Science and technology

three Emacs modes for taking notes

No matter what line of labor you are in, it is inevitable it’s important to take just a few notes. Often, various. If you are like many individuals at the moment, you are taking your notes digitally.

Open supply fanatics have quite a lot of choices for jotting down their concepts, ideas, and analysis in digital format. You would possibly use a web-based tool. You would possibly go for a desktop application. Or, you would possibly turn to the command line.

If you utilize Emacs, that fantastic working system disguised as a textual content editor, there are modes that may show you how to take notes extra effectively. Let’s take a look at three of them.


On these uncommon events I am compelled to make use of a Mac, there’s one instrument I am unable to do with out: the nvALT note-taking software. Deft mode brings the nvALT expertise to Emacs.

Deft shops your notes as textual content information in a single folder in your pc. When you enter Deft mode, it shows an inventory of your notes together with a brief abstract. The abstract is taken from the primary line of the textual content file. If you add, say, Markdown, LaTeX, and even Emacs Org mode formatting to the primary line, Deft ignores the formatting and shows solely the textual content.

To open a word, simply scroll right down to it and press Enter. Deft does a bit extra, although. According to Deft’s developer, Jason Blevins, its major operation is looking out and filtering. Deft does that merely however effectively. Type a key phrase and Deft shows solely the notes which have that key phrase of their title. That’s helpful if in case you have numerous notes and need to discover one shortly.

Org mode

There can be a pair or three individuals who would have jumped throughout me if I did not embrace Org mode on this article. Why? It’s arguably essentially the most versatile and essentially the most broadly used Emacs mode for taking notes. Used in the suitable manner, Org mode can supercharge your note-taking.

Org mode’s primary energy is the way it organizes your notes. In Org mode, a word file is ready up as a big define. Each part is a node within the define, which you’ll be able to develop and collapse. Those sections can have subsections, which additionally develop and collapse. That not solely enables you to concentrate on one part at a time, but it surely additionally provides you an at-a-glance overview of the knowledge you’ve got.

You can link between sections of your notes, shortly transfer sections with out slicing and pasting, and attach files to your notes. Org mode helps character formatting and tables. If that you must convert your notes to one thing else, Org mode has numerous export options.


When I began utilizing Emacs repeatedly, howm shortly grew to become one of many modes I leaned closely on. And regardless that I am deep into utilizing Org mode, I nonetheless have a tender spot for howm.

Howm acts like a small wiki. You can create notes and process lists and hyperlink between them. By typing or clicking a hyperlink, you’ll be able to bounce between notes. If that you must, you may also tag your notes with a key phrase. On prime of that, you’ll be able to search, type, and concatenate your notes.

Howm is not the prettiest Emacs mode, and it would not have the perfect UX. It takes a little bit of getting used to. Once you do, taking and maneuvering round notes is a breeze. 

Do you’ve got a favourite Emacs mode for taking notes? Feel free to share it by leaving a remark.

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