The Modern Emacs


  • How to handle it?
  • What's it?
  • The reasons to use and avoid.
  • How to approach Emacs, how to start and proceed?

Talking about the needs of power users and porfessionals, who spent a lot of time editing text.


There is no easy way, we have to learn and practice things to become efficient and productive with it. It's especially true for any non-trivial tools.

Important properties:

  • Explorability
  • Extensibility
  • Consistency
  • Reliability
  • Perfomance

Text-Oriented Interfaces

Maybe make something better?)

What is Emacs?

  • Dynamic Interpretation Environment.
  • Graphical Toolkit.
  • Ecosystem (Tools, Packages, Snippets and Distributed Expertice).

Reasons to Use Emacs

  • Free and Open Source Software.
  • It doesn't get in your way, has a good-enough extension language.
  • Mature software with a lot of legacy.
  • Unified consistent interface for all the tools.

My Way

Most important check points.

~10y, modal editing, partially extensible and explorable.
~3y, works out of the box, but with performance, conistency and explorability penalty.
Custom Config
~1y, good learning experience, reasonable perf.
Doom Emacs
<1y, good OOTB and performance, small inconsistencies and conflicts with built-in functionality, lack of integration with OS/PM.
Vanilla Emacs
<1y, poor OOTB, great learning experience, extensible, explorable, performant.
rde Emacs
sane OOTB, reliable, performant, well-os-integrated, extensible and almost explorable, plays nicely with built-ins.

The approach shift.

Yes, I need it, give me more -> Meet a few times, research, solve, practice, persist if necessary.

Building Working Environment Principles

  • Reproducible -> Reliable
  • Offline-friendly/Local-first
  • Consistent
  • Minimalistic and Attention-friendly
  • Extensible and Explorable


On the design of text editors

Light hight-contrast colorscheme
good for eyes, good for work.
Minimalistic UI
better for attention.
Margins, Fonts, Colorization, Typesettings
gives better readability.

Hotkeys and Modal Editing

  • Vanilla
  • Evil


  • C-h k
  • C-h f
  • C-h v
  • C-h S
  • C-h r i
  • M-x find-library RET
  • M-x which-key RET

Completion and Search

When you work with huge amounts of text, lists and other data, completion is really helpful.

  • isearch/occur/grep
  • vertico
  • marginalia
  • mini-frame
  • embark

Further Possible Improvements

Native Compilation
for better performance.
Mode-line Improvements
for less distraction.
Different Fonts
for reading-oriented buffers.
Welcome Screen
for better explorability and novice friendliness.