I'm relatively new to emacs and currently working through the introduction to elisp. In chapter 4 I came across the find-tag which should display the source code of its argument. I typed M-x find-tag RET followed by the argument copy-to-buffer. The echo-area shows the following message:

Visit tags table (default TAGS): ~/

but there is no TAGS file. But somewhere must be the tag tabled (default one) be installed. I run a find for TAGS on all directories but no file was found. Where is this file located?

My setup is: Debian 8.2 and emacs 24.4.1

1 Answer 1


A tag table is a project-specific lookup index. It must be generated and updated periodically. You can use etags or ctags to do that kind of thing, I do for example run etags *.c *.h in emacs/src to index all C and header files. The resulting TAGS file is placed in the same directory and needs to be selected by M-x find-tag for it to discover definition locations.

  • thanks for your quick answer. however under /usr/share/emacs24/ I just have a folder site-lisp with different subdirectories like auctex etc. A find for emacs/src was not successful. Do you know where it is located?
    – user8
    Dec 12, 2015 at 12:28
  • 1
    These are the C sources of Emacs, you can grab them from a release tarball or the Git repository.
    – wasamasa
    Dec 12, 2015 at 14:46

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