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Being Even More Efficient

Experienced Emacs users are fanatical about efficiency. In fact, they will often end up wasting a lot of time searching for ways to be more efficient! While I don't want that to happen to you, there are some easy things you can do to become a better Emacs user. Sometimes experienced users make novices feel silly for not knowing all these tricks--for some reason, people become religious about using Emacs ``correctly''. I'd condemn that sort of elitism more if I weren't about to be guilty of it myself. Here we go:

When you're moving around, use the fastest means available. You know that C-f is forward-char--can you guess that M-f is forward-word? C-b is backward-char. Guess what M-b does? That's not all, though: you can move forward a sentence at a time with M-e, as long as you write your sentences so that there are always two spaces following the final period (otherwise Emacs can't tell where one sentence ends and the next one begins). M-a is backward-sentence.

If you find yourself using repeated C-f's to get to the end of the line, be ashamed, and make sure that you use C-e instead, and C-a to go to the beginning of the line. If you use many C-n's to move down screenfuls of text, be very ashamed, and use C-v forever after. If you are using repeated C-p's to move up screenfuls, be embarrassed to show your face, and use M-v instead.

If you are nearing the end of a line and you realize that there's a mispelling or a word left out somewhere earlier in the line, don't use tex2html_wrap8378 or tex2html_wrap8380 to get back to that spot. That would require retyping whole portions of perfectly good text. Instead, use combinations of M-b, C-b, and C-f to move to the precise location of the error, fix it, and then use C-e to move to the end of the line again.

When you have to type in a filename, don't ever type in the whole name. Just type in enough of it to identify it uniquely, and let Emacs's completion finish the job by hitting tex2html_wrap8288 or tex2html_wrap8272 . Why waste keystrokes when you can waste CPU cycles instead?

If you are typing some kind of plain text, and somehow your auto-filling (or auto-wrapping) has gotten screwed up, use M-q, which is fill-paragraph in common text modes. This will ``adjust'' the paragraph you're in as if it had been wrapped line by line, but without your having to go mess around with it by hand. M-q will work from inside the paragraph, or from its very beginning or end.

Sometimes it's helpful to use C-x u, (undo), which will try to ``undo'' the last change(s) you made. Emacs will guess at how much to undo; usually it guesses very intelligently. Calling it repeatedly will undo more and more, until Emacs can no longer remember what changes were made.

next up previous contents index
Next: Customizing Emacs Up: Editing files with Emacs Previous: Mail Mode

Converted on:
Mon Apr 1 08:59:56 EST 1996