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Tags: vim editor emacs spacemacs
Clipped on: 2019-03-07

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A community-driven Emacs distribution - The best editor is neither Emacs nor Vim, it's Emacs *and* Vim!
Branch: develop
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Image (Asset 3/16) alt= .circleci [CI] remove fmt step for docs - now it is a substep 4 months ago .github Improve documentation for issues, PR, change log 2 months ago .travisci TravisCI build docs/site from HEAD a month ago assets Update badge to follow guidelines 3 years ago core custom setting: don't write to dotfile before loading all of them 17 days ago doc Change `helm-apropos` from `SPC h d d` to `SPC h d a` 17 days ago layers Ivy: Add `SPC h d a` counsel-apropos 17 days ago news Reformat documentation 5 months ago private Add templates layer (thanks YasuharuIida) 10 months ago tests tests: fix mocks for spacemacs/update-progress-bar 8 months ago .gitignore Include magit/forge SQLite db file in .gitignore 2 months ago .lock core: for elpa dir, replace branch name by a variable set in .lock a year ago .projectile Correct Projectile root file with syntax to exclude paths 4 years ago .travis.yml TravisCI build docs/site from HEAD a month ago CHANGELOG.develop Ivy: Add `SPC h d a` counsel-apropos 17 days ago documentation fixes: Tue Oct 23 14:18:21 UTC 2018 5 months ago Reformat documentation 5 months ago Fix link to forge setup instructions 2 months ago Dockerfile.emacs25 Load docker env vars via user config hook a month ago Dockerfile.snapshot Load docker env vars via user config hook a month ago Reformat documentation 5 months ago added emacs-plus instructions for installation 10 months ago dump-init.el Add support for dumping Spacemacs 10 months ago early-init.el Fix package initialization on Emacs 27 a year ago init.el Allow setting of server-socket-dir in .spacemacs 9 months ago Happy New Year 2018! a year ago

Image (Asset 4/16) alt=

Image (Asset 5/16) alt=Introduction

Spacemacs is a new way of experiencing Emacs -- it's a sophisticated and polished set-up, focused on ergonomics, mnemonics and consistency.

Just clone and launch it, then press the space bar to explore the interactive list of carefully-chosen key bindings. You can also press the home buffer's [?] button for some great first key bindings to try.

Spacemacs can be used naturally by both Emacs and Vim users -- you can even mix the two editing styles. Being able to quickly switch between input styles, makes Spacemacs a great tool for pair-programming.

Spacemacs is currently in beta, and any contributions are very welcome.

Image (Asset 6/16) alt=Features

  • Great documentation: access the Spacemacs documentation with SPC h SPC.
  • Beautiful GUI: you'll love the distraction free UI and its functional mode-line.
  • Excellent ergonomics: all the key bindings are accessible by pressing the space bar or alt-m.
  • Mnemonic key bindings: commands have mnemonic prefixes like SPC b for all the buffer commands or SPC p for the project commands.
  • Batteries included: discover hundreds of ready-to-use packages nicely organised in configuration layers following a set of conventions.


Comprehensive documentation is available for each layer by pressing SPC h SPC.

You can also check the general documentation, quick start guide and the FAQ.

Getting Help

If you need help, ask your question in the Gitter Chat and a member of the community will help you out.

If you prefer IRC, connect to the Gitter Chat IRC server and join the #syl20bnr/spacemacs channel.


Spacemacs is an extension of a popular text editor called Emacs. Thus you need to first install base Emacs and then download the Spacemacs extension files with Git.


Spacemacs requires Emacs 25.1 or above. The development version of Emacs is not officially supported, but it should nevertheless be expected to work.

Some modes require third-party tools that you'll have to install via your favorite package manager.

Linux distros

Install the emacs package with your linux distributions package manager.

Do not install the xemacs package. It's not supported by Spacemacs. XEmacs is an old fork of Emacs. The X in its name is unrelated to X11.

Emacs has graphical support.

