w3m is a standalone textual browser much like lynx. It runs in a terminal. emacs-w3m is an Emacs interface to w3m, so that one can browse web sites within emacs.

Note: there’s some confusion about w3 and w3m. w3 is also a web browser, completely written in elisp; it runs within Emacs, and is bundled with Xemacs.

w3m was developed by Akinori ITO. You can get it here:

The rest of this page is dedicated to setting up w3m for Emacs.

Using Emacs as the external editor for w3m

Go to the w3m options and and find the options Editor and Mailer. Use the following:

This requires GnuClient. If you only have EmacsClient, you cannot use the Mailer. For the Editor, use this:

Editing files in Emacs

Use SimpleWikiMode to edit w3m textarea files. This even works in the console – start Emacs in one console, and w3m in another. When you edit a textarea, switch to Emacs, when done, switch back to w3m.

Once you kill the buffer, you are living dangerously – all your stuff is deleted on the disk, it only exists in w3m. And so if you hit the back button in w3m, or quit w3m, there is not even a backup file for you.

Here is how to force it:

    (add-hook 'kill-buffer-hook 'make-w3m-backup-copy)
    (defun make-w3m-backup-copy ()
      (when (string-match "^w3m" (buffer-name))
        (write-file (concat (buffer-file-name) ".last"))))

Running w3m

I like my w3m to look just like my ColorTheme, and I want to save myself from typing the -B all the time. I also want to be able to switch to UTF-8 at will:

This is my ~/bin/web-browser:

    #! /bin/bash
    GEOM="-geometry 155x55"
    if [ -z "$DISPLAY" ]; then
        if [ "u" == "$1" ]; then
    elif [ "u" == "$1" ]; then
        PROG="xterm-utf8 -name web-browser $GEOM -bg #243 -fg NavajoWhite -e w3m-m17n"
        PROG="xterm -name web-browser $GEOM -bg #342 -fg NavajoWhite -e w3m"
    if [ -z "$URL" ]; then
    $PROG $URL

And this is my ~/bin/xterm-utf8:

    exec uxterm \
        -bg '#003' \
        -fn '*-unifont-*--16-*-iso10646-1' \

Running web-browser u [URL] will then visit URL using UTF8.

Editing Emacs Wiki

To edit this wiki using w3m make sure you enable cookies in w3m! Hit o for options and check for the following:

Cookie Settings

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Next, follow this link to set the cookie.

Use ‘C-k’ to examine your cookie jar and verify that you’ve got the appropriate cookie set.