Emacs and EmacsWikiMode on PDAs

Emacs On Windows CE / Pocket PC

There is a port of Emacs 20 to Windows CE.

You can download it from the following site, BUT watch out, there are different versions there and I think the officially linked one is not the most recent and not the best.

As far as I remember, this is how to get the latest version:

More info: This is a recent post from the other about the newest builds: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wince-devel/message/1750

People who use the Emacs port to Windows CE PDAs seem to hang round in the following mailing list. On the page there is a “Search archive” button. Type “Emacs” in there to check for news.


Alternatively, you can head to this direct link to search for emacs on the list:


This is working fine for me.

I am working to customize it to make Emacs better suited for a PDA. If you’re interested, contact me: summerswimming at gmx dot de

I (cpence at princeton dot edu) can also confirm that this works on a (very new) Windows Mobile 5 VGA Dell Axim x51v. The registry editor included with the package is now broken (at least with ActiveSync 4), so the registry batch file won’t work. I used Mobile Registry Editor installed on my desktop computer with the AEConfig fix from this FAQ page to make the requisite registry changes.

On this VGA device changing to 10-pt font is a must, but everything appears to still work perfectly. Important notes:

Emacs on the Zaurus Linux PDA

Updated (17 March 2007): I (zdevil in www.oesf.org/forums ) have the latest Emacs 23 working on Sharp Zaurus SL-C1000 (running pdaXrom). http://www.oesf.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=23455 The good news is CJK display and input are not fully supported! I have also compiled and packaged a PIM suite (Muse + BBDB + Remember + Planner) and it runs great, too! Right now I am testing the build and preparing short how-tos for newbies. Will keep here updated.

I (hhalvors at princeton dot edu) have emacs 21 running on a Sharp Zaurus C750. Emacs 21 can be obtained by apt-get from within Klaus Weidner’s distribution of Debian for the Zaurus (see http://pocketworkstation.org/ ).

(But I have other troubles with Debian on Zaurus – e.g., I can’t yet get suspend to work!)

Although I’m glad to have emacs 21 on a PDA, I can’t say that I would strongly recommend getting a Zaurus just to run emacs 21 – mainly because it is an awful lot of work to get things running. (The main problem is that the Zaurus isn’t set up, out of the box, to run X-Windows programs such as emacs.)

If you have a SL-C (clamshell model) series there are 2 other options:


Update (August 2006) from hhalvors: I can confirm that Emacs 21 runs well under Xqt. I used it on a Zaurus SL-C750 for a couple of years. Xqt was stable about 95\% of the time, with only occasional debilitating crashes. For an even better experience, run Emacs on pdaXrom on the latest Zaurii, e.g. SL-C3200. I have not yet had to reboot or even restart Emacs after several months of use.

I (summerswimming at gmx dot de) am using Emacs and EmacsWikiMode on my Pocket PC (=Windows CE, on Dell Axim). For more information than on this page, please email me. Anyone who wants to use the Emacs on a PDA, please tell me, so we can share our customizing.

You don’t need any complex Emacs-keystrokes when you customize things. And in terms of customizing nothing is better than Emacs. Most navigating can be done with the stylus and the RETURN-key.

I like it very much as a PIM.

The syncing is quite easy: I just sync all files of the wiki.

On my Pocket PC Emacs is running very good, including menus and stylus-navigation. I can recommend my combination. It works. I also have a foldable keyboard and with that it is nearly like a sub-notebook, but much lighter and smaller. I carry it around much more often than I would do with a sub-notebook.


  1. /emacs/bin/emacs.exe -geometry 38x22
One more port of Emacs for Sharp Zaurus (Qtopia) is here http://sourceforge.jp/projects/zaurus-ja/ (but it works in console only) --DmitriBrechalov

Keywords: PDA

CategoryPorts CategoryPersonalInformationManager