I've switched computers a few times recently, and somewhere along the way I lost my .emacs. I'm trying to build it up again, but while I'm at it, I thought I'd pick up other good configurations that other people use.

So, if you use Emacs, what's in your .emacs?

Mine is pretty barren right now, containing only:

  1. Global font-lock-mode! (global-font-lock-mode 1)
  2. My personal preferences with respect to indentation, tabs, and spaces.
  3. Use cperl-mode instead of perl-mode.
  4. A shortcut for compilation.

What do you think is useful?

+1  A: 
(put 'erase-buffer 'disabled nil)
(put 'downcase-region 'disabled nil)
(set-variable 'visible-bell t)
(set-variable 'tool-bar-mode nil)
(set-variable 'menu-bar-mode nil)

(setq load-path (cons (expand-file-name "/usr/share/doc/git-core/contrib/emacs") load-path))
 (require 'vc-git)
 (when (featurep 'vc-git) (add-to-list 'vc-handled-backends 'git))
 (require 'git)
 (autoload 'git-blame-mode "git-blame"
           "Minor mode for incremental blame for Git." t)
David Nehme
+5  A: 

You can look here:

And my .emacs is pretty long to put it here as well, so it will make the answer not too readable. Anyway, if you wish I can sent it to you.

Also I would recomend you to read this:

+3  A: 

Here are some key mappings that I've become dependent upon:

(global-set-key [(control \,)] 'goto-line)
(global-set-key [(control \.)] 'call-last-kbd-macro)
(global-set-key [(control tab)] 'indent-region)
(global-set-key [(control j)] 'join-line)
(global-set-key [f1] 'man)
(global-set-key [f2] 'igrep-find)
(global-set-key [f3] 'isearch-forward)
(global-set-key [f4] 'next-error)
(global-set-key [f5] 'gdb)
(global-set-key [f6] 'compile)
(global-set-key [f7] 'recompile)
(global-set-key [f8] 'shell)
(global-set-key [f9] 'find-next-matching-tag)
(global-set-key [f11] 'list-buffers)
(global-set-key [f12] 'shell)

Some other miscellaneous stuff, mostly for C++ development:

;; Use C++ mode for .h files (instead of plain-old C mode)
(setq auto-mode-alist (cons '("\\.h$" . c++-mode) auto-mode-alist))

;; Use python-mode for SCons files
(setq auto-mode-alist (cons '("SConstruct" . python-mode) auto-mode-alist))
(setq auto-mode-alist (cons '("SConscript" . python-mode) auto-mode-alist))

;; Parse CppUnit failure reports in compilation-mode
(require 'compile)
(setq compilation-error-regexp-alist
      (cons '("\\(!!!FAILURES!!!\nTest Results:\nRun:[^\n]*\n\n\n\\)?\\([0-9]+\\)) test: \\([^(]+\\)(F) line: \\([0-9]+\\) \\([^ \n]+\\)" 5 4)

;; Enable cmake-mode from
(require 'cmake-mode)
(setq auto-mode-alist
      (append '(("CMakeLists\\.txt\\'" . cmake-mode)
                ("\\.cmake\\'" . cmake-mode))

;; "M-x reload-buffer" will revert-buffer without requiring confirmation
(defun reload-buffer ()
  "revert-buffer without confirmation"
  (revert-buffer t t))
Kristopher Johnson
+6  A: 

This is not the whole kit and kaboodle, but it is some of the more useful snippets I've gathered:

(defadvice show-paren-function (after show-matching-paren-offscreen
  "If the matching paren is offscreen, show the matching line in the                               
echo area. Has no effect if the character before point is not of                                   
the syntax class ')'."
  (let ((matching-text nil))
    ;; Only call `blink-matching-open' if the character before point                               
    ;; is a close parentheses type character. Otherwise, there's not                               
    ;; really any point, and `blink-matching-open' would just echo                                 
    ;; "Mismatched parentheses", which gets really annoying.                                       
    (if (char-equal (char-syntax (char-before (point))) ?\))
        (setq matching-text (blink-matching-open)))
    (if (not (null matching-text))
        (message matching-text))))

