I have been using emacs for long time, but have for some reason always used vi or nano while in terminal to do small edits. Probably because I felt emacs is much heavier and takes longer to start, especially because of all the packages that I have added to it.

Recently I decided to put a little bit of efort to figure out how to best use emacs for quick edits, as I am much more efficient in it. I found out that with flag -Q (which stands for “quick” - exactly what we need!) emacs runs without loading init file and showing initial screens, while with flag -nw it does not open a window but runs in terminal. I additionally wanted to hide menu bar, for which I used (menu-bar-mode -1).

Finally, I ended up adding following lines into my config.fish file (for bash you could put something very similar into .bashrc):

set -x EDITOR "emacs -Q -nw --eval='(menu-bar-mode -1)'"
alias e=$EDITOR

This sets emacs in “lightweight” mode as default editor in terminal, while I also have handy e command to call manually when editing files.

That is it, emacs all the way!