where and which emacs to download for windows and mac?

Perm url with updates: http://xahlee.org/emacs/which_emacs.html

Which Emacs to Download?

Xah Lee, 2010-05-06

This page is a guide on what emacs distributions are there, which one you should use, for Windows and Mac.


GNU Emacs

This is the official GNU Emacs, build for Windows.


Just download, unzip, and use right there. No installation step needed.


NTEmacs is the latest build of GNU Emacs for Windows. Plain GNU Emacs for Windows.



This is a emacs distro build by Lennart Borgman. It is a emacs with Windows specific patches, with some extra elisp packages bundled.

Main feature includes the ability to use the Alt key to invoke menu like other Windows apps; fixes such as to make printing easier, makes emacs ftp work..., bundled nXhtml mode for mixed HTML/CSS/Javascript code, ...

Download at: ourcomments.org.

Download the patched version. Then, run the installer.


Main feature includes a ergonomic based emacs keyboard shortcut set, fixes so that many emacs features work in Windows, bundles the whole unix command tool utilities (grep, find, diff, patch... from MinGW), and bundles many Windows specific language modes. For detail, see: ErgoEmacs Features.

Download at: ErgoEmacs.org.

Download and run the installer. (disclaimer: me and David Capello made this one)

You shouldn't worry about downloading multiple version of emacs that might interfere with each other. I have all the above three installed.


GNU Emacs

EmacsForMacOSX.com. This is plain GNU Emacs, built for Mac OS X, by David Caldwell.

Alternatively, you can get Mac OS X built by Ian Eure at http://atomized.org/wp-content/cocoa-emacs-nightly/

Aquamacs Emacs

Aquamacs Emacs is a emacs with complete Mac user interface as much as possible.

Aquamacs's interface is similar to BBEdit or TextMate or in fact any modern Mac software. It uses the same keyboard shortcuts Mac users are familiar. Also uses tabs, multiple windows, pop up dialogs, Apple's help documentation system, etc., and bundles many extra packages, in particular LaTeX and AUCTeX support.

If you never used emacs before, or never used a text terminal or unix, this is a great choice.

Download at: aquamacs.org.

Carbon Emacs

Carbon Emacs is a emacs build designed for Mac. You get all options such as using Cmd or Opt key for Meta, drag and drop support, and anything specific for Mac, and with many bundled packages including AUCTeX, etc.

If you are a traditional emacs user, and want a emacs on the Mac, Carbon Emacs is a good choice.

Download at: Carbon Emacs.

My Recommendations

Personally, on Windows, i use my own distribution ErgoEmacs, of course. On the Mac, my choice is Carbon Emacs.

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