;; UTF-8
;; set up unicode
(prefer-coding-system       'utf-8)
(set-default-coding-systems 'utf-8)
(set-terminal-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-keyboard-coding-system 'utf-8)
;; This from a japanese individual.  I hope it works.
(setq default-buffer-file-coding-system 'utf-8)
;; From Emacs wiki
(setq x-select-request-type '(UTF8_STRING COMPOUND_TEXT TEXT STRING))
;; Wwindows clipboard is UTF-16LE 
(set-clipboard-coding-system 'utf-16le-dos)

(defun jonnay-timestamp ()
  "Spit out the current time"
  (insert (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d")))

(defun jonnay-sign ()
  "spit out my name, email and the current time"
  (insert "-- Jonathan Arkell ([email protected])")

;; Cygwin requires some seriosu setting up to work the way i likes it
(message "Setting up Cygwin...")
(let* ((cygwin-root "c:")
       (cygwin-bin (concat cygwin-root "/bin"))
       (gambit-bin "/usr/local/Gambit-C/4.0b22/bin/")
       (snow-bin "/usr/local/snow/current/bin")
       (mysql-bin "/wamp/bin/mysql/mysql5.0.51a/bin/"))
   (setenv "PATH" (concat cygwin-bin ";" ;
           snow-bin ";" 
           gambit-bin ";"
           mysql-bin ";"
        (getenv "PATH"))
   (setq exec-path (cons cygwin-bin exec-path)))

(setq shell-file-name "bash")
(setq explicit-shell-file-name "bash")

(require 'cygwin-mount)
(message "Setting up Cygwin...Done")

; Completion isn't perfect, but close
(defun my-shell-setup ()
   "For Cygwin bash under Emacs 20+"
   (setq comint-scroll-show-maximum-output 'this)
   (setq comint-completion-addsuffix t)
   (setq comint-eol-on-send t)
   (setq w32-quote-process-args ?\")
   (make-variable-buffer-local 'comint-completion-addsuffix))

(setq shell-mode-hook 'my-shell-setup)
(add-hook 'emacs-startup-hook 'cygwin-shell)

; Change how home key works
(global-set-key [home] 'beginning-or-indentation)
(substitute-key-definition 'beginning-of-line 'beginning-or-indentation global-map)

(defun yank-and-down ()
  "Yank the text and go down a line."

(defun kill-syntax (&optional arg)
  "Kill ARG sets of syntax characters after point."
  (interactive "p")
  (let ((arg (or arg 1))
    (inc (if (and arg (< arg 0)) 1 -1))
    (opoint (point)))
    (while (not (= arg 0))
      (if (> arg 0)
      (skip-syntax-forward (string (char-syntax (char-after))))
    (skip-syntax-backward (string (char-syntax (char-before)))))
      (setq arg (+ arg inc)))
    (kill-region opoint (point))))

(defun kill-syntax-backward (&optional arg)
  "Kill ARG sets of syntax characters preceding point."
  (interactive "p")
  (kill-syntax (- 0 (or arg 1))))

(global-set-key [(control shift y)] 'yank-and-down)
(global-set-key [(shift backspace)] 'kill-syntax-backward)
(global-set-key [(shift delete)] 'kill-syntax)

(defun insert-file-name (arg filename)
  "Insert name of file FILENAME into buffer after point.
  Set mark after the inserted text.

  Prefixed with \\[universal-argument], expand the file name to
  its fully canocalized path.

