[OS X Emacs] emacs Latex word/expression auto-completion

Adrian adrian.down at gmail.com
Thu Oct 9 11:24:24 EDT 2008

Hi Wishi,
You can define abbrevs in emacs that work like auto-completions.  However,
these are not ideal for LaTeX.  I used to use AlphaX as a text editor, which
had a great completions system, and I agree that it's something that Emacs
seems to be sorely lacking.

For more information about abbrevs, how they work, and how to define them,
you might check out this chapter in the Emacs manual:
http://www.cs.utah.edu/dept/old/texinfo/emacs19/emacs_28.html.  There is
also a handy page on how to define your own abbrevs in a file rather than
defining each one individually at the command line as the Emacs manual
suggests: http://www.math.umn.edu/~aoleg/emacs/latex.shtml.

A few caveats, however:
1) The second reference above is for xemacs, so you might have to change a
bit of the syntax.  I got it mostly working with Aquamacs if you need more
2) Abbrevs beginning with a "\" character don't work!  For example, "\a"
will not expand to "\alpha".  Any abbrev beginning with a "\" character
seems to fail, even those defined at the command line.  I sent a message to
this group yesterday about this problem, but I have yet to hear anything

Until someone else replies back with a better suggestion (and I really hope,
for Emacs' sake, that there is a better option), slash-less abbrevs are the
best I can offer.

Happy TeXing,

2008/10/9 wishi <brouce at gmx.net>

> Hi fellows!
> I'm writing lots of math-stuff at the moment, in LaTeX. Auctex in
> Aquamacs emacs (pre-installed) comes in very handy. But what I'm
> missing, being not a really sophisticated emacs user: where's something
> like Tab-Completion for Latex (or other) expressions? Sometimes they are
> really long ;).
> I got to know emacs can everything. Well... ;) Can I complete words,
> just like an IDE can, hitting Tab?
> If someone knows a nifty default option I can put in my .emacs to enable
> that by default - would be great.
> Another question: If I want to create a Tab, to format my source-code a
> little better, emacs resists doing that. I don't know... seems to be a
> little wired having 20 matrices. Is there any option to make that
> possible, too?
> Thanks in advance,
> wishi
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