Prelude is an Emacs distribution that aims to enhance the default Emacs experience. Prelude alters a lot of the default settings, bundles a plethora of additional packages and adds its own core library to the mix. The final product offers an easy to use Emacs configuration for Emacs newcomers and lots of additional power for Emacs power users.
Prelude is compatible ONLY with GNU Emacs 24.x. In general you're advised to always run Prelude with the latest Emacs - currently 24.3.
Table of Contents
- Fast Forward
- Installing Emacs 24
- Updating Prelude
- Enabling additional modules
- Getting to know Prelude
- Automatic package installation
- Caveats & Pitfalls
- Share the knowledge
- Known issues
- Bugs & Improvements
Assuming you're using an Unix-like OS (
etc), you already have Emacs 24 installed, as well as
can skip the whole manual and just type in your favorite shell the
curl -L http://git.io/epre | sh
You can now power up your Emacs, sit back and enjoy Prelude, forgetting about the rest of this manual.
There are two environment variables you can use to control the source repository and the installation directory. To change the installation directory:
export PRELUDE_INSTALL_DIR="$HOME/.emacs.d" && curl -L https://github.com/bbatsov/prelude/raw/master/utils/installer.sh | sh
To change the source repository:
export PRELUDE_URL="https://github.com/yourname/prelude.git" && curl -L https://github.com/bbatsov/prelude/raw/master/utils/installer.sh | sh
Note that the installer will back up any existing
.emacs file or
.emacs.d since it will unpack Prelude's code in
you're doing a manual install make sure you don't have a
or back up your existing
.emacs.d directory manually.
Don't forget to adjust your
prelude-modules.el file once the installation is done.
By default most of the modules that ship with Prelude are not loaded.
Installing Emacs 24
Obviously to use the Emacs Prelude you have to install Emacs 24 first. Have a look at the WikEmacs articles on installing Emacs.
You can install Emacs Prelude via the command line with either
git is also required.
If you're using
curl type the following command:
curl -L https://github.com/bbatsov/prelude/raw/master/utils/installer.sh | sh
If you're using
wget --no-check-certificate https://github.com/bbatsov/prelude/raw/master/utils/installer.sh -O - | sh
git clone git://github.com/bbatsov/prelude.git path/to/local/repo ln -s path/to/local/repo ~/.emacs.d cd ~/.emacs.d
You'd do well to replace
~/.emacs.d with the value of
user-emacs-directory for your OS. You can check the value by doing
C-h v user-emacs-directory inside Emacs.
The update procedure is fairly straightforward and consists of 3 steps:
Update all bundled packages
Just run <kbd>M-x package-list-packages RET U x</kbd>.
Update Prelude's code
cd path/to/prelude/installation git pull
path/to/prelude/installation is usually
~/.emacs.d (at least
on Unix systems).
It's generally a good idea to stop Emacs after you do the update. The next time Prelude starts it will install any new dependencies (if there are such).
Simply run <kbd>M-x prelude-update</kbd> from Emacs itself and restart Emacs afterwards.
Enabling additional modules
By default most of the modules that ship with Prelude are not loaded. For more information on the functionality provided by these modules visit the docs.
;;; Uncomment the modules you'd like to use and restart Prelude afterwards (require 'prelude-c) ;; (require 'prelude-clojure) ;; (require 'prelude-coffee) ;; (require 'prelude-common-lisp) ;; (require 'prelude-css) (require 'prelude-emacs-lisp) (require 'prelude-erc) ;; (require 'prelude-erlang) ;; (require 'prelude-haskell) (require 'prelude-js) ;; (require 'prelude-latex) (require 'prelude-lisp) ;; (require 'prelude-markdown) ;; (require 'prelude-mediawiki) (require 'prelude-org) (require 'prelude-perl) ;; (require 'prelude-python) ;; (require 'prelude-ruby) ;; (require 'prelude-scala) (require 'prelude-scheme) ;; (require 'prelude-scss) ;; (require 'prelude-web) (require 'prelude-xml)
You'll need to adjust your
prelude-modules.el file once the
installation is done. If you are doing a manual install then you first
need to copy the
prelude-modules.el available in the sample
directory to the root of
path/to/prelude/installation and then
adjust that one.
