About this guide to Emacs

This guide is aimed at computer programmers who want to master the GNU Emacs text editor.

It has been said that the Emacs learning curve is not so much steep as long. While the initial learning curve is indeed much steeper than other editors, that is a hump you’ll get over fairly soon. This guide does start from the basics, but its real aim is to help you reach the next level —programming the behavior of Emacs itself— in months rather than years. The focus is on self-driven discovery by leveraging the Emacs built-in help, debugging facilities, and source code.

What I need from you is commitment (a couple of dedicated hours of study per week, and to use Emacs as your day-to-day editor) and patience (be willing to give up your favourite IDE’s features, at least for a month or two).

If you’re not sure it’s worth the trouble, please read the next section—and then by all means sniff in contempt.