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About.com: Emacs for Beginners

“Most experienced Linux users are familiar with what have become
the two major Unix-world text editors, Emacs and Vi. For
inexperienced users, however, both may seem strange or even
completely unapproachable. This article is designed to provide
some basic insights into and keystrokes for using the GNU Emacs
editor, the favorite among many programmers and Web
designers.”

“Some concepts do not have easy analogs in word processors,
however. Split-window editing, once very popular in word processors
years ago, has fallen out of favor as graphical operating
environments (and thus multiple windows) have become the norm. The
split window remains very useful in the technical types of editing
often associated with Emacs, however. Buffers, status lines (as
Emacs uses them), mini-buffers and modes are also dissimilar from
any common word processor features. More information on use of
these concepts will come in the following sections.”

“When using the Emacs editor, a few basic keystrokes will go a
long way toward increased usability and productivity. Emacs is
fundamentally designed for keyboard, rather than mouse
interaction… Emacs keystrokes can actually be quite lengthy and
complex. The best way to familiarize yourself with the format in
which they’re usually represented is to study a few
examples…”


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