What short comings can I expect from this mode, and what are some use cases for which I should really prefer my operating system's terminal emulator?

2 Answers 2


I use ansi-term almost exclusively, so I would say "almost".

Speed is your main concern -- anything which rapidly generates large amounts of output is going to cause some pain, as Emacs won't keep up with it. If I know I'm about to issue such a shell command, I pull up a dedicated terminal emulator.

If you're using Emacs 24 then https://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/AnsiTermHints#bidi can cause awful slow-downs in certain situations.

Emacs commands can potentially put the buffer in an inconsistent state, which is confusing at best. You might find https://emacs.stackexchange.com/a/17086 helpful.

  • This one is a bit tangential, but if you're making regular use of term then you may also find the following idea useful as well: emacs.stackexchange.com/a/18678
    – phils
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 8:32

This is a helpful overview of ways to use the various shells and terminals in emacs. I use eshell for most things (here's my config for eshell) if you care to take a look. But as the other answer notes, if you're going to be dumping a lot of text in a terminal, emacs will likely be too slow.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.