Emacs #1: Getting Started

I started learning Emacs last week!

I’m not using it full-time just yet, for now I’m studying it own its own, and using it for small tasks while I learn the basics.

I decided to keep weekly notes (using Emacs of course!) of the things I learn along the way.

Get started

  • I started out by watching this video that shows off all the things Emacs can do.
  • Next I read this article.
  • I downloaded and installed Aquamacs, based on the recommendations in the article and video.
  • I updated my Karabiner config to remap caps-lock and return to left and right ctrl using this modifier.
  • I read through the built-in Emacs tutorial (using C-h t).
  • I practiced all the basic Emacs shortcuts like moving around, editing, and working with frames and buffers.


  • I’m still pretty slow moving around and editing files, but I can remember a good bit of the shortcuts without looking now.
  • I haven’t dug into major/minor modes much yet, but they seem really powerful.
  • The built-in help features using C-h are really helpful when I forget a shortcut.
  • I discovered that lots of apps like Alfred, MarsEdit, and GitHub’s web UI support some of the Emacs keybindings like C-n and C-p to navigate up/down menu items! Nifty! 🎉
  • Aquamacs supports lots of the standard macOS shortcuts, like ⌘+s and ⌘+w, which comes in handy (though I try not to use them).


Nothing fancy yet. Pretty much just the out-of-box Aquamacs.

Emacs #1