  See `expand-file-name'."
  ;; Based on insert-file in Emacs -- ashawley 2008-09-26
  (interactive "*P\nfInsert file name: ")
  (if arg
      (insert (expand-file-name filename))
      (insert filename)))

(defun kill-ring-save-filename ()
  "Copy the current filename to the kill ring"
  (kill-new (buffer-file-name)))

(defun insert-file-name ()
  "Insert the name of the current file."
  (insert (buffer-file-name)))

(defun insert-directory-name ()
  "Insert the name of the current directory"
  (insert (file-name-directory (buffer-file-name))))

(defun jonnay-toggle-debug ()
  "Toggle debugging by toggling icicles, and debug on error"

(defvar programming-modes
  '(emacs-lisp-mode scheme-mode lisp-mode c-mode c++-mode 
    objc-mode latex-mode plain-tex-mode java-mode
    php-mode css-mode js2-mode nxml-mode nxhtml-mode)
  "List of modes related to programming")

; Text-mate style indenting
(defadvice yank (after indent-region activate)
  (if (member major-mode programming-modes)
      (indent-region (region-beginning) (region-end) nil)))
Jonathan Arkell
thanks a lot for the cygwin stuff
Thanks for helping me to recover 'show-paren-function, which I used to copy from my colleagues and my supervisors 20 years ago!
Yu Shen
+2  A: 

i use paredit for easy (e)lisp handling and ido-mode minibuffer completions.

+13  A: 

I have this to change yes or no prompt to y or n prompts:

(fset 'yes-or-no-p 'y-or-n-p)

I have these to start Emacs without so much "fanfare" which I got from this question.

(setq inhibit-startup-echo-area-message t)
(setq inhibit-startup-message t)

And Steve Yegge's function to rename a file that you're editing along with its corresponding buffer:

(defun rename-file-and-buffer (new-name)
  "Renames both current buffer and file it's visiting to NEW-NAME."
  (interactive "sNew name: ")
  (let ((name (buffer-name))
 (filename (buffer-file-name)))
    (if (not filename)
 (message "Buffer '%s' is not visiting a file!" name)
      (if (get-buffer new-name)
   (message "A buffer named '%s' already exists!" new-name)
   (rename-file name new-name 1)
   (rename-buffer new-name)
   (set-visited-file-name new-name)
   (set-buffer-modified-p nil))))))
Dave Webb
+20  A: 

My favorite snippet. The ultimate in Emacs eye candy:

;; real lisp hackers use the lambda character
;; courtesy of stefan monnier on c.l.l
(defun sm-lambda-mode-hook ()
   nil `(("\\<lambda\\>"
   (0 (progn (compose-region (match-beginning 0) (match-end 0)
        ,(make-char 'greek-iso8859-7 107))
(add-hook 'emacs-lisp-mode-hook 'sm-lambda-mode-hook)
(add-hook 'lisp-interactive-mode-hook 'sm-lamba-mode-hook)
(add-hook 'scheme-mode-hook 'sm-lambda-mode-hook)

So you see i.e. the following when editing lisp/scheme:

(global-set-key "^Cr" '(λ () (interactive) (revert-buffer t t nil)))
Jason Dufair
(eyes roll back in head, Cheeso falls over, catatonic)
+3  A: 

To refresh the webpage you're editing from within Emacs

(defun moz-connect()
  (make-comint "moz-buffer" (cons "" "4242"))
  (global-set-key "\C-x\C-g" '(lambda () 
       (comint-send-string "*moz-buffer*" "this.BrowserReload()\n"))))

Used in combination with

+9  A: 

One thing that can prove very useful: Before it gets too big, try to split it into multiple files for various tasks: My .emacs just sets my load-path and the loads a bunch of files - I've got all my mode-specific settings in mode-configs.el, keybindings in keys.el, et cetera

good idea... It's too late for me. Save yourself!
Brian Postow
+4  A: 

I have a lot of others that have already been mentioned, but these are absolutely necessary in my opinion:

(transient-mark-mode 1) ; makes the region visible
(line-number-mode 1)    ; makes the line number show up
(column-number-mode 1)  ; makes the column number show up
Adam Crume
+1  A: 

This block is the most important for me:

(setq locale-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-terminal-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-keyboard-coding-system 'utf-8)
(set-selection-coding-system 'utf-8)
(prefer-coding-system 'utf-8)

I've never been clear on the difference between those, though. Cargo cult, I guess...

