Editing Efficiency and Emacs Serendipity

Published on Jun 9, 2022, by Junji Zhi

Squeezing the tiny editing efficiency

I used to bind Super and another key with the commands / functions that I repetitively use. It works well for the actions like counsel-buffer-or-recentf which I just press Command + T keys in my Mac keyboard.

It is a bit efficient than pressing M-x and type the command name.

Is it worth it if I can’t remember the keys?

I seem to have overdone it and ended up with lots of keybindings. When I actually need to use it occasionally, my first instinct was to try to remember what my keybinding was, and often forgotten.

Later I realized it is better to not bind the keybindings at all. Instead, just give the command or function a descriptive name, like jz/copy-relative-path, and always use M-x.

Yes, I lose a little editing efficiency, but I form a better long-term memory about the editing operations, and the functions available for me to use.

M-x and serendipity

Using M-x also comes with another unexpected benefits: With autocomplete, I sometimes learn about better commands in the drop-down and use them instead.


When I want to replace something inside a repo, I vaguely remember projectile has something like that, so I type: M-x proj replace.

Some commands show up. One is projectile-replace and the other is project-query-replace-regexp.

At that moment, I can slow down and ask myself if I want to use regex instead. If yes, I should pick the regex one instead.

Most Emacs commands are name meaningfully, and based on autocomplete and string fuzzy match, we could discover the relevant commands. We should take advantage of that.

Even if you spell brokenly, like typing partial words proj and repla, Emacs still finds the right spell for you and does its magic.

During the process I felt calm. I let Emacs teach me something new, and enhance my memory about Emacs verbiage along the way.

That's my Emacs serendipity.