After you've uncommented a module you should either restart Emacs or evaluate the module
require expression with <kbd>C-x C-e</kbd>.
Nothing fancy here. Just start Emacs as usual. Personally I run Emacs in daemon mode:
Afterwards I connect to the server with either a terminal or a GUI client like this:
emacsclient -t emacsclient -c
You'd probably do well to put a few aliases in your
alias e='emacsclient -t' alias ec='emacsclient -c' alias vim='emacsclient -t' alias vi='emacsclient -t'
The last two aliases are helpful if you're used to editing files from
the command line using
Getting to know Prelude
Certainly the best way to understand how Prelude enhances the default
Emacs experience is to peruse Prelude's source code (which is
obviously written in Emacs Lisp). Understanding the code is not
necessary of course. Prelude includes a
prelude-mode minor Emacs mode
which collects some of the additional functionality added by
Prelude. It also adds an additional keymap that binds many of those
extensions to keybindings.
|<kbd>C-M-h</kbd>||Kill the previous word(
|<kbd>C-+</kbd>||Increase font size(
|<kbd>C--</kbd>||Decrease font size(
|<kbd>C-x O</kbd>||Go back to previous window (the inverse of
|<kbd>C-^</kbd>||Join two lines into one(
|<kbd>C-x M-m</kbd>||Start your default shell.|
|<kbd>C-x C-m</kbd>||Alias for
|<kbd>F11</kbd>||Make the window full screen.|
|<kbd>F12</kbd>||Toggle the Emacs menu bar.|
|<kbd>C-x g</kbd>||Open Magit's status buffer.|
|<kbd>C-c o</kbd>||Open the currently visited file with an external program.|
|<kbd>C-c i</kbd>||Search for a symbol, only for buffers that contain code|
|<kbd>C-c g</kbd>||Search in Google for the thing under point (or an interactive query).|
|<kbd>C-c G</kbd>||Search in GitHub for the thing under point (or an interactive query).|
|<kbd>C-c y</kbd>||Search in YouTube for the thing under point (or an interactive query).|
|<kbd>C-S-RET</kbd> or <kbd>Super-o</kbd>||Insert an empty line above the current line and indent it properly.|
|<kbd>S-RET</kbd> or <kbd>M-o</kbd>||Insert an empty line and indent it properly (as in most IDEs).|
|<kbd>C-S-up</kbd> or <kbd>M-S-up</kbd>||Move the current line or region up.|
|<kbd>C-S-down</kbd> or <kbd>M-S-down</kbd>||Move the current line or region down.|
|<kbd>C-c n</kbd>||Fix indentation in buffer and strip whitespace.|
|<kbd>C-c f</kbd>||Open recently visited file.|
|<kbd>C-M-\</kbd>||Indent region (if selected) or the entire buffer.|
|<kbd>C-c u</kbd>||Open URL in your default browser.|
|<kbd>C-c e</kbd>||Eval a bit of Emacs Lisp code and replace it with its result.|
|<kbd>C-c s</kbd>||Swap two active windows.|
|<kbd>C-c d</kbd>||Duplicate the current line (or region).|
|<kbd>C-c M-d</kbd>||Duplicate and comment the current line (or region).|
|<kbd>C-c r</kbd>||Rename the currently visited file and buffer.|
|<kbd>C-c t</kbd>||Open a terminal emulator (
|<kbd>C-c k</kbd>||Kill all open buffers except the one you're currently in.|
|<kbd>C-c h</kbd>||Open Helm (available if you've enabled the
|<kbd>C-c +</kbd>||Increment integer at point.|
|<kbd>C-c -</kbd>||Decrement integer at point.|
|<kbd>Super-k</kbd>||Kill whole line|
|<kbd>Super-m m</kbd>||Magit status|
|<kbd>Super-m l</kbd>||Magit log|
|<kbd>Super-m f</kbd>||Magit file log|
|<kbd>Super-m b</kbd>||Magit blame mode|
OSX modifier keys
Prelude does not mess by default with the standard mapping of
