This page discusses setting the initial size and position of the Emacs window, the font and colours used, the indentation behaviour when editing programs, the behaviour of regions selected with the mouse, and redefining keyboard shortcuts, in the case when Emacs is used under MS-Windows. There are at least five basic ways to customize Emacs:
.emacs(details are on CategoryDotEmacs, and specific MS-Windows issues are on MsWindowsDotEmacs)
Currently the best help about the customize commands is probably the chapter on customization in the Emacs manual
Initial size of the window (or frame): One good way is to use the MsWindowsRegistry (see that page for how). Another way is to change the properties of the shortcut used to start Emacs. Right-click on it and select Properties -- Target and edit the target to end with
-geometry 100x40 (or whatever — note there is a space before
-geometry). However, the latter way does not work when Emacs is started from a command prompt (e.g. from a Cygwin window).
Position of initial window: To change the location of the top-left corner of the frame to be at 30 pixels from the left edge of the screen and 10 pixels from the top edge, specify the geometry as
The window size may also be set in
.emacs (for instance with
(selected-frame) 40) and
(set-frame-width (selected-frame) 80)) but this causes the window size to jump when starting Emacs.
Again there is a choice: use the MsWindowsRegistry, or use a command line option set through the properties of the Emacs starting shortcut (again not applied when Emacs is started from a command prompt). For both methods a first step is to determine the name of the font. Type (or copy)
(w32-select-font) into the scratch buffer followed by ^J. In the dialog window that appears select the desired font. After clicking OK the X-name of the font will be displayed in the scratch buffer, ready to be copied to the clipboard. To set the font using a command line option, proceed as when setting the initial window size and let Target end with
"-outline-Lucida Sans Typewriter-normal-r-normal-normal-12-90-96-96-c-*-iso8859-1" (or whichever font name was displayed). See also ChangeFontsPermanentlyOnWindows.
As with the window size the font may be set in
")), but as before this causes the window size to jump when starting Emacs.
Emacs uses so-called “syntax highlighting” to colour different elements of programming languages (e.g. strings, keywords, comments, variable names) with different colours. The Emacs term is actually face as it is possible to use e.g. boldface or italics instead of colours. The default colours when Emacs has been set up on MS-Windows are too light. The following initialization code may be put in the
.emacs file to make the most common colours a little darker:
; Default colours are too light (to see colour names do M-x list-colors-display ; and to see faces do M-x list-faces-display): (set-face-foreground font-lock-type-face "dark green") (set-face-foreground font-lock-builtin-face "Orchid4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-constant-face "CadetBlue4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-keyword-face "Purple4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-string-face "IndianRed4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-variable-name-face "SaddleBrown")
The comments at the start show how one may obtain lists of colour names and names used for the syntactical elements. See also AngryFruitSalad.
Many IDE’s and editors on MS-Windows automatically jump to the “correct” column when the Return-key is pressed while editing a program. Emacs can be made to behave in this way by inserting the following in the
(define-key global-map (kbd "RET") 'newline-and-indent) (add-hook 'f90-mode-hook (lambda () (local-set-key (kbd "RET") 'reindent-then-newline-and-indent)))
The first line does the trick for many programming languages (including C, C++, Java and relatives). For Fortran 90 (and possibly other languages) it is necessary to use a “hook” (as has been done in lines 2 and 3 — see AutoIndentation).
Many MS-Windows users have grown used to keyboard shortcuts (and mouse commands) common to various MS-Windows application programs. Here, these will be referred to as Windows-native-keystrokes, WNK, and they differ considerably from standard Emacs keystrokes (Emacs-native-keystrokes, ENK). For example the WNK-keystroke to save file is ^S and to paste (or yank) one presses ^V. The following picture shows the most common MS-Windows and Emacs keystrokes.
The table lists keystrokes of 5 common MS-Windows applications, and here (maybe rather arbitrarily) a keystroke appearing in 4 of these is considered to be a WNK-shortcut.
The most recent versions of Emacs (certainly 22.1.1 and later) there is an inbuilt feature called CuaMode which emulates to some extent the WNK-shortcuts (in particular ^Z, ^X, ^C and ^V) and other common MS-Windows features such as using shifted cursor movement keys (or mouse movement) to select a region, and showing this seleceted region highlighted (coloured). As may be seen from the table above this mode does not include all the WNK-shortcuts: ^N, ^O, ^S, ^P, Alt-F4, ^A and ^F are missing. Of course most of these have meanings as ENK-s (^N is next-line, ^O open-line, ^S isearch-forward, ^P previous-line, ^A beginning-of-line and ^F forward-char), but all except ^O and ^S have alternative Emacs-keybindings that are in fact the same as most MS-Windows users are used to (^N, ^P and ^F are down, up and right arrow; ^A is Home). In addition isearch-forward is more naturally bound to ^F for an MS-Windows accustomed user, which only leaves ^O. Its function is not commonly found in MS-Windows editors (it opens up a new empty line). Thus it turns out that one can change Emacs into an editor that behaves very much like what is usual for MS-Windows editors. The initialization file below redefines all the above listed keystrokes to follow the MS-Windows custom. In addition, ^W is bound to the command kill-this-buffer and ^Tab to other-window.
