Emacs handy commands

Mehrad Mahmoudian published on
2 min, 304 words


In this post I will briefly touch upon some of the handy commands that can help new Emacs users like myself to have a smoother transition to Emacs and easier adoption and integration of it in to their workflows. The aim is NOT to teach Emacs, but it is to mention things that took me hours of searching to find online. I'll update this blog post every now and then to add more content instead of creating new blog posts. This would make this blog post a one-page cheatsheet for myself and others.


You can read the help/manual of each of these variables by C-h v and then typing the variable name (tab completion works).

Personal Information

    user-full-name "John Doe"               ; The Emacs User's name (used by GPG)
    user-mail-address "john@doe.me"         ; The Emacs User's email (used by GPG)


    undo-limit 80000000                     ; Raise undo-limit to 80Mb
    tab-width 4                             ; set the tab width
    tab-always-indent 'complete             ; make tab key do indent first then completion



     org-directory "~/org/"                 ; default location for org-mode files


You can get help for each function by C-h f and then typing the function name (tab completion works). You can execute these functions by M-x and then typing the function name.


  • untabify: Converts tabs to appropriate number of spaces (defined by tab-width variable)
  • tabify: Converts spaces to appropriate number of tabs (defined by tab-width variable)
  • undo: Normal undo
  • undo-redo: Normal redo
  • read-only-mode: Makes the current buffer read-only and can be triggered by C-x C-q. This is very handy when dealing with todo lists and READMEs.


  • text-scale-increase: Increase the font size
  • text-scale-decrease: Decrease the fint size