Emacs is a variety of things. I've been using it for years and use only a fraction of what it is capable of. It can be used to edit and manage files, among other things.

To edit a file using emacs type:

emacs filename

If you are creating a new file, filename is what you want to call the file. If you are editing an existing file, type the current filename. The file appears in your shell window.

Once the file opens you can move around using the arrow keys. To page down use control-v, and to page up use esc-v (or meta-v if you have a meta key). Remember, to use the escape key, you simply have to push it and release before hitting some other key, whereas the control key is similar to the shift key - you press and hold while you press another key.

Some emacs commands:

control-x control-s
save file
control-x control-c
quit emacs (file is not saved automatically)
control-x control-f
open another file in a new buffer.
control-x   o
swith back and forth between two buffers
cancels whatever is happening
forward search
escape x   replace-string <return>
type esc x and then the words replace-string, hit return and then type in the string you'd like to replace, followed by return.

So to write the file and quit emacs you would type: control-x control-s control-x control-c

Save-As (aka write file) : control-x control-w

To enable syntax coloring: you can add the following to your emacs config file (a file called .emacs in your home directory):

; Turn on font-lock in supported modes
(if (fboundp 'global-font-lock-mode)
    (global-font-lock-mode t))

; Maximum colors
(setq font-lock-maximum-decoration t)