My emacs configuration
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Emacs configuration

This repository contains my Emacs configuration. It is written and documented in literate programming style.

Play Emacs like an instrument

If you’re new to Emacs and just want to have a look around: Lean back and relax while enjoying a deep dive into the wonderful world of the Emacs editor. I have a talk “Play Emacs like an instrument” which is a small teaser of what Emacs can do - and what kinds of features you’ll find in this repository:



Emacs configuration is usually done in the home directory in the .emacs.d folder. This holds true for Unix and Linux systems. For Windows, look it up here.

git clone ~/.emacs.d


Emacs dependencies/libraries are managed via the internal package management system. To initially install packages, open ~/.emacs.d/init.el, refresh your package list with M-x package-refresh-contents and install everything using M-x eval-buffer.

Dependency management

Define package repositories(archives)

(require 'package)

(setq package-archives '(("gnu" . "")
                         ("marmalade" . "")
                         ("melpa" . "")))

Define packages that are to be installed

List all used third-party packages. Most will be configured further down in this file, some are used with the default configuration.

(defvar my-packages '(ac-cider
                      ivy counsel swiper

Install packages

(dolist (p my-packages)
  (unless (package-installed-p p)
    (package-install p))
  (add-to-list 'package-selected-packages p))

Default Settings

This section contains settings for built-in Emacs features.

Gargabe Collection

Allow 20MB of memory (instead of 0.76MB) before calling garbage collection. This means GC runs less often, which speeds up some operations.

(setq gc-cons-threshold 20000000)

Do not create backup files

(setq make-backup-files nil)

Auto-Save in /tmp

Store backups and auto-saved files in TEMPORARY-FILE-DIRECTORY (which defaults to /tmp on Unix), instead of in the same directory as the file.

(setq backup-directory-alist
      `((".*" . ,temporary-file-directory)))
(setq auto-save-file-name-transforms
      `((".*" ,temporary-file-directory t)))

Always follow symlinks

When opening a file, always follow symlinks.

(setq vc-follow-symlinks t)

Sentences have one space after a period

Don’t assume that sentences should have two spaces after periods.

(setq sentence-end-double-space nil)

Confirm before closing Emacs

(setq confirm-kill-emacs 'y-or-n-p)


Ability to use a to visit a new directory or file in dired instead of using RET. RET works just fine, but it will create a new buffer for every interaction whereas a reuses the current buffer.

(put 'dired-find-alternate-file 'disabled nil)

Human readable units

(setq-default dired-listing-switches "-alh")

Ask y/n instead of yes/no

This is a favorable shorthand.

(fset 'yes-or-no-p 'y-or-n-p)

Auto revert files on change

When something changes a file, automatically refresh the buffer containing that file so they can’t get out of sync.

(global-auto-revert-mode t)

Shortcut for changing font-size

(define-key global-map (kbd "C-1") 'text-scale-increase)
(define-key global-map (kbd "C-0") 'text-scale-decrease)

Disable startup message

(setq inhibit-splash-screen t)
(setq inhibit-startup-message t)

Display the current time

(display-time-mode t)

Do not display GUI Toolbar

(tool-bar-mode 0)

Automatic Line Breaks

(add-hook 'text-mode-hook 'auto-fill-mode)

Enable Narrow To Region

Enable narrow-to-region (C-x n n / C-x n w). This is disabled by default to not confuse beginners.

(put 'narrow-to-region 'disabled nil)

Disable scroll bars

(scroll-bar-mode -1)

Remember the cursor position of files when reopening them

(setq save-place-file "~/.emacs.d/saveplace")
(setq-default save-place t)
(require 'saveplace)

Set $MANPATH, $PATH and exec-path from shell even when started from GUI helpers like dmenu or Spotlight



Windmove is built into Emacs. It lets you move point from window to window using Shift and the arrow keys. This is easier to type than ‘C-x o’ when there are multiple windows open.

(when (fboundp 'windmove-default-keybindings)


Allows to ‘undo’ (and ‘redo’) changes in the window configuration with the key commands ‘C-c left’ and ‘C-c right’.

