3.3 21 Sep 2016

Emacs editor.


Developer website: David Reitter

Aquamacs is the Emacs editor that Mac users love. Aquamacs lets you write text from LaTeX manuscripts to to-do lists, from C to Cobol, Java, Python, Shell-script, Lisp, everything! Aquamacs looks and behaves like other Mac programs - even though it's still the powerful GNU Emacs with all the extensibility that millions have come to appreciate.

Emacs is a text editor of legendary power and configurability, but it also has a complex user interface that is very, very different from the familiar Mac way of doing things. Aquamacs tames the Emacs tiger: you get standard Apple shortcuts (in addition to the Emacs ones), nice fonts, tabs or one file per window, international input methods, Apple Help manuals and more. Aquamacs comes with a range of modes for various markup and programming languages: HTML, C/C++, Java, Python, Perl, AppleScript, Tcl, XML, R (S)... These modes have extra functions for the languages, including excellent syntax highlighting. You can even use Aquamacs to read news and e-mail, just like any Emacs.

Note: While the software is classified as free, it is actually donationware. Please consider making a donation to help support development.

What's New

Version 3.3:

Note: Now requires OS X 10.9 or later

  • Improved undo (for deletion of characters).
  • Improved Unicode support (see NEWS for details)
  • Search functions (Command-F / C-s) are now more flexible in matching characters. Configure `search-default-mode' to turn this off.
  • Tramp supports afp for Apple File Servers.
  • The new command 'vc-region-history' shows the log+diff of the active region.
  • 'compare-windows' now compares text with the most recently selected window instead of the next window.
  • C-h k KEY will now tell you not only what this key command does, but also in which keymap it is bound to the command. This is useful especially in Aquamacs if you would like to override a key binding.
  • 'setq' and 'setf' must now be called with an even number of arguments.
  • (Multicolor fonts remain supported on Aquamacs.)
  • MELPA is now available as a source of packages to install. The Options menu has a Manage Emacs Packages command.
  • The Copy Formatted function (formerly Copy Styled as HTML) is now compatible with any Mac application that can insert formatted documents, including Apple's Keynote and Pages, as well as MS Word. The Copy as PDF function exports a small PDF clipping with the region that is widely usable, including in MS Powerpoint.
  • The color for printing text is now always black unless fontification chooses a different color. If a dark background is used, colors for black-on-white printing are always darkened. (Configure with `htmlize-white-background'.)
  • Aquamacs 3.3 is compatible with macOS 10.12 Sierra.
  • Aquamacs is again usuable from a text terminal (start with -nw), with backspace and C-h being recognized properly.
  • The commandline tools installation function has been updated for OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
  • A script called emacs is provided that will start Aquamacs on the command line (in a text terminal) in a mode that starts up rapidly and provides UI compatibility with GNU Emacs (rather than Aquamacs). This is installed by the command Install Command Line Tools (Tools menu, or M-x aquamacs-install-command-line-tool). The emacs script is non-relocatable and needs to remain in the Aquamacs bundle. You may link to it.
  • filladapt mode is no longer automatically activated, as it hinders compatibility with some modes. Emacs now provides improved filling on its own. Filladapt continues to be available to users who need it. It can be loaded by adding (require 'filladapt) to the Preferences.el file.
  • Apple Emoji symbols can now be displayed.
  • Cc-mode is about 30% faster in displaying code and scrolling.
  • Swift-mode (version 0.5.0-snapshot) provided for editing Swift files.
  • Python-mode updated to version 6.2.2 (was: 6.1.3).
  • Emacs Speaks Statistics (ESS) has been upgraded to 16.04 (was: 14.09). The change brings automatic code formatting and improved indentation, among other features.
  • AUCTeX has been updated to version 11.89 (from version 11.88). Notably, there is now a ``Compile and View'' function (bound to C-c C-A).
  • Prevent a hang condition or crash during automatic startup after reboot or login.
  • Errors in default frame settings are caught and properly reported at startup now.
  • Prevent a crash when viewing a LaTeX PDF file in Skim.
  • Prevent crashes when, after display of save or print panels, certain keys (enter) were pressed.
  • Improve maximization behavior of frames (Option-click into green window button).


  • OS X 10.9 or later


Current Version (3.x)


Version Downloads
Development / Editors
21 Sep 2016
Intel 64 / OS X