Snippets for yer computer needs



keystrokes M-x desc
C-x C-c save-buffers-kill-terminal quit
C-g keyboard-exit stop command
M-x execute-extended-command  


keys M-x desc
C-x C-f   find file
C-x C-s   save file
C-x s   save buffers to files
  recover-this-file Recover file from an auto-save file

File local variables


-*- mode: mode-name; variable: value -*-


Local Variables:
mode: mode-name
variable: value



keys desc
C-x b switch buffers
C-x C-b list buffers


Online emacs doc - tab bars

keys M-x desc
C-x t b   open new tab with buffer
C-x t 2   new tab
C-tab   swap tab
  tab-bar-mode create a tab bar
  tab-rename renames a tab
  tab-line-mode create a tab line in the window’s buffer


keys desc
C-x 0 delete active window
C-x 1 one window, kill all others
C-x 2 split window below
C-x 3 split window right
C-x 4 b change buffer in other window


keys desc
C-x 5 2 Create new frame
C-x 5 b Switch buffer in other frame
C-x 5 0 Delete active frame
C-x 5 1 Delete other frames


M-x list-colors-display for supported color names

text manipulation

keys M-x desc
  auto-fill-mode split text
C-x f   Set fill mode margin (default 70 chars)
C-x 8 e i emoj-insert  
C-x 8 e s emoji-search  
  line-number-mode line number in status bar


bookmarks are persistent across sessions

keys desc
C-x r m Set bookmark
C-x r l List bookmarks
C-x r b Jump to bookmark


M-x desc
shell comint-driven shell
eshell emacs-lisp shell
ansi-term ANSI terminal emulator


Append C-h to a prefix key for combination documentation

Info Mode

keystrokes M-x desc
C-h R info-display-manual MANUAL open a specific Info manual
C-h i info opens up Info Mode to the builtin manuals
Key Purpose
[ previous node
] next node
l back in history
r forward in history
n next sibling node
p previous sibling node
u one level to a parent node
SPC scroll one screen at a time
TAB cycle through cross-references and links
RET opens the active link
m prompts for a menu item name and opens it
d go to the info directory
q closes the info browser


key M-x desc
  apropos search everything
C-h a apropos-command search commands
C-h d apropos-documentation search documentation


key M-x desc
C-h m describe-mode major mode documentation
C-h x describe-command command documentation
C-h f describe-function function documentation
C-h v describe-variable variable documentation
C-h k describe-key key binding documentation
key desc
i open info manual
s go to source
c customize interface


M-x desc
fundmental-mode Fundamental mode (apostrophe is word separator)
text-mode Text mode (intended for human language)

Customize Mode

M-x customize to customize settings, M-x customize-browse for tree mode, M-x customize-themes for themes

Org Mode

Possibly the killer app for Emacs

Org Mode Website

Org Mode Manual


desc keystrokes
insert link C-c C-l
learn to open a link C-c C-o
jump back C-c &



orgmode docs on link abbreviations

(setq org-link-abbrev-alist
      '(("duckduckgo" . "")
        ("wp"         . "")
        ("omap"       . "")))


desc keystroke
open agenda mode C-c a

Org Roam

Org Roam website

Org Roam Manual

Aliasing for easier roam navigation


Bug Reference Mode

Built-in in version 28.2

((nil . ((bug-reference-url-format . "")
         (bug-reference-bug-regexp . "\\(\\[\\([A-Z]+-[0-9]+\\)\\]\\)"))))

Abbrev Mode

EmacsWiki for Abbrev Mode

desc command keystroke
define a global abbrev add-global-abbrev C-x a g
define a local (mode-specific) abbrev with add-mode-abbrev C-x a l
define a word in the buffer (ie inverse) inverse-add-global-abbrev C-x a i g
cancel an expansion quoted-insert C-q
define an abbrev from minibuffer define-global-abbrev  
save abbrevs when in abbrev mode edit-abbrevs-redefine C-c C-c

Editing abbrevs

desc command
write lisp file of user-created abbrev definitions write-abbrev-file
edit in-memory abbrev definitions edit-abbrevs
read definitions file read-abbrev-file

Help Mode

desc command key
all keystrokes help-for-help C-h ?
all keybindings describe-binding C-h b
show manuals   C-h i
display documentation for a key describe-key C-h k
module info describe-mode C-h m
show version changelog   C-h n
desc key
next page n
previous page p
up u

BibTeX Mode

C-c C-e a bibtex-article Add an article
C-c C-e b bibtex-book Add a book
C-c C-e ?   Show entry types and shortcuts
C-j bibtex-next-field Jump to next field
C-down bibtex-next-entry Jump to the next entry
C-up bibtex-previous-entry Jump to the previous entry
C-c C-c bibtex-clean-entry Clean the entry
C-c C-q bibtex-fill-entry Align the fields
- bibtex-reformat Reformat all entries inregion or buffer
- bibtex-sort-buffer Sort all entries in the buffer by their keys

BibTeX in Org Mode

Foo is file name, plain is bibliography mode

#+BIBLIOGRAPHY: foo plain

Emacs Community and Development

key command desc
C-h C-t view-emacs-todo TODO list
C-h n view-emacs-news version info
  report-emacs-bug report a bug

Email lists

Source code



Conference typically in December

Emacs server/client mode

M-x server-start start server


-c graphical frame
-nw terminal frame

Design of Emacs

Emacs Paper by RMS

A sign of the success of the EMACS design is that EMACS has been requested by over a hundred sites and imitated at least ten times.