(when (fboundp 'winner-mode)
  (winner-mode 1))

Getting from many windows to one window is easy: ‘C-x 1’ will do it. But getting back to a delicate WindowConfiguration is difficult. This is where Winner Mode comes in: With it, going back to a previous session is easy.


Do not ring the system bell, but show a visible feedback.

(setq visible-bell t)


Try to use passive mode for FTP.

Note: Some firewalls might not allow standard active mode. However: Some FTP Servers might not allow passive mode. So if there’s problems when connecting to an FTP, try to revert to active mode.

(setq ange-ftp-try-passive-mode t)


When entering eww, use cursors to scroll without changing point.

(add-hook 'eww-mode-hook 'scroll-lock-mode)


(setq custom-file "~/.emacs.d/custom-settings.el")
(load custom-file t)


This section contains settings for non-built-in Emacs features that are generally applicable to different kinds of modes.


Whenever the window scrolls a light will shine on top of your cursor so you know where it is.

(beacon-mode 1)


Ever wish you could just look through everything you’ve killed recently to find out if you killed that piece of text that you think you killed (or yanked), but you’re not quite sure? If so, then browse-kill-ring is the Emacs extension for you.

(require 'browse-kill-ring)
(setq browse-kill-ring-highlight-inserted-item t
      browse-kill-ring-highlight-current-entry nil
      browse-kill-ring-show-preview t)
(define-key browse-kill-ring-mode-map (kbd "j") 'browse-kill-ring-forward)
(define-key browse-kill-ring-mode-map (kbd "k") 'browse-kill-ring-previous)


Evil is an extensible Vim layer for Emacs.

This combines the best of both worlds: VIM being a great text-editor with modal editing through semantic commands and Emacs being a LISP REPL.

Enable Evil

(evil-mode t)
;; Enable "M-x" in evil mode
(global-set-key (kbd "M-x") 'execute-extended-command)

Leader Mode Config

(evil-leader/set-leader ",")
  "w" 'basic-save-buffer
  "s" 'flyspell-buffer
  "b" 'evil-buffer
  "q" 'evil-quit)

Evil Surround, emulating tpope’s surround.vim

(require 'evil-surround)
(global-evil-surround-mode 1)

Multiple Cursors

evil-mc provides multiple cursors functionality for Emacs when used with evil-mode.

C-n / C-p are used for creating cursors, and M-n / M-p are used for cycling through cursors. The commands that create cursors wrap around; but, the ones that cycle them do not. To skip creating a cursor forward use C-t or grn and backward grp. Finally use gru to remove all cursors.

Enable evil-mc for all buffers

(global-evil-mc-mode  1)

Fast switching between buffers

(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "{") 'evil-next-buffer)
(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "}") 'evil-prev-buffer)

Increment / Decrement numbers

(global-set-key (kbd "C-=") 'evil-numbers/inc-at-pt)
(global-set-key (kbd "C--") 'evil-numbers/dec-at-pt)
(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "C-=") 'evil-numbers/inc-at-pt)
(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "C--") 'evil-numbers/dec-at-pt)

Use j/k for browsing wrapped lines

(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "j") 'evil-next-visual-line)
(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "k") 'evil-previous-visual-line)

Paste in Visual Mode

(define-key evil-insert-state-map (kbd "C-v") 'evil-visual-paste)

Disable evil-mode for some modes

Since Emacs is a multi-purpose LISP REPL, there are many modes that are not primarily (or not at all) centered about text-manipulation. For those, it is reasonable to disable evil-mode, because it will bring nothing to the table, but might just shadow some keyboard shortcuts.

(mapc (lambda (mode)
        (evil-set-initial-state mode 'emacs)) '(elfeed-show-mode

Unbind M-. and M- in evil-mode

M-. and M-,= are popular keybindings for "jump to definition" and "back". =evil-mode by default binds those to rather rarely used functions evil-repeat-pop-next and xref-pop-marker-stack, for some reason.

(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "M-.") nil)
(define-key evil-normal-state-map (kbd "M-,") nil)


Escape from insert state and everything else.

