I have been using Emacs for one week, so all of it is really new for me.

I saw that there are two types of commands in order to navigate in emacs : - Some "tabs" on the top - Commands like shortcuts

Nevertheless, my tabs are missing. Do you have a clue how to activate them ?

  • 2
    Do you mean the tool bar? If yes, you can try typing M-x (or alt x) tool-bar-mode Aug 22, 2019 at 9:21
  • 1
    It's not very clear what you're asking. What do you mean by "tab" here? Can you describe what you're looking for? Do you see the same behavior, or do you see the behavior you want, if you start Emacs using emacs -Q (no init file)?
    – Drew
    Aug 22, 2019 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


Tab functionality ala your web browser is provided by an external package tabbar-mode. The source code is on github, and there is an extensive page about customizing it on the EmacsWiki. In fact the first Google Search hit for "emacs tabs" points to the EmacsWiki page. It's also available as a package via Melpa.

Once installed you can toggle it on or off with M-x tabbar-mode. To turn it on at startup you can put the following in your init file.

(require 'tabbar)
(tabbar-mode 1)

If you're using Aquamacs, it's enabled by default and you can disable it at startup by putting the following in your init file.

(when (featurep 'aquamacs)
  (tabbar-mode -1))
  • Also: awesome-tab and centaur-tabs.
    – amitp
    Aug 22, 2019 at 15:01
  • With respect to the claim that tabbar-mode originated with Aquamacs, it would be interesting to see some documentation linking David Ponce (the original author of tabbar.el) with the Aquamacs project as it relates to that library.
    – lawlist
    Aug 22, 2019 at 18:30
  • Meh, I was wrong. At least I wasn't snarky about it.
    – nega
    Aug 23, 2019 at 14:48

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