If you want to swap them add this to your personal config:
(setq mac-command-modifier 'meta) (setq mac-option-modifier 'super)
You can also temporarily swap them with
C-c w (
Here's a list of functionality provided by Projectile:
|<kbd>C-c p f</kbd>||Display a list of all files in the project. With a prefix argument it will clear the cache first.|
|<kbd>C-c p d</kbd>||Display a list of all directories in the project. With a prefix argument it will clear the cache first.|
|<kbd>C-c p T</kbd>||Display a list of all test files(specs, features, etc) in the project.|
|<kbd>C-c p g</kbd>||Run grep on the files in the project.|
|<kbd>C-c p b</kbd>||Display a list of all project buffers currently open.|
|<kbd>C-c p o</kbd>||Runs
|<kbd>C-c p r</kbd>||Runs interactive query-replace on all files in the projects.|
|<kbd>C-c p i</kbd>||Invalidates the project cache (if existing).|
|<kbd>C-c p R</kbd>||Regenerates the projects
|<kbd>C-c p k</kbd>||Kills all project buffers.|
|<kbd>C-c p D</kbd>||Opens the root of the project in
|<kbd>C-c p e</kbd>||Shows a list of recently visited project files.|
|<kbd>C-c p a</kbd>||Runs
|<kbd>C-c p c</kbd>||Runs a standard compilation command for your type of project.|
|<kbd>C-c p p</kbd>||Runs a standard test command for your type of project.|
|<kbd>C-c p z</kbd>||Adds the currently visited to the cache.|
|<kbd>C-c p s</kbd>||Display a list of known projects you can switch to.|
Prelude adds some extra keybindings:
|<kbd>Super-f</kbd>||Find file in project|
|<kbd>Super-d</kbd>||Find directory in project|
|<kbd>Super-g</kbd>||Run grep on project|
If you ever forget any of Projectile's keybindings just do a:
<kbd>C-c p C-h</kbd>
Key-chords are available only when the
prelude-key-chord module has been enabled.
|<kbd>jj</kbd>||Jump to the beginning of a word(
|<kbd>jk</kbd>||Jump to a character(
|<kbd>jl</kbd>||Jump to the beginning of a line(
|<kbd>JJ</kbd>||Jump back to previous buffer(
|<kbd>uu</kbd>||View edits as a tree(
|<kbd>xx</kbd>||Executed extended command(
|<kbd>yy</kbd>||Browse the kill ring(
In some cases you may not want to have a key-chord that is defined by prelude,
in which case you can disable the binding in your
personal.el file by setting
its command to
nil. For example, to disable the
jj key-chord add the
(key-chord-define-global "jj" nil)
If you're an
evil-mode user you'll probably do well to disable
Automatic package installation
The default Prelude installation comes with a bare minimum of
functionality. It will however install add-ons for various programming
languages and frameworks on demand. For instance - if you try to open
cider and Prelude's enhanced Lisp
configuration will be installed automatically for you.
You can, of course, install anything you wish manually as well.
Emacs 24 ships with a new theming facility that effectively renders
the old color-theme package obsolete. Emacs 24 provides a dozen of
built-in themes you can use out-of-the-box by invoking the
Zenburn is the default color theme in Prelude, but you can change it at your discretion. Why Zenburn? I (and lots of hackers around the world) find it pretty neat for some reason. Personally I find the default theme pretty tiresome for the eyes, that's why I took that "controversial" decision to replace it. You can, of course, easily go back to the default (or select another theme entirely).
