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Emacs Application Framework (EAF)

EAF is a GUI application framework that revolutionizes Emacs graphical capabilities to ultimately Live in Emacs.

EAF Application Overview

EAF is an extensible framework, one can develop any Qt5 application and integrate it into Emacs.

Browser Markdown Previewer
Image Viewer Video Player
PDF Viewer Camera
File Sender File Receiver
Air Share Org Previewer
Terminal Emulator RSS Reader
Aria2 Download Manager Mind Map


  1. Make sure to have python3 installed, and use pip3 to install all EAF dependencies (see below list for details)
sudo pip3 install dbus-python python-xlib pyqt5 pyqtwebengine pymupdf grip qrcode feedparser aria2p
  1. Clone this repository.
git clone --depth=1
  1. Add the full path to the EAF installation directory to your Emacs load-path, then add the following to init.el:
(require 'eaf)

If you use use-package, a sample configuration has been provided.

(use-package eaf
  :load-path "~/.emacs.d/site-lisp/emacs-application-framework" ; Set to "/usr/share/emacs/site-lisp/eaf" if installed from AUR
  (eaf-find-alternate-file-in-dired t)
  (eaf-bind-key scroll_up "C-n" eaf-pdf-viewer-keybinding)
  (eaf-bind-key scroll_down "C-p" eaf-pdf-viewer-keybinding)
  (eaf-bind-key take_photo "p" eaf-camera-keybinding))
  1. For EAF Terminal to work only: Install and configure wetty:
# Install wetty
sudo yarn global add wetty

# Make wetty login with public key
cp ~/.ssh/ ~/.ssh/authorized_keys

# You need add below in .bashrc if you are Chinese
echo 'export LANG=zh_CN.UTF-8' >> ~/.bashrc
  1. For EAF Browser download to work, please install aria2.

Dependency List

Packages listed as Core are mandatory for EAF to work, whereas other packages are optional - install if you want to use corresponding EAF Application.

Package Package Repo Dependent Description
pyqt5 pip3 Core Essential GUI library
dbus-python pip3 Core DBus IPC to connect Python with Elisp
python-xlib pip3 Core Stick application window into Emacs frame
pyqtwebengine pip3 Browser, Image Viewer, RSS Reader,
Terminal, Org Previewer, Markdown Previewer
Chromium based web rendering engine
pymupdf pip3 PDF Viewer PDF rendering engine
grip pip3 Markdown Previewer Markdown rendering server
qrcode pip3 File Sender, File Receiver, Airshare Render QR code pointing to local files
feedparser pip3 RSS Reader Parse RSS feeds
aria2p pip3 Browser Send download requests to Aria2 daemon
aria2 pacman (Arch) Browser Download files from the web
wetty yarn Terminal Communicate between browser and local TTY

Launch EAF Applications

Application Name Launch
Browser M-x eaf-open-browser Search or Goto URL
M-x eaf-open-browser-with-history Search or Goto URL or Goto History
HTML Email Renderer M-x eaf-open-mail-as-html in gnus, mu4e, notmuch HTMl Mail
PDF Viewer M-x eaf-open PDF File
Video Player M-x eaf-open Video File
Image Viewer M-x eaf-open Image File
Markdown Previewer M-x eaf-open Markdown File
Org Previewer M-x eaf-open Org File
Camera M-x eaf-open-camera
Terminal M-x eaf-open-terminal
File Sender M-x eaf-file-sender-qrcode or eaf-file-sender-qrcode-in-dired
File Receiver M-x eaf-file-receiver-qrcode
Airshare M-x eaf-open-airshare
RSS Reader M-x eaf-open-rss-reader
Mindmap M-x eaf-create-mindmap or M-x eaf-open-mindmap
Demo M-x eaf-open-demo to verify basic functionality
  • To open the file under the cursor in dired using appropriate EAF Application, use eaf-open-this-from-dired instead.
EAF use DBus' session bus, it must run by a general user.
Please don't use EAF when Emacs is started with sudo or root user, a root user can only access DBus's system bus.


It is highly suggested to read the Wiki first before using EAF.

Wiki consists of documentations on Keybinding, Customization, Design and TODOLIST. There also are some helpful tips to make EAF work with Docker, Helm, etc.


How does EAF work?

