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Getting In and Out of Emacs


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To start emacs, just type


A D V E R T I S E M E N T
emacs

To temporarily suspend emacs, type C-x C-z.1. To revive it, just type fg, or better yet, %emacs (fg would only revive the most recently suspended or ``backgrounded'' job, which might not be emacs).

To exit emacs just type C-x C-c.

Emacs is so useful that most people start up an emacs session as soon as they log on to the machine, even though they may not need it right away. They just want to have it ready when the need arises.2

If you find yourself in a jam while in emacs, say by having typed the wrong thing, you can kill the current command by typing C-g.3 Remember this command!




Buffers


In a typical emacs session, you will be editing several ``files'' at once. Some of these will be real files, while others will be temporary files4 which are created as the result of emacs commands.

For example, suppose I wish to edit the file WC.c. I type C-x C-f to load the file, and then type WC.c. The screen will then look like this:

/* introductory C program */

/* implements (a subset of) the Unix wc command  --  reports character,
   word and line counts; in this version, the "file" is read from the
   standard input, since we have not covered C file manipulation yet,
   but of course a real file can be read by using the Unix `<' redirection
   feature */


#define MaxLine 200


char Line[MaxLine];  /* one line from the file */


int NChars = 0,  /* total number of characters in the file */
    NWords = 0,  /* total number of words in the file */

This looks just like regular vi, except for the bottom line, in which emacs gives some general information, like the time of day. (Again, the bottom line is in reverse video on the screen, but that doesn't show up here.)

Suppose this is my first emacs command. Then WC.c will be my first buffer. Now suppose I type

M-x calendar

in order to use emacs's built-in calendar facility.5 The screen would now look like this:

/* introductory C program */

/* implements (a subset of) the Unix wc command  --  reports character,
   word and line counts; in this version, the "file" is read from the
   standard input, since we have not covered C file manipulation yet,
   but of course a real file can be read by using the Unix `<' redirection
   feature */

        November 1992            December 1992            January 1993
      S  M Tu  W Th  F  S      S  M Tu  W Th  F  S      S  M Tu  W Th  F  S
      1  2  3  4  5  6  7            1  2  3  4  5                     1  2
      8  9 10 11 12 13 14      6  7  8  9 10 11 12      3  4  5  6  7  8  9
     15 16 17 18 19 20 21     13 14 15 16 17 18 19     10 11 12 13 14 15 16
     22 23 24 25 26 27 28     20 21 22 23 24 25 26     17 18 19 20 21 22 23
     29 30                    27 28 29 30 31           24 25 26 27 28 29 30
                                                       31
C-x <      Calendar    ? help/o other/c current     Sun, Dec 6, 1992       C-x >
Loading calendar.elc...done

What has happened is that emacs has created a new buffer, for the calendar, and displayed it along with my first buffer (for WC.c). The two buffers are delineated on the screen by reverse-video lines at the bottom edge of each buffer (which I have shown as long strings of asterisks here).

The calendar buffer is now a temporary file. I can edit it, e.g. delete November, and if I desire to do so, save it to a permanent file.

Here are some commands dealing with buffers:

C-x o    if two buffers appear together on the screen, move the cursor
         to the other buffer
C-x 1    if two buffers appear together on the screen, expand the one
         current containing the cursor to make that buffer fill the screen
C-x b    display another buffer which is not currently displayed; emacs 
         is usually able to guess which buffer you want, and will ask you 
         to confirm that its guess is right; otherwise, specify the buffer 
         name yourself
C-x C-b  list all buffers (note: this list itself will be a new buffer!)
C-x C-f  read in a file and create a new buffer for it
C-x C-r  read in a file and create a new buffer for it, but make the
         buffer read-only (so that the file will not accidentally get
         changed)
C-x k    kill buffer; emacs will ask you to confirm that you mean
         the one currently containing the cursor; otherwise, specify 
         which one

Again, remember that any buffer is a temporary file, and thus all editing commands apply. For example, suppose I type C-x C-b to get a list of all buffers. Again, this will create a new buffer, and suppose the list is so long that it doesn't fit in one screen. Then I can use the usual editor scrolling commands (for vi, C-f and C-b) to browse through the buffer.

Getting In and Out of Emacs, and Out of Trouble



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Keywords: Getting In and Out of Emacs, Emacs, Emacs, Emacs tutorial, Emacs tutorial pdf, history of Emacs, Custamizing Style Sheet, learn Emacs

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