[Home] - [Emacs: Home | Installing | Links | Screenshots]

Installing Emacs

Two programs are used to created the file containing all the Emacs files. Tar is the Tape Archiver and is used for back-up purposes. When creating the the Emacs distribution Tar is used to create one big file containing all the needed files. GZip is a compression program, that will reduce the size of a file. Don't confuse GZip with the popular Zip archiver.

Windows 9X/NT/2K/XP

A native version for Windows exists, and it is the version I recomend using. Alternativly you could use the version that comes with Cygwin, but it is either a console version or relies on X Window System.

Installing Emacs on a Windows system is quite simple, and consists of the following steps:

  1. Download the latest version of Emacs. The download directory contains several files, download the one called emacs-XX.Y-bin-i386.tar.gz (where XX.Y is the version number, currently 21.3).
  2. Unpack the the archive you just downloaded - most archiving software can unpack the Tar/GZip-archive, used for distribution Emacs. Because Emacs is such a large program, and in many ways a system within the (operating) system I prefer to installed it into C:\Emacs. You should end up with a directory called emacs-XX.Y in this main directory.
  3. Run the program C:\Emacs\emacs-XX.Y\bin\addpm.exe. This will add short cuts to Emacs in your Programs menu.
  4. Create two additional directories: They will be used for third party programs and lisp code, that are not part of Emacs.


All mayor Linux distributions comes with Emacs. It might not be installed by default, but it should be quite easy to install.

If Emacs does not exists (or work) for your Linux distribution, you could build it yourself. See the next section on how to build Emacs.


Emacs exists for most common Unix systems, alternatively you could build it yourself.

I've not tried building Emacs. It is huge. The source code, when unpacked, consists of 1.734.584 lines of code (including comments) in 2553 files using 73 MB of diskspace. And you need at least 120 MB additional free space to build it.

Build Emacs should be as easy a performing the following:

  1. Unpack the source code
  2. Change to the directory containing source code (emacs-XX.Y)
  3. Run ./configure - this will take some time
  4. Run make - this will take even longer time
  5. Run make install

If you have build other open source programs you're proberly familiar with the above steps.

Copyright ©2004 Søren Lund http://soren_lund.tripod.com/emacs/install.shtml Latest update: Tuesday, 27-Jul-2004 07:27:29 EDT