El-Get allows you to install and manage
elisp code for Emacs. It supports
lots of different types of sources and is able to install them, update
them and remove them, but more importantly it will init them for you.
That means it will
require the features you need,
load the necessary
files, set the Info paths so that
C-h i shows the new documentation you
now depend on, and finally call your own initialisation code for you to
setup the extension. Or call it a package.
There are many methods to keep track of your emacs setup. You can manage it
all in a private git repository, you can set up
git submodules or directly
import external repositories. You can manually retrieve the various
packages you wish to track and ensure they are installed on any machine you
apply your configuration to.
All of these systems require some degree of manual maintenance, especially if you have packages from various types of locations: github, emacswiki, GNU ELPA or Marmalade, privately hosted pages, git, bzr, CVS, the list goes on.
El-Get is designed to simplify this process and allow access to all the various methods of obtaining packages from a single interface. Every package has a recipe that allows you to locate the original source, and that can be updated if the package is moved.
Whether you are using one machine or many, El-Get provides you with a simple interface to your list of installed packages, and the tools to keep them up to date.
El-Get, ELPA and package.el
Emacs 24 ships with
package.el which allows for easy installation of Emacs
Lisp extensions for Emacs, and supports several servers where to find a list
of packaged extension.
Rather than ask authors or contributors to clean-up and package existing software, the El-Get approach is to take bits and pieces as they exist today and still empower Emacs users in a way that those random electrons are easy to use.
That's why El-Get supports
package.el as one of its methods to fetch
Emacs Lisp Extensions.
Technical differences also include the ability for El-Get to run OS commands
ginstall-info) so as to better cope with the diversity
found in the wild, allowing for automatic inclusion of Info pages for
packages providing some.
El-Get is easy to install. The only requirements to do so successfully are
Emacs (23.4 and above),
git and a connection to the internet that allows you to
If you do not already have
git on your system, you can install it through
your package manager if you are using Linux or by downloading it from the
Installing El-Get depends on a working
install-info command, please make
sure you have one in your
debian, it's available in the
install-info debian package. The
version works fine with El-Get.
When using the windows operating system, take into account that the way
Emacs calls external programs is not the same for native builds and
cygwin, so make sure you don't mix and match them at least for
install-info (e.g. cygwin version of
install-info will error out when
called by el-get from a
windows-nt Emacs, see
system-type). When using a
native build of Emacs for windows, consider using the
GNU Win 32 distribution of
TexInfo for windows,
which contains the proper
install-info version when you're not using the
cygwin Emacs binary.
The Lazy Installer
To install El-Get you can use the lazy-installer. This will not load it
on startup or otherwise affect future usage of Emacs. If you wish to ensure
that El-Get will be available in future Emacs session please use the code
provided in Basic Setup. Using the code below will require an internet
connection even if El-Get is already installed, that's why it's advised to
use it for first time installation, not for embedding into your
;; So the idea is that you copy/paste this code into your *scratch* buffer, ;; hit C-j, and you have a working el-get. (url-retrieve "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el" (lambda (s) (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp)))
NOTE: if you are using Windows see Installation on Windows.
Evaluating this code after copying it into your
*scratch* buffer by typing
M-x eval-print-last-exp will retrieve the El-Get installation
script. This script will then use
git to clone El-Get and install it to
the default location (
Replicating a package set on another Emacs installation
In the Emacs whose setup you wish to replicate, type
M-x ielm for an
Emacs Lisp prompt, and enter:
`(setq my-packages ',(mapcar #'el-get-as-symbol (el-get-list-package-names-with-status "installed")))
Copy the result into the new Emacs, in which you should already have
installed El-Get, and evaluate it, followed by
(el-get 'sync my-packages)
If you wish to ensure that El-Get is available when you load Emacs you can
place the following elisp code in your init file. It will detect if
el-get is already installed and install it if necessary.
The addition of
(el-get 'sync) in the code blocks below ensures that any
currently installed packages will be initialized and any required
packages will be installed.
el-get function is covered in details in the full Info
Here is the basic setup to add to your
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get") (unless (require 'el-get nil 'noerror) (with-current-buffer (url-retrieve-synchronously "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el") (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp))) (add-to-list 'el-get-recipe-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get-user/recipes") (el-get 'sync)
Alternative Basic Setup with Installation via MELPA
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get") (unless (require 'el-get nil 'noerror) (require 'package) (add-to-list 'package-archives '("melpa" . "http://melpa.org/packages/")) (package-refresh-contents) (package-initialize) (package-install 'el-get) (require 'el-get)) (add-to-list 'el-get-recipe-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get-user/recipes") (el-get 'sync)
The easiest way to setup a given package is to add its initialization code
to a file named
<package> replaced with the
package name. This file needs to be placed in the directory
el-get-user-package-directory (defaults to
nil, you have to set a value
for it, like for example
El-Get will then load that file at package initialization time. See the full Info documentation for more details and possibilities.
init- packages are already available in El-Get.
