(emacs.info) Init File
The Init File, `~/.emacs'
When Emacs is started, it normally loads a Lisp program from the file
`.emacs' or `.emacs.el' in your home directory. We call this file your
"init file" because it specifies how to initialize Emacs for you. You
can use the command line switch `-q' to prevent loading your init file,
and `-u' (or `--user') to specify a different user's init file (
There can also be a "default init file", which is the library named
`default.el', found via the standard search path for libraries. The
Emacs distribution contains no such library; your site may create one
for local customizations. If this library exists, it is loaded
whenever you start Emacs (except when you specify `-q'). But your init
file, if any, is loaded first; if it sets `inhibit-default-init'
non-`nil', then `default' is not loaded.
Your site may also have a "site startup file"; this is named
`site-start.el', if it exists. Emacs loads this library before it
loads your init file. To inhibit loading of this library, use the
If you have a large amount of code in your `.emacs' file, you should
rename it to `~/.emacs.el', and byte-compile it. Byte
Compilation (elisp)Byte Compilation, for more information about
compiling Emacs Lisp programs.
If you are going to write actual Emacs Lisp programs that go beyond
minor customization, you should read the `Emacs Lisp Reference Manual'.
Emacs Lisp (elisp)Top.
* Init Syntax Syntax of constants in Emacs Lisp.
* Init Examples How to do some things with an init file.
* Terminal Init Each terminal type can have an init file.
* Find Init How Emacs finds the init file.
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