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Entering and Exiting Emacs

The usual way to invoke Emacs is to type emacs RET at the shell (for XEmacs, type xemacs RET). Emacs clears the screen and then displays an initial advisory message and copyright notice. You can begin typing Emacs commands immediately afterward.

Some operating systems insist on discarding all type-ahead when Emacs starts up; they give Emacs no way to prevent this. Therefore, it is wise to wait until Emacs clears the screen before typing the first editing command.

Before Emacs reads the first command, you have not had a chance to give a command to specify a file to edit. Since Emacs must always have a current buffer for editing, it presents a buffer, by default, a buffer named `*scratch*'. The buffer is in Lisp Interaction mode; you can use it to type Lisp expressions and evaluate them, or you can ignore that capability and simply doodle. You can specify a different major mode for this buffer by setting the variable initial-major-mode in your init file. See section The Init File, .emacs.

It is possible to give Emacs arguments in the shell command line to specify files to visit, Lisp files to load, and functions to call.

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