Change mode-line names of major/minor modes
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This Emacs package can be used to change the names of major and minor modes that are displayed in the mode-line. This is an alternative to delight package (see Why? section below).



This package can be installed from MELPA (with M-x package-install or M-x list-packages).


For the manual installation, clone the repo and add the directory to load-path:

(add-to-list 'load-path "/path/to/dim-dir")
(when (require 'dim nil t)
  (dim-major-names ...)
  (dim-minor-names ...))


There are 4 functions, that you can use in your .emacs:

  • dim-major-name
  • dim-major-names
  • dim-minor-name
  • dim-minor-names

So you can change the names by one, like this:

(dim-major-name 'scheme-mode "λ")
(dim-major-name 'help-mode "🄷")
(dim-minor-name 'isearch-mode " 🔎")
(dim-minor-name 'view-mode " 👀" 'view)

Or you can set multiple names at once, like this:

 '((emacs-lisp-mode           "EL")
   (inferior-emacs-lisp-mode  "EL>")
   (calendar-mode             "📆")))
 '((visual-line-mode   "")
   (auto-fill-function "")
   (eldoc-mode         ""    eldoc)
   (whitespace-mode    " _"  whitespace)
   (paredit-mode       " ()" paredit)))

I prefer the latter variant as I like to keep all names in one place.

As you can see, the functions for major modes take a mode symbol (which can be found by M-: major-mode) and a new mode-line name.

The functions for minor modes also take a mode symbol (from minor-mode-alist variable) and a new name, and optionally a feature or file name where the minor mode comes from. It is passed to eval-after-load function. If the feature or file name is not specified, the mode name is changed immediately, but of course only if the mode is already available, so the package feature shouldn’t be specified only for the modes that are available right away on emacs start (like isearch-mode or visual-line-mode).

Note that mode-name should not necessarily be a string, it can be any mode-line construct supported by emacs. For example, you can configure mode-name to display images instead of text (see issue 8 for details).


So why this package, if we already have several packages for similar purposes?

The most well-known package is diminish. It is great, but it is only for minor modes, also diminish function can be called only when a minor mode is available, so you have to wrap it into eval-after-load (or you can use :diminish keyword in use-package). For minor modes, there is also rich-minority package, which allows to hide and highlight mode-line names.

For major modes, there is cyphejor package, which allows to make complex rules for changing parts of mode names. It can be also used for automatic abbreviation of these parts. In contrast, dim is very simple and straight-forward: you just assign a new mode-line string to a mode name (symbol) and that’s it.

As for the delight package, the main reason is: I don’t like that it mixes minor and major modes (they are set by delight function and stored in delighted-modes variable). They are essentially different things and should be treated independently. Also delight is “developed” on the wiki, which is not convenient for using and contributing. And finally, I don’t like some parts of the code (like adding delight-major-mode to after-change-major-mode-hook inside delight function — it should be a top-level form!).

But I say many thanks to the author of delight package as the code of dim is heavily based on it.