Chris Dolan
+26  A: 

Use the ultimate dotfiles site. Add your '.emacs' here. Read the '.emacs' of others.

Accepted, as in some sense it encompasses all of the other answers. =)
A. Rex
+3  A: 

You can find my configuration (both in html & in tar'ed archive) on my site. It contains lot of settings for different modes

Alex Ott
+1  A: 

I set up some handy shortcuts to web pages and searches using webjump

(require 'webjump)
(global-set-key [f2] 'webjump)
(setq webjump-sites
      (append '(
     ("Reddit Search" .
      [simple-query "" "" ""])
     ("Google Image Search" .
      [simple-query "" "" ""])
     ("Flickr Search" .
      [simple-query "" "" ""])
     ("Astar algorithm" . 

Blog post about how this works here

Also I recommend these:

(setq visible-bell t) ; no beeping

(setq transient-mark-mode t) ; visually show region

(setq line-number-mode t) ; show line numbers

(setq global-font-lock-mode 1) ; everything should use fonts

(setq font-lock-maximum-decoration t)

Also I get rid of some of the superfluous gui stuff

  (if (fboundp 'scroll-bar-mode) (scroll-bar-mode -1))
  (if (fboundp 'tool-bar-mode) (tool-bar-mode -1))
  (if (fboundp 'menu-bar-mode) (menu-bar-mode -1)))

Anyone with a 4-line .emacs file is suspicious.


One line to amend the load path One line to load my init library One line to load my emacs init files

Of course, the "emacs init files" are quite numerous, one per specific thing, loaded in a deterministic order.

+3  A: 

It's hard to answer this question, because everyone uses Emacs for very different purposes.

Further more, a better practice may be to KISS your dotemacs. Since the Easy Customization Interface is widely supported amongst Emacs' modes, you should store all your customization in your custom-file (which may be a separate place in your dotemacs), and for the dotemacs, put in it only load path settings, package requires, hooks, and key bindings. Once you start using Emacs Starter Kit, a whole useful bunch of settings may removed from your dotemacs, too.

Török Gábor
+5  A: 

My .emacs is only 127 lines, here are the most useful little snippets:

;; keep backup files neatly out of the way in .~/
(setq backup-directory-alist '(("." . ".~")))

This makes the *~ files which I find clutter up the directory go into a special directory, in this case .~

;; uniquify changes conflicting buffer names from file<2> etc
(require 'uniquify)
(setq uniquify-buffer-name-style 'reverse)
(setq uniquify-separator "/")
(setq uniquify-after-kill-buffer-p t) ; rename after killing uniquified
(setq uniquify-ignore-buffers-re "^\\*") ; don't muck with special buffers

This sets up uniquify which changes those ugly file<2> etc. buffer names you get when multiple files have the same name into a much neater unambiguous name using as much of the whole path of the file as it has to.

That's about it... the rest is pretty standard stuff that I'm sure everyone knows about.


emacs-starter-kit as a base, then I've added.. vimpulse.el, whitespace.el, yasnippet, textmate.el and newsticker.el.

In my ~/.emacs.d/$USERNAME.el (dbr.el) file:

(add-to-list 'load-path (concat dotfiles-dir "/vendor/"))

;; Snippets
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/vendor/yasnippet/")
(require 'yasnippet)

(yas/load-directory "~/.emacs.d/vendor/yasnippet/snippets")

;; TextMate module
(require 'textmate)
(textmate-mode 'on)

;; Whitespace module
(require 'whitespace)
(add-hook 'ruby-mode-hook 'whitespace-mode)
(add-hook 'python-mode-hook 'whitespace-mode)

;; Misc
(flyspell-mode 'on)
(setq viper-mode t)
(require 'viper)
(require 'vimpulse)

;; IM
(eval-after-load 'rcirc '(require 'rcirc-color))
(setq rcirc-default-nick "_dbr")
(setq rcirc-default-user-name "_dbr")
(setq rcirc-default-user-full-name "_dbr")