The extensibility of EMACS is the point, not the key commands. Any editor where interpreter facilities are always available at runtime could (more or less) do the same thing.

One argument made was that because Emacs was written in Lisp, it pulled Lisp from the ivory towers into systems programming. Not sure I agree with that one totally (especially given the jankiness of Emacs Lisp), but it’s an interesting use of it.

Emacs Lisp

Documentation and Resources

An Introduction to Programming in Emacs Lisp

Emacs Lisp

M-x desc
ielm Emacs Lisp REPL
lisp-interaction-mode Enable Lisp interaction mode
scratch-buffer new scratch buffer for Emacs Lisp testing
eval-buffer evaluate entire buffer
eval-region evaluate marked region

Lexical binding

To enable lexical-binding in a file:

;; -*- lexical-binding: t -*-


desc keystroke
execute line C-x C-e
execute, dump in buffer C-j



To begin profiling, type M-x profiler-start. You can choose to sample CPU usage periodically (‘cpu’), when memory is allocated (‘memory’), or both. Then run the code you’d like to speed up. After that, type M-x profiler-report to display a summary buffer for CPU usage sampled by each type (cpu and memory) that you chose to profile. The names of the report buffers include the times at which the reports were generated, so you can generate another report later on without erasing previous results. When you have finished profiling, type M-x profiler-stop (there is a small overhead associated with profiling, so we don’t recommend leaving it active except when you are actually running the code you want to examine).


n next step
c skip to end
d display backtrace
q Return to top level editor command loop
h Proceed to stop point near where point is
o Move out of the containing sexp. Useful in loops.
i Step into the function/macro called by the form after point

what you can do by just hitting d to step deeper into the structure, and then c to quickly get out. You can also jump around a bit with j, and evaluate expressions under an environment as if you were inside the function with e.

(debug) ; enter debugger when reached
(debug-on-entry FUNCTION) ; invoke debugger when FUNCTION called

Use M-x cancel-debug-on-entry to cancel the effect of debug-on-entry. Redefining FUNCTION also cancels it.

Platform support

Emacs on Linux

Running as a user systemd service

Write to ~/.config/systemd/user/emacs.service

Description=Emacs text editor
Documentation=info:emacs man:emacs(1)

ExecStart=/usr/bin/emacs --daemon
ExecStop=/usr/bin/emacsclient --eval "(kill-emacs)"


Gnome desktop icon


desktop-file-validate ~/.local/share/applications/emacs-client.desktop
xdg-desktop-menu install ~/.local/share/applications/emacs-client.desktop
xdg-desktop-icon install ~/.local/share/applications/emacs-client.desktop
[Desktop Entry]
Name=Emacs (client)
GenericName=Text Editor
Comment=Edit text
Exec=/usr/bin/emacsclient --create-frame --alternate-editor "emacs" %F

Build from source (Fedora)

sudo dnf install \
  texinfo gnutls-devel autoconf make gcc ncurses-devel sqlite-devel \
  libtree-sitter libtree-sitter-devel tree-sitter-cli \ # tree-sitter support
  sqlite-devel \ # SQLite3 support
  jansson-devel \ # Faster JSON for LSP
  gtk3-devel giflib-devel libXpm-devel \ # Graphical install
  libgccjit-devel # Native lisp compiler

git clone git://
cd emacs

Emacs on MacOS

macOS daemon

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN"
 <plist version="1.0">
   <string>Emacs Daemon</string>
launchctl load -w ~/Library/LaunchAgents/emacs.daemon.plist

Use Emacs for scripting

If you start an executable script with

#!/usr/bin/emacs -x

Emacs will start without reading any init files (like with ‘–quick’), and then execute the rest of the script file as Emacs Lisp. When it reaches the end of the script, Emacs will exit with an exit code from the value of the final form.

Fun and Games

M-x desc
telnet telnet to a server
calc calc mode
lunar-phases phases of the moon
doctor “doctor” chatbot
emacs-uptime Emacs uptime counter

Emacs Package Management


Standard with Emacs 24

desc M-x
install a package package-install
remove unused dependent packages package-autoremove
get list of installable packages package-list-packages
refresh package repository package-refresh-contents
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("gnu" . ""))
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("nongnu" . ""))
; Milkypostman's ELPA
(add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa" . ""))


keystrokes desc
C-h P describe package


key desc
i mark for installation
u unmark
x execute action on package


Nice way to keep configuration of emacs packages tidy

Standard with Emacs 29

use-package GitHub page


Quelpa uses the MELPA package recipes and builds them locally from source

quelpa-upgrade-all to upgrade all packages

quelpa RET package_name to install a package

(quelpa 'package-name) to use in Emacs lisp


EmacsWiki: ELPA

Emacs Lisp Package Archive

Third-Party Packages

Emacs toolkits

Evil Mode

desc keystrokes
toggle evil mode C-z
put emacs to background mode C-x C-z


desc keystroke
execute line C-c C-e


Text-to-speech interface

Emacs Multimedia System


show frequently used M-x modes


Project interaction library