Only 12 Commands for Emacs Beginners

Emacs has very many commands, so beginners are apt to dislike Emacs. I also did.

However, I learned a few commands of Emacs someday. Then I became to use Emacs so-so and to enjoy Emacs! By learning the least commands, I became able to use emacs! Since then, Emacs is one of my favorite editors.

Therefore, I listed up only 12 commands for Emacs beginners.


  • C-x : to type "Ctrl" key and "x" key at the same time.
  • M-x : to type "Meta"("Alt") key and "x" key at the same time.
  • C-x C-y : to type C-x, then type C-y.

Launch Emacs

Normal :
> emacs filename
Other Window :
> emacs filename &
in Current Shell (<- Useful!) :
> emacs filename -nw


  • C-x C-f : Open File
  • C-x C-s : Save File
  • C-x C-c : Save File and Exit Emacs


  • C-@ : Set Mark
  • C-w : Cut (from Mark to Cursor)
  • M-w : Copy (from Mark to Cursor)
  • C-y : Paste
  • C-_ : Undo


  • C-z : Interrupt (Return to Shell)

If you launched Emacs in a Shell(emacs filename -nw), it is useful to return the Shell by this and to restart the Emacs by "fg" command.

Original Text(Japanese)

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