Most Frequently Enabled Emacs Packages

As part of the Emacs-24.4 release, emacs-devel is conducting a survey to find out which vanilla GnuEmacs packages/modes people enable by default. The responses are in one big plain-text alphabetical list which isn’t really conducive to browsing.

I’ve gone through the most frequently enabled ones to see what they do. I figured others might be interested, so I’ve put the top ones in order of popularity, along with brief descriptions and links to the related pages if one exists. Enjoy!

  • uniquifyUniquify overrides the default mechanism for making buffer names unique (using suffixes like <2>, <3> etc.) with a more sensible behaviour which use parts of the file names to make the buffer names distinguishable. This will be turned on by default in 24.4.

  • column-number-mode – Displays which column the cursor is currently on in the mode line.

  • show-paren-modeshow-paren-mode allows you to see matching pairs of parentheses and other characters. When the cursor is on one of the paired characters, the other is highlighted.

  • ido-modeIdo lets you interactively do things with buffers and files. The Introduction to Ido Mode on Mastering Emacs does a much better job of explaining why and how you should use it.

  • transient-mark-modeTransient Mark mode gives you much of the standard selection-highlighting behavior of other editors. This is on by default in recent Emacsen.

  • ibufferIbuffer is an advanced replacement for BufferMenu, which lets you operate on buffers much in the same manner as Dired.

  • blink-cursor-mode – Toggle cursor blinking. This is on by default.

  • flyspell-modeFlyspell enables on-the-fly spell checking in Emacs by the means of a minor mode.

  • recentf-modeRecentf is a minor mode that builds a list of recently opened files. This list is is automatically saved across Emacs sessions. You can then access this list through a menu.

  • eldoc-modeEldoc-mode is a MinorMode which shows you, in the echo area, the argument list of the function call you are currently writing.

  • dired-xDired X provides extra functionality for DiredMode.

  • windmoveWind Move lets you move point from window to window using Shift and the arrow keys.

  • line-number-modeLine Numbers displays line numbers in a buffer, or otherwise indicates line numbers, without actually changing the buffer content.

  • winner-modeWinner Mode allows you to undo and redo changes in the window configuration with the key commands C-c left and C-c right.