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Configuring Emacs's Default Settings

Create a file in your home directory named .emacs with the Emacs Lisp
commands that you want to run every time Emacs starts up. You won't
see the file in the directory listing. (The leading '.' tells ls not
to display it, unless you use the -a command line switch with ls.)

Any kind of Emacs Lisp statement will work in the .emacs file,
including entire defuns. Emacs uses lisp variables and statements
extensively, and many of the editing functions are written in Emacs
Lisp. For example, to enable word wrapping whenever you edit a file
that ends with .txt, add the following statement. This is from the
Emacs Texinfo help document ( F1-i, then m Emacs Return):

(add-hook text-mode-hook
'(lambda () (auto-fill-mode 1)))

This adds a statement that calls a hook function whenever a text
editing mode is entered for that buffer. The value of text-mode-hook,
which is a variable, to auto-fill-mode, which is a function.

If you want to turn off the menu bar at the top of each Emacs frame,
add this statement:

(menu-bar-mode -1)

And if you want to include an Emacs Lisp program that someone has
written, like msb.el (an enhanced, pop-up buffer menu), make sure the
lisp file is in a directory where Emacs can find it (usually it will
be named Site-lisp), and add these statements in the .emacs file:

(require 'msb)
(msb-mode 1)

Most tasks have several possible solutions in Emacs Lisp. Any task
that can be programmed in Emacs Lisp is valid in the .emacs file. For
more information, consult the Texinfo documentation. There is also a
FAQ list for Emacs (refer to: What other FAQ's are there for Linux? ).

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