what is emacs and why use it?

emacs is a text-editor, which simply means that it is a program in which you can write text. Emacs allows you to work efficiently by never requiring you to touch your mouse or touchpad. Although it is often used by programmers to write code, you can really write pretty much anything in emacs: e-mails, blog posts, LaTeX, you name it.

In emacs, you use keyboard shortcuts to perform actions that you would normally use your mouse or touchpad for. For example: to move your cursor one character forward you press Control-f, to jump to the next word you press Alt-f, and to visit a different file you press Control-x Control-f. These keyboard shortcuts allow you to efficiently move your cursor through text, visit different files, and even take care of your e-mails, all while keeping your hands in QWERTY finger placement.

Although using a touchpad or mouse may feel intuitive, I find the constant repositioning of your hands before you can start typing again to distract me from what I am doing. For example, if I am writing and I spot a typo a few words back I can take care of it with a few keystrokes: I move my cursor back, correct the error, and can continue what I was writing seamlessly.

Emacs significantly decreases the delay between what you intend to do you on your computer and that intended action taking place. Emacs allows for a more efficient way of communicating with your computer and, more importantly, a much more pleasant workflow.