emacs is used to edit files in emacs.

$ emacs filename

Then file specified by filename will be opened in emacs, and you can use emacs to edit it.

Useful Options / Examples

emacs -nw

$ emacs -nw

Open Emacs directly in terminal.

Break it down
  • -nw means new window.
  • You may occasionally want to run Emacs directly in the terminal window. Use the -nw option for this.

emacs -q

$ emacs -q

Open Emacs and do not load a init file.

Break it down
  • -q means do not load an init file.
  • When Emacs is started, it normally tries to load a Lisp program from an init file. This file, if it exists, specifies how to initialize Emacs for you. Emacs looks for your init file using the filenames ~/.emacs, ~/.emacs.el, or ~/.emacs.d/init.el. Here, ~/ stands for your home directory.

emacs +number file

$ emacs +7 filename

Open Emacs and move the cursor to line 7.

Break it down
  • Go to the line specified by number.
  • Do not insert a space between the “+” sign and the number.

emacs -font, -fn

$ emacs -font 12
$ emacs -fn 12

Open Emacs with font size 12.

Break it down
  • Set the Emacs window’s font to that specified by font.
  • When you specify a font, be sure to put a space between the switch and the font name.

emacs -geometry

$ emacs -geometry 70x24 filename

Open a frame with 70 chars wide and 24 chars high.

Break it down
  • Set the Emacs window’s width, height, and position as specified. The width and height are specified in characters; the default is 80x24.

emacs -fg

$ emacs -fg red filename

Open Emacs and set the color of the text red.

Break it down
  • On color displays, sets the color of the text. See the file /usr/lib/X11/rgb.txt for a list of valid color names.