Emacs question on the Mac

Hello all,
I finally got Emacs and Emacspeak installed on my Mac. How do I activate the tutorial in Emacs so I can learn how to use it? When I open it There is a welcome message that tells me about the tutorial and a couple of basic commands. There is also a tool pallet with a few options in it if I interact with it and along the bottom there is a few things like full screen and close. Thanks for any help on this.

Greg Wocher


How did you install emacs and

How did you install emacs and emac speak on mac OS?

As for your question emac speak is meant to function as a standalone solution, so UI do not think that VoiceOver should be used together with it. If you are relying on VoiceOver to use emacs then emac speak is probably not active. Emac and Emac speak are very specific topics, so I would join an e-mail list dedicated to the topic if such list exists.

Installation instructions

For installation instructions see here:


You may need to adjust the version number to install, as those instructions are not for the latest version of Emacspeak.

In terms of VoiceOver, you can run it alongside Emacspeak but it reads everything twice. So is not a good idea. Turn off voiceover and all text is read through the standard mac voice synthesiser so sounds like voiceover anyway.

In terms of the tutorial :


Is the shortcut. So press Control and H, release then press T.

I have bound space to the control key when pressed with another key. Stops all the finger gymnastics for all the shortcuts

Emacspeak not starting

Those are the exact instructions I followed. I did replace the version number with the newest one which is 48.0. For some reason emacspeak is not starting when I open emacs from the applications menu. How can I find out what might be going on? If I need to start all over how do I uninstall everything to start over?

Greg Wocher

Wow, Simon, how did you bind

Club AppleVis Member

Wow, Simon, how did you bind space like that? I went to the environments section of Customize, and bound Control to Command that way, but Space would be great too.

If Emacspeak is not starting, make sure you open your .emacs.el file and have
(load-file "~/Emacspeak/lisp/emacspeak-setup.el")
In the file, without smart quotes if they show up here.
This will definitely start Emacspeak. If that still doesn't work, make sure you've gone into the Emacspeak directory, wherever that is, on my system it's ~/emacspeak/ and
make config
make emacspeak
in the terminal. Projects downloaded from Github often must be "compiled." which usually means running
make config
to compile or "make" it.

Running emacs

To run Emacspeak, assuming you followed the instructions i linked.

Open the terminal and type:


The version of emacs under Applications is not the one you use with those instructions

Binding space to control

In order to bind space to control when pressed with another key.

Download karabiner

You will need one of the complex modifications.

Adding these opens a website. Navigate down to the expand all option. Then search for the word


You should find a modification that mentions space as control when pressed with another key. THat is the modification to install.

This process can be done with voiceover but is a little fiddly. If you can get some quick sighted assistance should be easy.


I followed the instructions line by line and I cannot get emacspeak to start up. How do I find this .emacs.el file? I used the finder to try and search for it but no luck.

Greg Wocher

Errors buffer

Club AppleVis Member

I remember struggling with getting Emacspeak to start after following the same instructions that Simon pointed out. You will need some sighted help to look at the errors buffer where you will know the reason for the Emacspeak startup failure.
I hope this helps.

errors buffer

How do I get to the errors buffer so I can let someone look at it?


First off I never meant my comments to be insulting in any way. If they came off that way I apologize for it. I am just getting more and more frustrated with my Mac the more I try and be productive with it. We never seem to be able to ask the hard questions that are of vital importance to those of us who use Voiceover on the Mac. I am also super frustrated at this everyone can code initiative they are talking about. As long as you use Swift Playgrounds on the iPad it is accessible. However when you move to the Mac it gets very, very frustrating trying to use XCode to code anything. We can't even use the simulator function of XCode to test our apps. We have to have a spare device sitting around so we can put the app on it to test. It has to be a spare device because an app could make the phone unusable if not careful. We have been submitting bug reports on trying to get this better but they never seem to be addressed.

Greg Wocher

Wo what happened here

Okay this is not the forum I was in. Somehow my comment on another thread got posted here instead of where it was meant to go. Ignore mhy comments thread here please.

Re: Errors buffer

Club AppleVis Member

Hello Greg,
It is on the screen that a sighted individual can see. Since Emacspeak is not working, we have no way to access it.

As regards your penultimate comment, I am with you on that . I am also wondering why the Swift playground is not accessible on the Mac?


As long as you need to use

As long as you need to use something more than google on safari on Mac things get divided into two cathegories: they are either completely inaccessible or conmpletely unuseable even if they are accessible.

Aple, by not taking care of XCode accessibility, is preventing that blind programmers can work productively and in similar conditions of sighted peers in corporations. We can't even debug a single case without a device and most corporations are not likely to buy a device only for you or allow you to use yours. If they did then it would be similar, because debugging without sight is a unbilievable nightmare on xcode, specially because the editor cursor does not follow the execution line pointer and so you just can not know where you are on the code, unless you forse one command each time you step a line. The variables and others inspectors are far far away from the code editor and the list goes and goes. Will Apple improve? Hard to believe, cinse they are not listenning. Xcode playgrounds is not accessible and the examples are clearly not built in a way that will allow young blind programmers to keep up with their sighted peers on say a programming colege or so. It is ironic that the most accessible platform for blind users is the very same that will in practical terms prevent blind people from build solutions to help theirselves. The phrase nothing for us without us has never been more false then ever when it comes to Apple development.

No errors

Hello all,
I had my Son look at the screen when I opened up emacs and there are no errors at all on the screen. I am guessing something went wrong in the emacspeak installation. How can I uninstall everything and start over from scratch? I do really want to get this up and working.

Greg Wocher

Accessibility for blind developers

I absolutely agree development tools on the mac are not where they need to be right now.

If you have the time and inclination would love to chat on creating some clear and concise documentation on what is accessible for developers for the mac.

Re: Erros buffer

Club AppleVis Member

Delete the directory you installed the Emacspeak program in. Also, make sure you do not have an .emacs file in your home directory. The init file for emacs needs to be in the Emacspeak directory as init.el.
Hope this helps.

Sure ... reach me at blindtec

Sure ... reach me at blindtec ad blindtec dot com dot br and let us create a group specifying what needs to be done to make it accessible.

I hhave thorougly looked at extending xcode it self and there were a way by reverse engineering some parts of xcode. While I do not have the time to do it, we could pay someone else to but Apple has disabled such plugins. In the other hand, an extension framework which absolutely does not offer access to the resources we would need to fix things was provided but it is ... well not useful at this time.

Finally got it working

Hello all,
I finally got Emacspeak working. It was the very last thing I had to copy into the terminal that was giving me the issue. I did not realize that I had to copy the " and the two greater than signs as well as the rest of the line. Once I copied everything in that last step, Emacspeak is now working. Next step is to do the tutorial.

Greg Wocher