Programming Tutorials

Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Emacs Lisp

Emacs Lisp is a dialect of the Lisp programming language. Lisp (derives from “LISt Processing”) is one of the oldest programming languages. It was invented in 1958, with the language being conceived by John McCarthy and is based on his paper “Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and Their Computation by Machine”. Over the years, Lisp has evolved into a family of programming languages.

Most of the Emacs integrated environment is written in the programming language called Emacs Lisp.

Although Emacs Lisp is usually thought of in association only with Emacs, it is a full computer programming language. You can use Emacs Lisp as you would any other programming language.

Here’s our recommended free tutorials to learn Emacs Lisp (elisp). If you want a more general introduction to Lisp, read our recommended free tutorials to learn Lisp.


1. An introduction to Emacs Lisp by Christian Johansen

This article is intended to help you get started with Lisp and extending Emacs using Emacs Lisp (elisp).

Read the tutorial


2. Learn elisp in Y minutes by Bastien Guerry

This gives an introduction to Emacs Lisp in 15 minutes.

Read the tutorial


3. Emacs Lisp Guide by Chris Done

This guide is targeted at programmers who are too busy to read through long tutorials and manuals, but who want to extend their editor.

Read the tutorial


4. Emergency Elisp by Steve Yegge

Emergency Elisp is an introduction to how to write C, Java or JavaScript code in Emacs Lisp, more or less.

Read the tutorial


5. Emacs Lisp by Mitch Fincher

This is a 54 point summary of the language. It’s useful as a reference.

Read the tutorial


All tutorials in this series:

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