Are you sure you indeed need to go to a line by its number? Perhaps all
you want is to display a line in your source file for which a compiler
printed an error message? If so, compiling from within Emacs using the
M-x compile and M-x recompile commands is a much more
effective way of doing that. Emacs automatically intercepts the compile
error messages, inserts them into a special buffer called
*compilation*, and lets you visit the locus of each message in
the source. Type C-x ` to step through the offending lines one by
one (starting with Emacs 22, you can also use M-g M-p and
M-g M-n to go to the previous and next matches directly). Click
Mouse-2 or press <RET> on a message text in the
*compilation* buffer to go to the line whose number is mentioned
in that message.
But if you indeed need to go to a certain text line, type M-g M-g
(which is the default binding of the
goto-line function starting
with Emacs 22). Emacs will prompt you for the number of the line and go
to that line.
You can do this faster by invoking
goto-line with a numeric
argument that is the line's number. For example, C-u 286 M-g M-g
will jump to line number 286 in the current buffer.