In addition to redefining keystrokes the following initialization file defines a few additional features that also make Emacs behave more like what one may be used to from MS-Windows. The initial splash-screen is turned off (this otherwise hides the file being edited) and copying the selected region does not turn off the selection. In addition the file contains the initialization code given above for darkening colours and make the return key jump to the correct indentation level in programs. There are also commands to make Emacs understand Cygwin-paths (see NTEmacsWithCygwin), and if Cygwin is not being used these could be commented out. One pixel is added to the line spacing. Finally the first command adds a directory
~/elisp to the Emacs load path.
One idea behind this file is to make it simple for the user to customize the settings to his or her preferences. Thus the settings are not changed via a new mode (similarly to Cua-mode), but simply by direct global-set-key commands. It is common that people have both some Emacs- and some Windows experience and they might well want a subset of the key redefinitions.
; Various settings: (add-to-list 'load-path "~/elisp") ;; Additional .el and .elc files can be placed here (setq inhibit-splash-screen t) ;; Don't show initial Emacs-logo and info (cua-mode 1) ;; Enable ^Z, ^X, ^C, ^V, select with mouse and shift-cursor-movement (transient-mark-mode 1) ;; No region when it is not highlighted (setq cua-keep-region-after-copy t) ;; Standard MS-Windows behaviour (require 'cygwin-mount) ;; Let emacs recognize cygwin ... (cygwin-mount-activate) ;; ...paths (e.g. /usr/local/lib) (setq-default line-spacing 1) ;; Add 1 pixel between lines (recentf-mode) ;; Add menu-item "File--Open recent"
; Define some additional "native-Windows" keystrokes (^tab, Alt/F4, ^A, ^F, ^O, ; ^S, ^W) and redefine (some of) the overridden Emacs functions. (global-set-key [C-tab] 'other-window) (global-set-key [M-f4] 'save-buffers-kill-emacs) (global-set-key "\C-a" 'mark-whole-buffer) (global-set-key "\C-f" 'isearch-forward) (global-set-key "\C-o" 'find-file) (global-set-key "\C-s" 'save-buffer) (global-set-key "\C-w" 'kill-this-buffer) (global-set-key (kbd "C-S-o") 'open-line) (global-set-key (kbd "C-S-w") 'kill-region) (define-key global-map (kbd "RET") 'newline-and-indent) ; For programming language modes (define-key isearch-mode-map "\C-f" 'isearch-repeat-forward) ; Make Fortran 90 also auto-indent: (add-hook 'f90-mode-hook (lambda () (local-set-key (kbd "RET") 'reindent-then-newline-and-indent))) ; Default colours are too light (to see colour names do M-x list-colors-display ; and to see faces do M-x list-faces-display): (set-face-foreground font-lock-type-face "dark green") (set-face-foreground font-lock-builtin-face "Orchid4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-constant-face "CadetBlue4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-keyword-face "Purple4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-string-face "IndianRed4") (set-face-foreground font-lock-variable-name-face "SaddleBrown")
To make Emacs obey these initializations, create a file named
.emacs in the home directory, for instance using Emacs (use ^X^F to find-file, ^X^S to save and ^X^C to exit). The file could also be created using Notepad. The next time Emacs is started it should understand all the WNK’s.
Note that if only Cua-mode is required, one may select /Options – C-x…(CUA)/ followed by Save -- Options from within Emacs. Note also the alternative, CuaLightMode.
By default Emacs uses a Windows dialog box to open files when the menu command File--OpenFile is issued, but not when one of the keystrokes C-o and C-x C-f is used. To make Emacs use a dialog box following C-o proceed as follows:
dlgopen.el. Place them in your lisp directory (
.emacsgiven above is used).
.emacsfile, add the line
(load "dlgopen")near the beginning, and let the keystroke
If you want this page because you use KDE and are used to using windows-style key bindings with it, you may want to make a graphical box for KDE too. It’s not normally as efficient as typing for 1 file, but it looks pretty, feels nice and gave me a reason to write my second ever lisp function (hello world!!!). The last line binds it to C-o which will clobber the open-line command. I never use that, but if you do then put it somewhere else! Code:
; Inspired by the windows version. Also used call-process here because ; shell-command-to-string gave me 100% CPU usage by lisp.run until ; kdialog returned. (defun kde-open-file () (interactive) (let ((buffer (generate-new-buffer "*opening-files*")) (file-to-open "")) (if (call-process "kdialog" nil buffer nil "--title" "Open File -Emacs" "--getopenfilename" ".") (save-excursion (set-buffer buffer) (goto-line 1) (setq file-to-open (buffer-substring (save-excursion (beginning-of-line) (point)) (save-excursion (end-of-line) (point)))) (if (> (length file-to-open) 0) (find-file file-to-open)))) (kill-buffer buffer))) (define-key global-map "\C-o" 'kde-open-file)
To suppress the command echo in shell mode, use the following:
(when (eq system-type 'windows-nt) (setq-default comint-process-echoes 'on))