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Where does a begginer begin

From: bre
Subject: Where does a begginer begin
Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2011 13:49:29 -0700 (PDT)

I've been using emacs for basic text editing here and there for a few years

I've never been able to get very far in customizing it, and doing anything
beyond text edition, because any documentation sites intended to be helpful
I come across seems to assume way more knowledge than I have. 

For example, today I wanted to figure out how to make a latex template that
is loaded when I create a .tex file. 

The simplest way to do it seems to be auto-insert mode. But how to use
auto-insert mode?

OK, this website has some information:

but notice they have a bunch of elisp code, and never tell you where to
enter the elisp code it gives? Do I put it in a file? Do I put it in
*scratch*?  I tried the scratch pad, but I got all kinds of strange results,
and the end it simply didn't work. 

Is emacs documentation this hopeless? This is just one example. I have a
difficult time doing anything beyond basic text editing with emacs, because
of this documentation issue. All documentation seems to assume either the
person is a complete beginner, giving basic text editing documentation. Or
assume the person is quite familiar with it. There seems to be a big gap in
between. Anybody else have this problem? 
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