EAF implements three major functionalities:

  1. Integrate PyQt program window into Emacs frame using Xlib Reparent technology.
  2. Listen to EAF buffer's keyboard event flow and control the keyboard input of PyQt program via DBus IPC.
  3. Create a window compositer to make a PyQt program window adapt Emacs's Window/Buffer design.


  1. EAF and EXWM share a common goal: enhance collaboration between the standard GNU Emacs with other GUI tools.
  2. EXWM is an X11 Windows Manager, it manages and controls other software using a keyboard, but it cannot modify, customize and extend the behavior of other software. For example, it cannot modify the behavior when you press a key in Chrome or a PDF viewer.
  3. EAF is not a Windows Manager, it utilizes the windows managing capabilities of Emacs to display its applications.
  4. The intention of EAF is to provide a framework to write PyQt5 applications that extends the multimedia experience of Emacs. From the perspective of Emacs' buffer/mode design, EAF is not different from any other package, with the former uses Qt for drawing contents while the latter uses Emacs' built-in text libraries instead.
  5. Through EAF's design, one can use Elisp to control Python and vice versa, and even able to use Elisp to control JavaScript in EAF Browser. EAF enables Emacs to the world of multi-language scripting.

Both projects are similar in terms of interface, but they are two completely different projects with different goals in mind. Sometimes one may find EAF is more suitable than EXWM, sometimes it's the other way around. Please do not meaninglessly compare them.

EAF is (currently) Linux only. Why?

  1. As of now, none of EAF's core developers use MacOS or Windows or BSD family OS.
  2. EAF uses X11 Reparent to stick Qt5 window to Emacs frame. Other operating systems may implement similar features, but the core developers don't know how to work with them.
  3. DBus is Linux-specific technology, it's difficult to support DBus in other operating systems.
  4. Qt5's QGraphicsScene technology does not work on MacOS.

If you've figure them out, PRs are always welcome!

How about Wayland?

EAF use X11 XReparent technology, Wayland doesn't support it (right now).

We recommend to use KDE or Xfce, they supports X11 XReparent and handling of keyboard focus events correctly. Other Lighter DEs or Tiling WMs do not support EAF very well, such as i3wm or awesome.

[EAF] *eaf* aborted (core dumped) error

Please check the *eaf* buffer, something is wrong on the Python side. Usually due to Python dependencies are not installed correctly.

If you're sure Python dependences are installed correctly, please create an issue with the *eaf* buffer content, it contains many clues that can help us locate the problem faster.

undefined symbol error

If you got "undefined symbol" error after start EAF, and you use Arch Linux, yes, it's a bug of Arch.

You need use pip install all dependences after you upgrade your Arch system, then undefine symbol error will fix.

sudo pip3 install dbus-python python-xlib pyqt5 pyqtwebengine pymupdf grip qrcode feedparser aria2p --force-reinstall

What is Github Personal Access Tokens?

If you use EAF Markdown Previewer, to get consistent previewing, you need to access Github Personal access token site, fill something in "Token description" and click button "Generate token" to get your personal token. Then set the token:

(setq eaf-grip-token "yourtokencode")

Although Markdown Previewer works for the first few times by entering empty string when prompted, eventually it stops working and gives "GitHub Rate Limit Reached" error.


If you need to use proxy to access internet, one can configure the proxy settings.

(setq eaf-proxy-type "http")
(setq eaf-proxy-host "")
(setq eaf-proxy-port "1080")

If you use Socks5 as local proxy, one can set proxy type with:

(setq eaf-proxy-type "socks5")

EAF in the community

A list of other community packages that use EAF to enhance their graphical experiences!

If we missed your package, please make a PR to add it to the list.

Report bug

For any installation and configuration assistance, please read the Wiki first!

If you encounter any problem with EAF, please use command emacs -q with a minimal setup that only contains EAF and verify the bug is reproducible. If emacs -q works fine, probably something is wrong with your Emacs config.

If the problem persists, please report bug here.

If you got segfault error, please use the following way to collect crash information:

  1. Install gdb and turn on option eaf-enable-debug
  2. Use command eaf-stop-process stop current process
  3. Restart eaf, send issue with *eaf* buffer content when next crash

Join Us

Do you want to make Emacs a real "operating system"?

Do you want to live in Emacs more comfortably?

Do you want to revolutionize the capabilities of Emacs?

Let's hack together!


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