(setq-default evil-escape-delay 0.2)
(setq-default evil-escape-key-sequence "jk")

This results in the same feature-set like this vim keybinding:

"Remap ESC to jk
:imap jk <esc>

Which Key

which-key displays available keybindings in a popup.

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'which-key-mode)
(add-hook 'cider-mode-hook 'which-key-mode)



Auto Complete

Basic Configuration



Set tab width to 2 for all buffers

(setq-default tab-width 2)

Use 2 spaces instead of a tab.

(setq-default tab-width 2 indent-tabs-mode nil)

Indentation cannot insert tabs.

(setq-default indent-tabs-mode nil)

Use 2 spaces instead of tabs for programming languages.

(setq js-indent-level 2)

(setq coffee-tab-width 2)

(setq python-indent 2)

(setq css-indent-offset 2)

(add-hook 'sh-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
            (setq sh-basic-offset 2
                  sh-indentation 2)))

(setq web-mode-markup-indent-offset 2)

Syntax Checking

Enable global on the fly syntax checking through flycheck.

(add-hook 'after-init-hook #'global-flycheck-mode)

Manage TODO/FIXME/XXX comments

comment-tags highlights and lists comment tags such as ‘TODO’, ‘FIXME’, ‘XXX’.

Commands (prefixed by C-c t):

  • b to list tags in current buffer (comment-tags-list-tags-buffer).
  • a to list tags in all buffers (comment-tags-list-tags-buffers).
  • s to jump to tag in current buffer by a word or phrase using reading-completion (comment-tags-find-tags-buffer).
  • n to jump to next tag from point (comment-tags-next-tag).
  • p to jump to previous tag from point (comment-tags-previous-tag).
(setq comment-tags-keymap-prefix (kbd "C-c t"))
(with-eval-after-load "comment-tags"
  (setq comment-tags-keyword-faces
        `(("TODO" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#DF5427"))
          ("FIXME" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#DF5427"))
          ("BUG" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#DF5427"))
          ("HACK" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#DF5427"))
          ("KLUDGE" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#DF5427"))
          ("XXX" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#DF5427"))
          ("INFO" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#1FDA9A"))
          ("DONE" . ,(list :weight 'bold :foreground "#1FDA9A"))))
  (setq comment-tags-comment-start-only t
        comment-tags-require-colon t
        comment-tags-case-sensitive t
        comment-tags-show-faces t
        comment-tags-lighter nil))
(add-hook 'prog-mode-hook 'comment-tags-mode)

Auto-indent with the Return key

(define-key global-map (kbd "RET") 'newline-and-indent)

Highlight matching parenthesis

(show-paren-mode t)

Delete trailing whitespace

Delete trailing whitespace in all modes. Except when editing Markdown, because it uses two trailing blanks as a signal to create a line break.

(add-hook 'before-save-hook '(lambda()
                              (when (not (or (derived-mode-p 'markdown-mode)
                                             (derived-mode-p 'org-mode))

Code Folding

Enable code folding for programming modes.

  • zc: Fold
  • za: Unfold
  • zR: Unfold everything
(add-hook 'prog-mode-hook #'hs-minor-mode)


Standard linters

For syntax checking to work, installing the command-line linter tools ruby-lint and eslint are a premise:

gem install rubocop ruby-lint
npm install -g eslint


(setq ruby-indent-level 2)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.scss?\\'" . scss-mode))
;; Don't compile scss on save
(setq scss-compile-at-save nil)

(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.rb?\\'" . enh-ruby-mode))
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.rake?\\'" . enh-ruby-mode))
(add-hook 'enh-ruby-mode-hook 'linum-mode)


Code navigation, documentation lookup and completion for Ruby

(add-hook 'enh-ruby-mode-hook 'robe-mode)
(add-hook 'robe-mode-hook 'ac-robe-setup)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.erb?\\'" . robe-mode))

Start robe-mode with M-x robe-start.


