Emacs mode for Haskell
Emacs Lisp Haskell
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Haskell Mode for Emacs

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This is the Haskell mode package for Emacs. Its use should be mostly self-explanatory if you're accustomed to Emacs.

When Emacs is started up, it normally runs a file called ~/.emacs (or ~/.emacs.d/init.el), ~ standing for your home directory. This file should contain all of your personal customisations written as a series of Emacs Lisp commands. In order to install the Haskell mode, you have to tell Emacs where to find it. This is done by adding some commands to the init file.


There are many ways to install haskell-mode. Pick the one that you're most comfortable with.

package.el-based Installation

This is the recommended way

package.el is the new built-in package manager included in Emacs 24.x. On Emacs 23.x you will need to download package.el yourself and place package.el somewhere in your load-path.


Stable releases of haskell-mode are available on Marmalade.

If you're not already using Marmalade, add the following snippet to your .emacs or ~/.emacs.d/init.el and evaluate it with M-x eval-buffer:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("marmalade" . "http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/"))

Refresh the package index by M-x package-refresh-contents and install haskell-mode via M-x package-install [RET] haskell-mode.

Alternatively, you can also download the .tar file via the Download link at http://marmalade-repo.org/packages/haskell-mode and install the package .tar-file via M-x package-install-file


Unstable snapshots can be installed via the MELPA community maintained repository.

For MELPA the code you need to add is:

(require 'package)
(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("melpa" . "http://melpa.milkbox.net/packages/") t)

Refresh the package index by M-x package-refresh-contents and install haskell-mode via M-x package-install [RET] haskell-mode.

el-get based Installation

el-get is another popular package manager for Emacs. If you're an el-get user just do M-x el-get-install to get haskell-mode installed.


If you are using XEmacs, the haskell-mode package may be available for installation through the XEmacs package UI.

Emacs Prelude

haskell-mode is bundled with Emacs Prelude. If you're a Prelude user you can start using it right away.


If you are using Debian, you can install an older version (e.g. Wheezy ships with version 2.8.0) of haskell-mode with a command like:

$ apt-get install haskell-mode


This installation method is rather hacky and recommended for haskell-mode developers/contributors only as it allows to load haskell-mode directly from the git working copy. If you just want to use bleeding edge versions of haskell-mode please use the MELPA method described above.

  • Download and unpack (for instance by by git clone) the basic mode and modules into a suitable directory, e.g. ~/lib/emacs/haskell-mode/ where ~ stands for your home directory.

  • If you are using Emacs 21, you need an additional library, "syntax", from a later version of Emacs. The one you can get as http://cvs.savannah.gnu.org/viewcvs/*checkout*/emacs/emacs/lisp/emacs-lisp/syntax.el?rev=1.16 definitely works.

  • Assuming you have placed the basic mode (haskell-mode.el) and the other modules you want to use in the directory ~/lib/emacs/haskell-mode/, you need generate the autoloads file (haskell-mode-autoloads.el) by either

    • Invoking make all or make haskell-mode-autoloads.el, or

    • From inside Emacs, M-x update-directory-autoloads and answering the question for the folder with ~/lib/emacs/haskell-mode/ and the question for the output-file with ~/lib/emacs/haskell-mode/haskell-mode-autoloads.el

    and then adding the following command to your init file (~/.emacs or ~/.emacs.d/init.el):

    (add-to-list 'load-path "~/lib/emacs/haskell-mode/")
    (require 'haskell-mode-autoloads)

Basic Configuration

In its default state, only the bare-bones haskell-mode is active. To make it useful, you need additional modules; you can use the haskell customize-group to edit the Haskell mode hook or, if you prefer manual setup, try adding the following lines according to which modules you want to use:

(add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook 'turn-on-haskell-doc-mode)
(add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook 'turn-on-haskell-indentation)
;;(add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook 'turn-on-haskell-indent)
;;(add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook 'turn-on-haskell-simple-indent)

Note that the three indentation modules are mutually exclusive - add at most one. Note that the line of code for simple indentation is commented out (using a preceding ;) in preference for the more advanced indentation module. Installation is now complete!

