POE (Plain Old Emacs)

Table of Contents

1 Original evil

You might disagree, but I think that evil-mode is evil. Maybe you don't know what evil-mode is. That is ok. You will bump into evil and those who swear by it. But plain old emacs key bindings are really efficient once you learn them. And there are somethings you can do with POEKB that you might find troublesome with evil.

However, these are all arguments for another day.

If you will allow me to show you a few keys that will help you get up to speed with emacs, I think I can help you enjoy emacs a little. Maybe not.

2 Help

The single best thing about emacs (wellone of the best) and sadly a thing that most new users don't focus on, is the emacs help system. Everything in emacs is well documented and easily accessable.

2.1 C-h

If you are using emacs right now (and you could be reading this in emacs thanks to a full featured web browser built right in) try C-h C-h. That is the emacs help for help.

If you press SPACE the page scrolls. I think there are three pages of options available.

You can get help on everything in emacs. There is even a built in info browser.

Take your time and scroll using the space bar and maybe test a few things.

2.2 What key where?

For emacs users, especially new users, a very important thing to know is what a key combination does. It might not be great to just start pressing keys and hope for the best. But with C-c c (describe-key-briefly) will give you a very short description of the command bound to any particular key combo.

So, for example: maybe you don't know what C-x C-f does. If you press C-h c followed by C-x C-f (meaning actually press the key combo about which you are curious, in this case C-x C-f), we are told that

C-x C-f runs the command find-file

Great. Makes sense. C-x might kinda remind you of the word "execute" and it is a simple leap to link C-f to files. Lots of things in emacs are this way. Not everything, but a lot.

You can get even better information on a key binding by using C-h k. For example C-h k followed by C-x C-f bring you to the help screen for the find-file function. Try it. Just look at all that information. Every bit of it is useful. But if that is not enough info for you, try C-h K (that is a capital K), and prepare to be inundated.

2.3 Where function? There function!

Pretend you know a function name (maybe find-file) but you dont know where it is bound. Well with C-h f RET function-name you can find out. In this case C-h f RET find-file. The first few lines of that buffer will tell you what the bindings are if any.

An even quicker way is to use C-h w followed by the function name. The mini-buffer tells you that find-file is bound to C-x C-f.

3 Tutorial

One last, but really important thing to know is that you can access a "learn by doing" tutorial by pressing C-h t. Going through the tutorial will help you to no end. It takes no time at all to go through and you will learn so much. You will want to return to the tutorial from time to time while you are getting your emacs legs.

Date: 2020-09-10 Thu 00:00

Author: Doc Green

Created: 2020-09-15 Tue 15:13