  • C-c C-d Lookup documentation
  • M-. Jump to definition
  • TAB Auto-completion through auto-complete-mode

auto-complete for robe-mode

(add-hook 'enh-ruby-mode-hook 'auto-complete-mode)



Cider is short for The “Clojure Interactive Development Environment that Rocks for Emacs”. For good reasons, it is the most popular IDE for developing Clojure.

  • M-x cider-jack-in To start REPL
  • C-c C-k Evaluate current buffer
  • C-c M-n Change ns in cider-nrepl to current ns
  • C-c C-d C-d Display documentation for the symbol under point
  • C-c C-d C-a Apropos search for arbitrary text across function names and documentation

CIDER REPL Key Bindings

  • C-↑, C-↓ Cycle through REPL history.
  • More Cider shortcuts here.


Create a ~/.lein/profiles.clj file with:

{:user {:plugins [[cider/cider-nrepl "0.13.0-SNAPSHOT"]
                  [refactor-nrepl "2.2.0"]]
        :dependencies [[org.clojure/tools.nrepl "0.2.12"]]}}

Emacs configuration

Setup Cider with auto-complete.

(require 'ac-cider)
;;(setq ac-quick-help-delay 0.5)
(add-hook 'cider-mode-hook 'ac-flyspell-workaround)
(add-hook 'cider-mode-hook 'ac-cider-setup)
(add-hook 'cider-repl-mode-hook 'ac-cider-setup)
(eval-after-load "auto-complete"
     (add-to-list 'ac-modes 'cider-mode)
     (add-to-list 'ac-modes 'cider-repl-mode)))

When connecting to a repl, don’t pop to the new repl buffer.

(setq cider-repl-pop-to-buffer-on-connect nil)


A collection of Clojure refactoring functions for Emacs.

(require 'clj-refactor)
(add-hook 'clojure-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
            (clj-refactor-mode 1)
            (setq cljr-warn-on-eval nil)
            (yas-minor-mode 1) ; for adding require/use/import statements
            ;; This choice of keybinding leaves cider-macroexpand-1 unbound
            (cljr-add-keybindings-with-prefix "C-c C-m")))

clj-refactor enables refactorings like extracting functions (C-c C-m ef). Find the list of available refactorings here.


js2-mode and tern

JavaScript is improved with js2-mode as well as Tern.

Tern is a stand-alone code-analysis engine for JavaScript used for:

  • Auto completion on variables and properties
  • Function argument hints
  • Querying the type of an expression
  • Finding the definition of something
  • Automatic refactoring

Tern is installed as an NPM package: npm install -g tern.

To enable Tern in emacs, the tern and tern-auto-complete packages are installed.

For completion to work in a Node.js project, a .tern-project file like this is required:

{"plugins": {"node": {}}}


{"libs": ["browser", "jquery"]}

If no project file is found, it’ll fall back to a default configuration. You can change this default configuration by putting a .tern-config file, with the same format as .tern-project, in your home directory.

My ~/.tern-config file looks like this:

  "libs": [
  "plugins": {
    "es_modules": {},
    "node": {}

Here is more documentation on how to configure a Tern project.

Tern shortcuts:

  • M-. Jump to the definition of the thing under the cursor.
  • =M-,= Brings you back to last place you were when you pressed M-..
  • C-c C-r Rename the variable under the cursor.
  • C-c C-c Find the type of the thing under the cursor.
  • C-c C-d Find docs of the thing under the cursor. Press again to open the associated URL (if any).


(add-hook 'js-mode-hook (lambda () (tern-mode t)))
(eval-after-load 'tern
      (require 'tern-auto-complete)


A JavaScript refactoring library for Emacs.

(add-hook 'js2-mode-hook #'js2-refactor-mode)
(js2r-add-keybindings-with-prefix "C-c C-m")


Run a JavaScript interpreter in an inferior process window.


(require 'js-comint)


(add-hook 'js2-mode-hook
          (lambda ()
            (local-set-key (kbd "C-x C-e") 'js-send-last-sexp)
            (local-set-key (kbd "C-M-x") 'js-send-last-sexp-and-go)
            (local-set-key (kbd "C-c b") 'js-send-buffer)
            (local-set-key (kbd "C-c C-b") 'js-send-buffer-and-go)
            (local-set-key (kbd "C-c l") 'js-load-file-and-go)))


An emacs plugin for Flow, a static typechecker for JavaScript.

