Introduction to the Unix Cluster. Node: CharKeys

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5.2: Characters, Keys, and Commands

This section will briefly describe several of the features available in Emacs. Specific commands will not be included here as they are easily available in the GNU Emacs Manual and the GNU Emacs Reference Card. The reference card is located in the file `/usr/doc/misc/emacs-refcard.dvi' on lyman---use lpr -d emacs-refcard.dvi on lyman to print it out.

Cursor Motion and Searching

When Emacs is running, the terminal's cursor shows the location at which editing commands will take effect. Emacs also has various facilities for searching for specified text in either direction.

Setting Marks Many Emacs commands (such as kill-region and fill-region) operate on specified regions in the buffer. To specify text for such a command to operate on, you set the mark at either end of the region and move the cursor to the opposite end.
Killing and Deleting Text Emacs uses two methods of removing text from the buffer: killing text and deleting text. Killing text (also known as `cutting') erases text and saves it so you can yank (also known as `paste') it back later. This is the most common way of moving or copying text in Emacs. Deleting text, on the other hand, removes the text permanently.

Emacs also has an `Edit' menu which allows for copying, cutting, and pasting text. You can mark the text using the mouse buttons (see Buttons) or by highlighting your selected text---simply click the left mouse button at the beginning of the region and drag it to the end. Then choose your desired function from the `Edit' menu.

Error Recovery Emacs also has several standard commands for recovering lost text, canceling commands, and undoing changes. Again, Emacs has many of these functions listed in the `File' and `Edit' menus for convenient use.
Handling Files In order to edit a file in Emacs, you must specify the particular file to be copied into an Emacs buffer. This is known as visiting the file.

To create a new file, just visit it. Emacs will print (New File) in the echo area and you will get a blank buffer. If you make any changes and save them, the new file is created in your directory. Emacs also has an auto-save facility and creates temporary back-up files. Auto-save is implemented every 300 (by default) keystrokes and whenever it gets a fatal error (such as when you accidentally kill an Emacs job). See the GNU Emacs Manual for more detailed information regarding back-up files and auto-saving. Again, Emacs has menus that emcompasses many of these commands.

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