Conceptual Overview

This section describes some Emacs terminology that may be unfamiliar if you haven't used Emacs before.

Modes

One of the features that makes Emacs popular is its editing modes . The modes set up an environment designed for the type of editing you are doing, with features like having appropriate key bindings available, and automatically indenting according to standard conventions for a particular type of document. There are two types of modes, major and minor. The major modes include modes for various programming languages like C or Java, for text processing (e.g., SGML or even straight text), and many more. One particularly useful major mode is Dired ...

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