Emacs Vs. VIM; Which One is Better

Emacs GNU Vs. Vim, which one is a better text editor for software engineers and developers in 2021? The topic is followed by a non-stop heated debate all around, and no one has concluded up till now.

Some say Vim is the best, while others prefer to go with Emacs. Read about Vim vs Vi from here.

The basic definitions of Emac and Vim:

Vim is an open-source and free-to-use text editing software that is released under the license of Vim and is designed to use it as both a command-line interface and as an application in the graphical user interface. It is involved in Linux, Mac OS, and BSD and was initially released 29 years ago, back in 1991.

Emacs is considered to be a group of cross-platform text editors that involves every type of editing and is characterized by their extensibility. It was first released 45 years ago in 1976 and is continually getting advanced with multiple new and exciting features.

Emacs Vs. VimA Quick Overview

Vim and Emacs both are text editors and are equally important to developers. Both have advantages and disadvantages with multiple features. If we talk about setup, then Vim is somehow far in the race, and if we talk about customization, then Emacs is winning the race.

Both are equally good in performance and support for operating systems; however, Emacs is more adaptable than Vim.

Let’s get into more details of both these editors.


Another fantastic fact about this editor is that it is a small application that a keyboard can entirely operate. No need to use a mouse or even menus for using Vim. Also, it is an all-time available software that can be used as a replacement for others when they refuse to get installed or are not functioning correctly. The user interface is quite beginner-friendly as you don’t need to learn any perplexing basics to get started with it.

This terminal-based application can also run on your cell phone and even allow you to edit texts on mobile devices. Check out best IDEs for ipad.

Script language

Vim editor is written in C language and Vim script.

Memory Required by Vim

Vim requires significantly less storage or memory space, and it starts much faster than any other software. Though it’s a good thing, it comes with limited adaptability.

User Interface

Vim has a well-designed and user-friendly interface that offers you tons of accessible features. The interface is more text-based and less visual, but it’s easy to access every function. Also, it gives you fast and more straightforward navigation commands with merely using a keyboard.

Usage of Vim

The usage of Vim is quite simple as you just have to open up a file in your pre-installed Vim software, make changes to the file, and that’s it. It doesn’t give you many options for editing or customization of your file; still, it’s better than many other editors. You can do a basic one-time setup and use it for editing every time you need.

Supported Operating systems and Languages

Vim supports and works truly well with Mac, Linux, HP-UX, BSD, and DOS using the Old-school Unix Environment. However, you can code or write programs in any of the languages you want to as Vim is quite flexible in this matter. It also gives you the option of creating conditional configuration while editing.

Advantages of Using Vim

Following are some of the significant advantages of using Vim as a text editor.

  • Vim is easy to install, and it gets installed by default in most of the Linux distributions.
  • Vim is compatible with a varied number of Operating systems, including Windows and macOS.
  • Vim requires low memory to install and is lightweight
  • It offers ultra-fast startup.
  • You can open multiple files to edit at a time.
  • This fantastic software is entirely keyboard operated and gives you the freedom of running it without using a mouse.
  • It offers faster navigation with the extensibility of configuration.
  • Vim is highly customizable and gives you multiple options for configuration setting and editing the file.


Here are some disadvantages of using Vim as a text editor.

  • Vim is challenging to learn for beginners.
  • It is not much compatible with the system’s clipboard so that users can copy and paste the necessary content easily.
  • Configuration is a bit tricky.
  • Customer support is not so praiseworthy.


Emacs is the best editing framework that allows you to open and edit multiple files at a time. It is much customizable that you can use it however you want to. It is also a keyboard-driven software that can perform almost every task, including language support, google search, email composition, internet browsing, and countless other chores.

Script Language 

Emacs is written in Lisp and C language.

Memory Required By Emacs.

Emacs, unlike Vim, requires more time for launching and ultimately more memory. But at the same time, it is more adaptable and customizable too. So every editor has its own flaws and strengths. It would be best if you only choose according to what your preferences are.

User Interface

The older versions of Emacs are more text-based, but the newer ones are getting modern and heading towards a classical layout. In newer ones, it is easy for a user to perform every task related to editing files.

Emacs Usage

Emacs, unlike Vim, gives you a wide variety of options to edit the text as you can do a lot of things inside this program. It doesn’t allow you to use it without any configuration, but this feature can be ignored as it offers Spacemacs configuration with hundreds of exciting options.

You can 

  • Edit your files with multiple customizable options, 
  • Take notes in it, 
  • Use it for organization games
  • Web browsing 
  • Listen to your favorite music

Supported Operating Systems and Languages.

Emacs supports Java, Ruby, Lisp and Perl within Unix systems. 

Advantages of Emacs

Here are some exciting benefits that you can avail yourself of while using Emacs as your text editor.

  • If we talk about the setup, then Emacs is actually very fast to set up.
  • Dotted files for configurations make synchronization among two devices very easy.
  • The performance of Emacs is genuinely commendable as you can edit multiple files at a time with several editing options.
  • Emacs comes with an easy to use interface.
  • Also, Emacs supports multiple languages within various operating systems to use with whatever OS you are currently using.
  • You can operate this software wholly by using a keyboard as it allows cursor movement too with only a keyboard.

Disadvantages of Emacs

Here is what we disliked about Emacs

  • Like Vim, Emacs is also not so easy to learn. But if you are a picky and consistent person, you can definitely learn how to use it within no time.
  • Emacs doesn’t have precise or updated documentation. All of them are outdated and difficult to read.

Final Words

That was all for now, as we have shared our thoughts upon Vim and Emacs to help you finalize your decision. Also, we have jotted down the pros and cons of both text editors to make it easier for you to decide which one is best to use.

If you want to go with our choice, then we would recommend Vim as it is a bit more efficient than Emacs according to our point of view. But again, as we all have our own choices, you can choose whatever you think is best. 

Still, if you are confused, try both the editors and experience their features. It will give you a more apparent look at both.

Don’t forget to share your precious feedback with us.