Note: The Ubuntu LTS 12.04 and 14.04 repositories only have Emacs version 24.3 available. Version 25.1 or greater needs to be built from source. This might also be true for other linux distributions.


Install emacs

Using emacs-plus
brew tap d12frosted/emacs-plus
brew install emacs-plus
ln -s /usr/local/Cellar/emacs-plus/*/ /Applications/
Using emacs-mac
brew tap railwaycat/emacsmacport
brew install emacs-mac

Copy and paste the symlink (ln) from the install instructions if brew linkapps is deprecated.

Using cask

Homebrew now recommends to use the cask version with the following message: "Please try the Cask for a better-supported Cocoa version". To install the cask version:

brew cask install emacs

This installs a pre-built package from

Other ways

If you're not comfortable with the ways mentioned above, then EmacsWiki lists down a few ways to install Emacs for Mac OS.

Install Source Code Pro font

Once Emacs is installed, run the following commands in the terminal to install the default Source Code Pro font:

brew tap caskroom/fonts
brew cask install font-source-code-pro

Install Spacemacs

git clone ~/.emacs.d

Notes: After completing the Spacemacs install process, then it's also recommended to add the osx layer to your dotfile. Installation instructions are available in the documentation for the osx layer.


You can download good quality builds from the emacs-w64 project. It is recommended to install the most recent stable build.

You'll also need gzip and put it in your path, to download it go to the GNUWin32 project page

Be sure to declare an environment variable named HOME that's pointing to your user directory C:\Users\<username>. Then you can clone Spacemacs into that directory.

Sometimes you'll get the following error when you first start Emacs:

The directory ~/.emacs.d/server is unsafe

To fix it change the owner of the directory ~/.emacs.d/server:

  • from Properties select the Tab “Security”,
  • select the button “Advanced”,
  • select the Tab “Owner”
  • change the owner to your account name

Source: Stack Overflow

For efficient searches we recommend installing pt (the platinum searcher). pt version 1.7.7 or higher is required.


Default installation

  1. If you have an existing Emacs configuration, back it up first by running the following code in your terminal:

    cd ~
    mv .emacs.d .emacs.d.bak
    mv .emacs .emacs.bak

    Don't forget to backup and remove the ~/.emacs file. Otherwise Spacemacs WILL NOT be able to load. Because that file prevents Emacs from loading the proper initialization file.

  2. Clone the repository with Git:

    git clone ~/.emacs.d

    master is the stable branch and it is immutable, DO NOT make any modification to it or you will break the update mechanism. If you want to fork Spacemacs safely, use the develop branch where you'll handle updates manually.

    Note for Windows users If you use windows, then you'll have to modify the git command by inserting the correct path to your .emacs.d folder. The dot before the folder means that it's hidden. You'll have to search for hidden files to find the folder. When you have found the folder, substitute the original path with the correct one. The proper code would look something like this:

    git clone /path/to/your/.emacs.d
  3. Install the default fonts

    It's recommended to install Source Code Pro by Adobe, as the default font. It ensures that, for example the symbols on the modeline (bottom bar) looks correct. It's also recommended to use a "Fallback font". These depend on the system:

    • GNU/Linux: NanumGothic (package named fonts-nanum on Debian, for example)
    • macOS: Arial Unicode MS
    • Windows: MS Gothic or Lucida Sans Unicode

    If the modeline doesn't look similar to the picture at the top of this page, then make sure you have the correct fallback font installed.

    If you're running in a terminal then you'll also need to change the terminals font settings.

  4. Launch Emacs, and answer the questions in the Dotfile wizard installer. If you are new to Emacs and Spacemacs, then it's fine to just accept the default choices. It's easy to try the other choices later, without having to reinstall Spacemacs. They can be changed in the dotfile ~/.spacemacs.

    After answering the questions, then Spacemacs starts downloading and installing the packages it requires. When the packages have been installed. Restart Emacs to complete the installation.