To disable Zenburn just put in your personal config the following line:
Or you can use another theme altogether by adding something like:
(load-theme 'solarized-dark t)
P.S. Solarized is not available by default - you'll have to
install it from MELPA first (
M-x package-install RET
Fork the official Prelude repo and add your own touch to it. You're advised to avoid changing stuff outside of the personal folder to avoid having to deal with git merge conflicts in the future.
If you'd like to add some auto installation of packages in your personal config use the following code:
(prelude-require-packages '(some-package some-other-package))
If you require just a single package you can also use:
Preloading personal config
Sometimes you might want to load code before Prelude has started loading. Prelude will automatically preload all
Emacs Lisp files in your
personal/preload directory. Note that at this point you can't using anything from
Prelude, except a few variables like
prelude-dir, etc (since nothing is yet loaded).
whitespace-mode is awesome some people might find it too
intrusive. You can disable it in your
personal config with the following bit of code:
(setq prelude-whitespace nil)
If you like
whitespace-mode but prefer it to not automatically
cleanup your file on save, you can disable that behavior by setting
prelude-clean-whitespace-on-save to nil in your config file with:
(setq prelude-clean-whitespace-on-save nil)
The prelude-clean-whitespace-on-save setting can also be set on a per-file or directory basis by using a file variable or a .dir-locals.el file.
If you're not fond of spellchecking on the fly:
(setq prelude-flyspell nil)
Caveats & Pitfalls
Updating bundled packages
Generally it's a good idea to do a package update before running updating Prelude, since the latest Prelude code might depend on newer versions of the bundled packages than you would currently have installed.
If you're doing manual Prelude updates you should always do a package update first.
M-x package-list-packages RET U x
That's not necessary if you're using
M-x prelude-update, since it
will automatically update the installed packages.
Problems with flyspell-mode
Prelude makes heavy use of the flyspell-mode package for spell
checking of various things. The proper operation of flyspell depends
on the presence of the
aspell program and an
en dictionary on your
system. You can install
aspell and the dictionary on OS X with
homebrew like this:
brew install aspell --with-lang=en
On Linux distros - just use your distro's package manager.
Ugly colors in the terminal Emacs version
If your Emacs looks considerably uglier in a terminal (compared to the
GUI version) try adding this to your
.bashrc file and start Emacs again.
MELPA error on initial startup
If you get some http connection error related to the MELPA repo
just do a manual
M-x package-refresh-contents and restart Emacs
No arrow navigation in editor buffers
This is not a bug - it's a feature! I firmly believe that the one true way to use Emacs is by using it the way it was intended to be used (as far as navigation is concerned at least). That's why I've disabled all movement commands with arrows (and keys like page up, page down, etc) - to prevent you from being tempted to use them.
If you'd like to be able to use the arrow keys (but still be reminded of the alternatives) put this in your personal config:
(setq guru-warn-only t)
guru-mode completely add the following snippet to your
personal Emacs config:
(setq prelude-guru nil)
Customized C-a behavior
C-a to behave as described
you don't like that simply add this to your personal config:
(global-set-key [remap move-beginning-of-line] 'move-beginning-of-line)
Poor ido matching performance on large datasets
Prelude swaps the default
ido flex matching with the more powerful
The sorting algorithm
flx uses is more complex, but yields better results.
On slower machines, it may be necessary to lower
ensure a smooth experience.
(setq flx-ido-threshhold 1000)
You can always disable the improved sorting algorithm all together like this:
While everything in Prelude should work fine in Windows, I test it only with Linux & OSX, so there are Windows related problems from time to time. This situation will probably improve over time.
Share the knowledge
EmacsWiki collects useful resources for working with GNU Emacs. Please, take the time to peruse and improve them as you accumulate knowledge about Emacs. Prelude makes this especially easy, since it bundles
Check out the project's issue list a list of unresolved issues. By the way - feel free to fix any of them and send me a pull request. :-)
Support is available via the Prelude Google Group firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a list of all the people who have contributed to the development of Emacs Prelude.
Bugs & Improvements
Bug reports and suggestions for improvements are always welcome. GitHub pull requests are even better! :-)