How To Install GNU Emacs


When was the last time a piece of software really wowed you? Emacs is one of those special programs that gives its users a unique sense of control, getting things done, and peace of mind (when used correctly). From software developers to writers and CEOs, there’s something in Emacs for everyone. So you’ve decided to install Emacs, and that’s what we cover in this guide.

How to install emacs on all systems

We’ll cover all the ways in which you can install Emacs:

For command line users, you may consider using Emacs as an alternate to nano or Vim. You may have already learned how to use Emacs in your Desktop environment and want a remote instance to use for editing files on your server.

Or, if you would simply prefer to have a more powerful command line editor available on your server, this is a guide you should follow. The steps for installing emacs on Linux desktop and server will be the same in your VPS environment.

NOTE: Installing Emacs on your server requires root access available on a VPS or Dedicated Server.

Which Emacs should I use? There are many different flavors and “ports” of Emacs available on the web. Some of the popular ones include Aquamacs and Spacemacs, which are best suited for a desktop operating system. In this article, I’m focusing on GNU Emacs because it is the classic Emacs version.

But if you’re interested in trying these various other flavors, you can find more information on their web pages:

These alternate ports of Emacs boast some impressive configurations for special purposes. Aquamacs is best suited for Mac OS users, with special configurations designed for that specific operating system. Meanwhile, Spacemacs was designed to help Vim users come over to Emacs. Thus, Spacemacs comes with default Vim commands installed. Another popular alternative, Doom Emacs, has proved popular in the Emacs community.

Install Emacs on Linux (Desktop or Server)

In order to install Emacs in Linux, you can check first to see if your operating system offers a graphical package manager or “shop.” If not, you can enter the following commands into any terminal emulator.

For systems in the Red Hat family, which includes CentOS (the default OS for the InMotion VPS package), you can use the yum command to get the version of Emacs available in the repository:

sudo yum install emacs

For the Debian family, including Ubuntu, you can run this command:

sudo apt-get install emacs

Mac OS Emacs Installation

Installation for the Mac OS operation is even easier than Linux. You don’t even need to open a command line. All you need to do is visit the official GNU Emacs for Mac OS website, download the installation the file, unzip it, and install as you would any other piece of software on the Mac.

Emacs for Windows

Executable files for the Windows operating system are available for download on the main GNU Emacs page.


Well done, you now know how to install GNU Emacs on a variety of systems. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop on below.

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