(require 'jabber)

;;; Google Talk account
 '(jabber-connection-type (quote ssl))
 '(jabber-network-server "")
 '(jabber-port 5223)
 '(jabber-server "mysite.tld")
 '(jabber-username "myusername"))

;; Theme

;; Key bindings
(global-set-key (kbd "M-z") 'undo)
(global-set-key (kbd "M-s") 'save-buffer)
(global-set-key (kbd "M-S-z") 'redo)

Always save my config in svn


After reading this, I figured it would be good to have a simple site just for the best .emacs modifications. Feel free to post and vote on them here:


I try to keep my .emacs organized. The configuration will always be a work in progress, but I'm starting to be satisfied with the overall structure.

All stuff is under ~/.elisp, a directory that is under version control (I use git, if that's of interest). ~/.emacs simply points to ~/.elisp/dotemacs which itself just loads ~/.elisp/cfg/init. That file in turn imports various configuration files via require. This means that the configuration files need to behave like modes: they import stuff they depend on and they provide themselves at the end of the file, e.g. (provide 'my-ibuffer-cfg). I prefix all identifiers that are defined in my configuration with my-.

I organize the configuration in respect to modes/subjects/tasks, not by their technical implications, e.g. I don't have a separate config file in which all keybindings or faces are defined.

My init.el defines the following hook to make sure that Emacs recompiles configuration files whenever saved (compiled Elisp loads a lot faster but I don't want to do this step manually):

;; byte compile config file if changed
(add-hook 'after-save-hook
          '(lambda ()
                   (when (string-match
                          (concat (expand-file-name "~/.elisp/cfg/") ".*\.el$")
           (byte-compile-file buffer-file-name))))

This is the directory structure for ~/.elisp:

~/.elisp/ Org-mode file in which I keep track of stuff that still needs to be done (+ wish list items).

~/.elisp/dotemacs: Symlink target for ~/.emacs, loads ~/.elisp/cfg/init.

~/.elisp/cfg: My own configuration files.

~/.elisp/modes: Modes that consist only of a single file.

~/.elisp/packages: Sophisticated modes with lisp, documentation and probably resource files.

I use GNU Emacs, that version does not have real support for packages. Therefore I organize them manually, usually like this: ~/.elisp/packages/foobar-0.1.3 is the root directory for the package. Subdirectory lisp holds all the lisp files and info is where the documentation goes. ~/.elisp/packages/foobar is a symlink that points to the currently used version of the package so that I don't need to change my configuration files when I update something. For some packages I keep an ~/.elisp/packages/foobar.installation file around in which I keep notes about the installation process. For performance reasons I compile all elisp files in newly installed packages, should this not be the case by default.

+3  A: 

Here's a couple of my own stuff:

Inserts date in ISO 8601 format:

(defun insertdate ()
  (insert (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d")))

(global-set-key [(f5)] 'insertdate)

For C++ programmers, creates a class skeleton (class's name will be the same as the file name without extension):

(defun createclass ()
  (setq classname (file-name-sans-extension (file-name-nondirectory   buffer-file-name)))
  * " classname".h 
  * Author: Your Mom
  * Modified: " (format-time-string "%Y-%m-%d") "
  * Licence: GNU GPL
#ifndef "(upcase classname)"
#define "(upcase classname)"

class " classname "



Automatically create closing parentheses:

(setq skeleton-pair t)
(setq skeleton-pair-on-word t)
(global-set-key (kbd "[") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "(") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "{") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe) 
(global-set-key (kbd "<") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)

For Scala coders

;; Load the ensime lisp code...

(add-to-list 'load-path "ENSIME_ROOT/elisp/")

(require 'ensime)

;; This step causes the ensime-mode to be started whenever ;; scala-mode is started for a buffer. You may have to customize this step ;; if you're not using the standard scala mode.

(add-hook 'scala-mode-hook 'ensime-scala-mode-hook)

;; MINI HOWTO: ;; Open .scala file. M-x ensime (once per project)