El-Get requires very little interaction with your init file when managing packages. Basic Usage explains how to manage your packages without ever having to touch your init file again (meaning, once El-Get is installed). Advanced Usage with Local Recipes explains how to write your init file with explicitly specifying packages to install (when sharing the same setup between several machines for example).
Adding and removing packages
Will prompt for a package name, with completion, then install it. It will only propose packages that are not already
installed. Any package that you have a recipe for is a candidate.
Will prompt for an
installedpackage name, with completion, then remove it. Depending on the
typeof the package, this often means simply deleting the directory where the source package lies. Sometime we have to use external tools instead (e.g.
apt-get). No effort is made to unload the features.
This is just a shortcut for
el-get-installof the same package. It is primarily useful when a package has changed types, so the normal
el-get-updateprocess will not work correctly.
Keeping up to date
Update only one package,
Will prompt for an installed package name, with completion, then update it. This will run the
initthe package again.
Will update all packages that have the
installedstatus in your status file. Before the update you will be prompted for confirmation that you wish to proceed.
Beware that using this function can lead to hours of settings review: more often than not updating a package requires some adjustments to your setup. Updating all of them at once will require reviewing almost all your setup.
Reload the given package files. Happens automatically at update time too.
Viewing available recipes
Opens a buffer listing all known packages (those for which you have a recipe). The listing includes the package name, its status (one of available, installed, removed or required) and the package description. The description is a free form text and has not been provided for all recipes.
Prompt for a package name, with completion, then open an
*Help*window with details about the selected package. Those include current status, website, description, installation method, full recipe, and buttons to easily install, update or remove the package.
Will prompt for the name of a package, with completion, then
recipefile. If the recipe does not exist, it will create a new recipe file with the appropriate name.
Advanced Usage with Local Recipes
el-get-bundle macro calls instead of
(el-get 'sync) in your init
file to explicitly specify which packages should be installed. The macro
accepts either a simple package name from defined recipes, a package name
with a local recipe definition, a package with initialization code, or
Note that if you leave in the
(el-get 'sync) call (which you need
to, unless you've also made sure to explicitly call
for all dependency packages), it must go after any recipe defining
el-get-bundle calls, otherwise el-get won't know the recipe when it
tries to initialize the package.
;; Basic setup (add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get/el-get") (unless (require 'el-get nil 'noerror) (with-current-buffer (url-retrieve-synchronously "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/dimitri/el-get/master/el-get-install.el") (goto-char (point-max)) (eval-print-last-sexp))) (add-to-list 'el-get-recipe-path "~/.emacs.d/el-get-user/recipes") ;; Simple package names (el-get-bundle yasnippet) (el-get-bundle color-moccur) ;; Locally defined recipe (el-get-bundle yaicomplete :url "https://github.com/tarao/elisp.git" :features yaicomplete) ;; With initialization code (el-get-bundle zenburn-theme :url "https://raw.githubusercontent.com/bbatsov/zenburn-emacs/master/zenburn-theme.el" (load-theme 'zenburn t)) ;; End of recipes, call `el-get' to make sure all packages (including ;; dependencies) are setup. (el-get- 'sync)
If a package with a local recipe definition has a recipe file, the definition overrides that in the recipe file.
There are some syntactic sugars to specify a package name and a recipe source together.
(el-get-bundle tarao/tab-group-el) ;; equivalent to ;; (el-get-bundle tab-group-el :type github :pkgname "tarao/tab-group-el") (el-get-bundle gist:4468816:pit ;; equivalent to ;; (el-get-bundle pit :type git :url "http://gist.github.com/4468816.git") (el-get-bundle elpa:undo-tree) ;; equivalent to ;; (el-get-bundle undo-tree :type elpa)
Please refer to the Info documentation provided with El-Get for the
complete syntax of
el-get-bundle and recipe definitions.
Enjoy El-get, enjoy Emacs, have fun with Emacs Lisp, and simplify your Emacs Setup today!