More Emacs Stuff

I’ve been diving back into Emacs recently, since discovering that there’s a really useful implementation for Mac OS X, Aquamacs, that not only does all the Emacs-y things I fell in love with so many years ago, but also manages to work nicely on OS X. Especially appealing are the use of tabs for multiple open files/buffers, the distraction-free full-screen mode, and integration with Apple hot-keys (Command-S will save a file, while Command-, brings up the old-school Emacs-style configuration options in a new buffer.

A list of Emacs/Aquamacs/Emacs on Mac OS X resources and articles:

  • EmacsWiki has plenty of good stuff, including plenty of glossary information, given that Emacs terminology was developed prior to most current software, and there are as a result plenty of familiar-looking things with odd names (e.g., buffer instead of file, kill instead of delete and point instead of cursor position).
  • Here’s a nice overview of Emacs on Mac OS X Leopard key bindings from
  • Also relevant to my interests: Emacs on OS X list (link to the archives on
  • Coming Home to Emacs is lovely essay about how a programmer rediscovered Emacs, with a respectful discussion of the Vi vs Emacs controversy.
  • There are lots of lists of “Important Emacs Keybindings”, like this one, Basic Emacs Editor Commands, from the Colorado State University CS department. Though apparently written in 1998, it’s still pretty helpful for starters.
  • Here’s another one that I wouldn’t call outstanding but it is helpful: Emacs Reference. It did point me to an interesting resource for cheat cheats, listed next.
  • Geek Cheat sells t-shirts and coffee mugs with Emacs (and Vi) cheat sheets printed on them, like this large one for Emacs. Handy. A quick Google found this fancy color one from Who knew? I long ago lost my O’Reilly Emacs cheat sheet, but coffee mugs, those I hold onto.
  • I (now) know that XEmacs is a fork of GNU Emacs, but it’s pretty close and the tutorials on indentation and keybindings have been helpful to me as a beginner. It’s always good to have an alternative resource for documentation (especially considering how unusable I’ve always found the official GNU Emacs doc to be).
  • Speaking of GNU Emacs, as hard as it may be for me to grok the doc, it’s still the primary resource. So, I’ve been grappling with the writeups on Saving Emacs Sessions and Customized Key Bindings, among others. You can’t approach it as an exercise in reading, more like an exercise in programming when you read them.
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