Notes: If you get an error regarding package downloads, then you can try to disable the HTTPS protocol by starting Emacs with the --insecure argument:

emacs --insecure

Or you can set the dotspacemacs-elpa-https variable to nil in your dotfile ~/.spacemacs. That will remove the need to start Emacs with the --insecure argument. You may also want to clear out your .emacs.d/elpa directory before doing this, so that any corrupted packages you may have downloaded will be re-installed.

error: Package 'package-build-' is unavailable may occur due to heavy network taffic. You can fix it by setting the dotspacemacs-elpa-timeout variable to 70 in your dotfile.

Warning (bytecomp) and other compilation warnings are perfectly normal. If you're curious, you can find out why these occur here.

If the mode-line turns red then be sure to consult the FAQ.

Alternative installations

There are currently, two supported, alternative locations, for a Spacemacs configuration.

Modify HOME environment variable

This solution is ideal for quickly trying Spacemacs without compromising your existing configuration. Clone Spacemacs outside the Emacs dotdirectory ~/.emacs.d and modify the HOME environment variable.

mkdir ~/spacemacs
git clone ~/spacemacs/.emacs.d
HOME=~/spacemacs emacs

Note: If you're using the Fish shell, then you'll need to modify the last command to: env HOME=$HOME/spacemacs emacs

Modify spacemacs-start-directory variable

This solution is better suited to "embed" Spacemacs into your own configuration. If you've cloned Spacemacs into ~/.emacs.d/spacemacs/, then drop the following lines in the ~/.emacs.d/init.el file:

(setq spacemacs-start-directory "~/.emacs.d/spacemacs/")
(load-file (concat spacemacs-start-directory "init.el"))

Spacemacs logo

For Ubuntu users, follow this guide to change the logo in Unity.

For Mac users, you need to download the .icns version of the logo, then change the logo on the Dock.


Spacemacs shows a notification when a new version is available (only when you are on the default master branch). If you are on the develop branch then you'll have to update the Spacemacs repository manually.

Automatic update (on master branch)

When a new version is available then a little arrow appears in the mode-line.

Its color depends on the number of versions that have been released since your last update. Green means that you have a recent version, orange and red means that you have an older version.

Image (Asset 7/16) alt=Manual update (on master branch)

Remove the < and > angle brackets when you're typing the lines below into your shell. And replace the text: "tag version which you are updating to" with a tagged version. This page lists the latest tags

git fetch
git reset --hard <tag version which you are updating to>

On develop branch

  1. Close Emacs and update the git repository:

    git pull --rebase
  2. Restart Emacs to complete the upgrade.

Revert to a specific version

To revert to a specific version, just checkout the corresponding branch. For instance to revert to version 0.200, type the following command:

git checkout origin/release-0.200

After updating Spacemacs (either manually or automatically), then you also should check if any updates are available for your packages. On the Spacemacs Home Buffer SPC b h, click (press RET) on the [Update Packages] button.


Quote by ashnur:

«I feel that spacemacs is an aircraft carrier and I am playing table tennis
on the deck as a freerider.»

Quote by deuill:


 That is all»


Spacemacs is a community-driven project, it needs you to keep it up to date and to propose great and useful configurations for all the things!

Before contributing be sure to consult the contribution guidelines and conventions.

Here is a throughput graph of the repository for the last few weeks:

Image (Asset 8/16) alt=Communities


The license is GPLv3 for all parts specific to Spacemacs, this includes:

  • the initialization and core files
  • all the layer files
  • the documentation

For the packages shipped in this repository, you can refer to the files header.

Spacemacs logo by Nasser Alshammari released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Supporting Spacemacs

The best way to support Spacemacs is to contribute to it either by reporting bugs, helping the community on the Gitter Chat or sending pull requests.

You can show your love for the project by getting cool Spacemacs t-shirts, mugs and more in the Spacemacs Shop.

If you want to show your support financially, then you can contribute to Bountysource, or buy a drink for the maintainer by clicking on the Paypal badge.

If you used spacemacs in a project, and you want to show that fact, you can use the spacemacs badge: Image (Asset 9/16) alt=