Change Emacs's Default Behavior

April 2022

People say you should leave Emacs's defaults unchanged.

Emacs is unbelievably customizable. Nearly any key can be changed. But there's advice given to rely on the defaults; they have been honed over years and years to be the best for everyone. I disagree.

What's best for everyone might not be best for you.

For example, C-z minimizes the Emacs frame. But I've never used it on purpose. I'd hit it by accident, surprising me when Emacs disappeared.

For nearly a decade, I hoped to get used to it. After all, haven't the default keybindings been carefully planned out? Aren't they perfect? I say no.

Your perfect configuration might be very different from someone else's.

Your needs are not the average user's needs, and your solutions should be different too. So change your Emacs to work with you.

You can override existing keybindings with improved functions:

But we can go further than replacing functions with better-behaved versions. Here are some other ways you might want to change Emacs's default behavior:

If you treat Emacs as unchangeable, you're missing out on the best parts.

After all, Emacs was made to let you change it.