This manual documents the use and simple customization of the Emacs editor. Simple Emacs customizations do not require you to be a programmer, but if you are not interested in customizing, you can ignore the customization hints.
This is primarily a reference manual, but can also be used as a primer. If you are new to Emacs, we recommend you start with the integrated, learn-by-doing tutorial, before reading the manual. To run the tutorial, start Emacs and type C-h t. The tutorial describes commands, tells you when to try them, and explains the results. The tutorial is available in several languages.
On first reading, just skim chapters 1 and 2, which describe the notational conventions of the manual and the general appearance of the Emacs display screen. Note which questions are answered in these chapters, so you can refer back later. After reading chapter 4, you should practice the commands shown there. The next few chapters describe fundamental techniques and concepts that are used constantly. You need to understand them thoroughly, so experiment with them until you are ﬂuent.