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I have decided to start learning Emacs. Since I completely use Linux now, Gedit was not working for me as I wanted :) Some friend recommended Emacs and that is what I want to learn.

So I have two questions:

  1. How do I start learning Emacs? Which tutorial should I follow? I want to be able to do most basic programming stuff (Python) without lifting my hand (as goes the quote!).

  2. When I start Emacs, the font is enlarged. I decreased that by using Cx C-, but how do I make the change permanent since every time it starts, the font has changed back to the original enlarged state.

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closed as not constructive by Sathya Jan 21 '13 at 17:47

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up vote 4 down vote accepted


Open emacs and type C-h t (that is control-h followed by t).

That's the built in tutorial. It may help you to remember this as C-h invoking one of the many, many help functions an t being for "tutorial".

Permanent configuration changes

The configuration is controlled by the contents of you .emacs file.

To learn what function C-x C-- is running use C-h k C-x C--. (C-h k is the help with key binding function).

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I think emacs's built-it tut - is one of the worst possible emacs tutorial. – Adobe Aug 26 '11 at 11:54

1) There are quite a few tutorials you can start with:

2) Any options you change will need to go into your .emacs file. There's a lot of information around the net on customizing your .emacs, but I would start by learning the basics of the editor first.

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Thanks for your answer. – sukhbir Oct 21 '10 at 17:17

Changing the Font:

In emacs23 (which I am guessing you might be running), you can also use the mouse and select "Options" -> "Set Default Font..." and then "Options" -> "Save Options".


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Personally I used Sams Teach Yourself Emacs in 24 Hours to learn the basics

I used emacs for about two months, then gave up. There were two main reasons for that:

  • the language it used in configs (was it Lisp?) remained totally cryptic to me
  • emacs is the only computer program ever that gave me RSI. I'm not trying to spread FUD, I'm not trying to start a holy war, maybe I just didn't use it properly. RSI disappeared as soon as I stopped using emacs and I never looked back

I'm not an emacs hater, I'm sure a lot of people who love emacs can't be wrong. But please watch yourself while learning it (applies to any text editor and generally to any app that has lots of alternatives). It may happen that it is just not "your" thing. I had to learn it the hard way.

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Ah...emacs pinky, right? Never had a twinge since I remapped that totally useless "caps lock" key to control. Moreover the lore has it that serious emacs users get foot pedals for Control and Meta. – dmckee Oct 21 '10 at 23:27

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