Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


Welcome to my Emacs initialization files.

The main initialization file is emacs.el, which is loaded as part of a machine-specific bootstrap process.


I use ELPA, the Emacs Lisp Package Archive, but don’t check that directory into this repository.

Load Path

The global variable *my-emacs-lib-dir* must be defined to point to this directory. That is done automatically in bootstrap-init.el, but you can always override it if you need to.

The load path is set up to look in the Emacs installation first, then in *my-emacs-lib-dir*.

Bootstrap Process

Since I use Emacs on multiple machines, I came up with a customization scheme that lets me run “before” and “after” code for each machine around my main initialization code. Each domain (work, home, etc.) gets its own subdirectory and each machine gets its own subdirectory within the domain. Inside there are a number of files, all optional: before.el, after.el, keys.el, custom.el, and the bookmark file emacs.bmk which is not checked in to source control.

On each box I create a small init.el file in that machine’s user-emacs-directory which looks something like this:

(load-file "~/.emacs.d/elisp/bootstrap-init.el")
(bootstrap-init "home" "sysex")

See bootstrap-init.el for the definition of bootstrap-init. That function finds the directory corresponding containing the customization files corresponding to its args. It then runs the before.el file in that directory, then the main customization file emacs.el, then after.el.

The bootstrap process sets a number of variables including custom-file, *my-emacs-lib-dir*, *my-emacs-bootstrap-domain*, and *my-emacs-bootstrap-machine*.

The shell script creates the init file and does a few other things.

Key Bindings

emacs.el loads keys.el which does pretty much the same thing that the bootstrap process does: it defines my normal key bindings then loads the keys.el file in the bootstrap directory specified earlier.

See Also

See also my Emacs tips page.