The terminal interface to Emacs is marvelous and I like how it handles parentheses.

I have two questions as I'm trying to move to Emacs as both a writing and coding environment.

I installed a minimal Emacs distribution that uses Evil key bindings. My muscle memory is used to Vim and somewhat to CUA. Using Evil I feel fairly productive right away.

Question 1) Is there a balance to learning pure-Emacs key bindings vs. a 'distribution' or key binding package? Do you lose out on Emacs way of doing things? Does this also make following documentation more difficult?

Question 2) Using Emacs as a plain text writing environment, it seems that the editor allows infinitely long lines with no CR or \N. Is there a way to get **hard-line returns ** automatically (say at 80 or 100 characters)? I've been able to fix this in some editors, but I can't figure this out with Emacs.

My workaround at the moment is to use the par or fmt utility after saving the file.

1 Answer 1


Question 1 has no objective answer, so is better suited to a discussion forum rather than stackexchange.

Question 2: you can turn on auto-fill-mode which will hard wrap text automatically once you exceed the number of columns specified by the variable fill-column (default = 70). You can also manually reflow the text using M-x fill-paragraph or evil-fill-and-move (default binding is g q / g q i p for inner paragraph).

  • On question #1, fair enough. On question # 2 - this helps a bunch. I just needed the right function name to look up. Since this can also be file-type dependent, I added a line (add-hook 'tex-mode-hook 'turn-on-auto-fill) so that it only effects tex files.
    – Xiotz
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 13:55

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