Other modules can be automatically loaded when needed in the following way:

  • Font locking: just turn it on via global-font-lock-mode or do (add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook 'font-lock-mode)

  • Declaration scanning: just use M-x imenu or bind imenu to a key. E.g. (global-set-key [(control meta down-mouse-3)] 'imenu) or you can also add it to the menubar with (add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook 'imenu-add-menubar-index)

Interactive block indentation (haskell-move-nested.el)

By inserting the key bindings for C-, and C-. (these bindings are convenient on keyboard layouts where , and . are adjacent keys) as shown below you can interactively de/indent either the following nested block or, if a region is active while in transient-mark-mode, de/indent the active region.

By using a numeric prefix argument, you can modify the shift-amount e.g. C-u C-, increases indentation by 4 characters at once.

(define-key haskell-mode-map (kbd "C-,") 'haskell-move-nested-left)
(define-key haskell-mode-map (kbd "C-.") 'haskell-move-nested-right)

Setup for inferior haskell mode

This is the traditional mode for interacting with the Haskell interpreter.

By default the haskell-mode-map keymap is setup to use this mode, e.g.

  • C-c C-z is bound to switch-to-haskell
  • C-c C-b is bound to switch-to-haskell
  • C-c C-l is bound to inferior-haskell-load-file
  • C-c C-t is bound to inferior-haskell-type
  • C-c C-i is bound to inferior-haskell-info

Normally, inf-haskell automatically finds ghci or hugs in your PATH, but if that's not the case (common under Windows), or if you need to specify your preference, just tell Emacs which executable to use with:

(setq haskell-program-name "/some/where/ghci.exe")

If you want to use different settings when you use Cygwin Emacs and NTEmacs, you can test the value of system-type:

(setq haskell-program-name
      (if (eq system-type 'cygwin)

Note that Cygwin binaries tend to interact poorly with NTEmacs, especially w.r.t signal-handling.

Setup for haskell interactive mode

A new mode for the REPL and GHCi sessions is called haskell-interactive-mode, it intends to replace inferior-haskell-mode, but comes with different features.

There are new modules for handling the following things:

  • Separate sessions per Cabal project (haskell-session.el).
  • A new inferior Haskell process handling code (haskell-process.el).
  • New REPL (haskell-interactive-mode.el).
  • Bunch of new features based upon the above three things.

To make use of them, try out the instructions in examples/init.el. WARNING: The features expressed in here are new and many are Linux-specific.

Note: These features are entirely orthogonal to the older inferior-haskell-mode, and therefore key-bindings which work for inferior-haskell-mode will not magically work for the above new modules.

Haskell Unicode input method

This package provides haskell-unicode-input-method, an input method which allows you to easily type a number of Unicode symbols that are useful when writing Haskell code.

To automatically load in haskell-mode put the following code in your .emacs file:

(require 'haskell-unicode-input-method)
(add-hook 'haskell-mode-hook
  (lambda () (set-input-method "haskell-unicode")))

Make sure the directory containing the .el file is in your load-path, for example:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.elisp/emacs-haskell-unicode-input-method")

To manually enable use M-x set-input-method or C-x [RET] C-\ with haskell-unicode. Note that the elisp file must be evaluated for this to work.

Now you can simply type -> and it is immediately replaced with . Use C-\ to toggle the input method. To see a table of all key sequences use M-x describe-input-method haskell-unicode. A sequence like <= is ambiguous and can mean either or . Typing it presents you with a choice. Type 1 or 2 to select an option or keep typing to use the default option.

If you don't like the highlighting of partially matching tokens you can turn it off:

(setq input-method-highlight-flag nil)

Further Customization

Most customizations are on the functionality of a particular module. See the documentation of that module for information on its customization.

There is also a wiki page listing tips and tricks.

Known problems

It seems that some versions of XEmacs come without the fsf-compat package (which provides functions such as line-end-position) and it seems that even if your XEmacs does have the fsf-compat package installed it does not autoload its part. Thus you may have to install the fsf-compat package and add (require 'goto-addr) in your .emacs.

Multi-mode editing

For LaTeX-based literate Haskell, you might be interested in the multiple major mode package haskell-latex.el (plus multi-mode.el) from http://www.loveshack.ukfsn.org/emacs/.



For submitting pull requests, please see the wiki page on contributing. You don't have to follow this guide, but please make sure your pull requests are at least properly rebased and up to date.