How to Learn Emacs: A Hand-drawn One-pager for Beginners / A visual tutorial

Posted: - Modified: | emacs, sketches
UPDATE 2016-12-31: Removed dead link to maplib.
UPDATE 2014-12-30: Added link to Emacs beginner resources
UPDATE 2013-09-23: New, much larger version – see below!

Here’s version 2 (September 2013). You can print this at 16.5″x10.75″ at 300dpi. Have an ordinary printer? Check out PosteRazor!

How to Learn Emacs - v2 - Large

Original post from May 2013:

I thought I’d draw a one-page guide for some of the things that people often ask me about or that would help people learn Emacs (and enjoy it). You can click on the image for a larger version that you can scroll through or download. It should print all right on 8.5×11″ paper (landscape) if you want to keep it around as a reminder. Might even work at 11×17″. =)

How to Learn Emacs

You can find the image on Imgur too.

If you’re completely new to Emacs, start with these Emacs beginner resources. If you’re comfortable with Emacs and you want to learn Emacs Lisp, check out my Read Lisp, Tweak Emacs series. For more Emacs inspiration, check out Planet Emacsen.

Feel free to share, reuse, or modify this under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence. Enjoy!

Possibly counterintuitive point: if you’re a developer or system administrator, t’s good to learn at least the basics of Vim. Despite the perception of a “Emacs vs. Vi” holy war (one of the classic battles in computer science), it makes sense to know both editors especially if you work with people who use Vi a lot. Know enough Vi to find your way around, and then learn how to customize Emacs to fit you to a tee. That way, you’ll avoid the pressure of not being able to work well with your team or your infrastructure, and you’ll have the space to explore Emacs. =) Emacs is totally awesome.

Need help with Emacs? Feel free to leave a comment or get in touch with me. I’m often in the #emacs channel on , and I also occasionally schedule time to help people one-on-one. Also, the Emacs community (mailing lists, newsgroups, IRC channel) can be wonderful, so definitely reach out to them too. =)

Meta discussion: How can I make this even better? What else would you like me to draw a guide for? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, thanks to dash, nicferrier, fledermaus, ijp, hypnocat, Fuco, macrobat, taylanub, axrfnu, Sebboh, thorkill, jave_, jrm, and the rest of #emacs for suggestions and feedback!

Update 2013-05-18: Check out the conversations on Hacker News and Reddit!

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