  • Shows errors found by typechecking JavaScript code with Flow.
  • Provides a bunch of common IDE features powered by Flow to aid reading and writing JavaScript code.
(load-file "~/.emacs.d/flow-for-emacs/flow.el")


Flow is a static type checker for JavaScript.

Type Inference

Flow uses type inference to find bugs even without type annotations. It precisely tracks the types of variables as they flow through your program.

Idiomatic JS

Flow is designed for JavaScript programmers. It understands common JavaScript idioms and very dynamic code.

Realtime Feedback

Flow incrementally rechecks your changes as you work, preserving the fast feedback cycle of developing plain JavaScript.


(require 'flycheck-flow)
(add-hook 'javascript-mode-hook 'flycheck-mode)

General JavaScript configuration

(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.js\\'" . js2-mode))
(add-hook 'js-mode-hook 'js2-minor-mode)
(setq js2-highlight-level 3)
(setq js-indent-level 2)
;; Semicolons are optional in JS, do not warn about them missing
(setq js2-strict-missing-semi-warning nil)



rainbow-mode is a minor mode for Emacs which displays strings representing colors with the color they represent as background.

(add-hook 'prog-mode-hook 'rainbow-mode)

Impatient Mode

Live JavaScript Coding Emacs/Browser: See your changes in the browser as you type


Enable the web server provided by simple-httpd: M-x httpd-start

Publish buffers by enabling the minor mode impatient-mode: M-x impatient-mode

And then point your browser to http://localhost:8080/imp/, select a buffer, and watch your changes appear as you type!

Process JSON

jq is a lightweight and flexible command-line JSON processor.

Thanks to @branch14 of 200ok fame for the function!

(defun jq-json ()
     (read-string "Command: " "jq -M '.'") t t)))


web-mode.el is an autonomous major-mode for editing web templates.

(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.html?\\'" . web-mode))
;; Ruby Templates
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.erb?\\'" . web-mode))
;; Handlebars
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.hbs?\\'" . web-mode))
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.json?\\'" . web-mode))

(setq web-mode-enable-current-element-highlight t)
(setq web-mode-ac-sources-alist
  '(("html" . (ac-source-words-in-buffer ac-source-abbrev))))


p_slides is a static files only, dead simple way, to create semantic slides. The slide content is markdown, embedded in a HTML file. When opening a presentation.html file, enable markdown-mode.

(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("presentation.html" . markdown-mode))
(add-hook 'markdown-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)

Auto Reload Web Sites

Introducing a custom browser-reloading-mode. It’s a quick implementation and not a real derived mode.

When enabling browser-reloading-mode for a specific buffer, whenever this buffer is saved, a command-line utility is called. This in turn is a wrapper around xdotool with which a reloading of the Chromium browser is triggered.

This is handy when working in a web environment that doesn’t natively support hot-reloading (static web pages, for instance) and the page has too much (dynamic) content to be displayed properly in impatient-mode. I’m using it for example when working on a p_slides slide deck.

(defun reload-chromium ()
  (when enable-browser-reloading
    (shell-command-to-string "")))

(defun browser-reloading-mode ()
  "Finds the open chromium session and reloads the tab"
  ;; When set, disable the local binding and therefore disable the mode
  (if enable-browser-reloading
      (setq enable-browser-reloading nil)
    ;; Otherwise create a local var and set it to True
      (make-local-variable 'enable-browser-reloading)
      (setq enable-browser-reloading t))))

;; By default, disable the guard against using `reload-chromium`
(setq enable-browser-reloading nil)
(add-hook 'after-save-hook #'reload-chromium)


(require 'yaml-mode)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.yml$" . yaml-mode))


(add-hook 'markdown-mode-hook 'auto-fill-mode)


Magit is an interface to the version control system Git.


Create shortcut for Magit.

(global-set-key (kbd "C-x g") 'magit-status)

Always sign commits with GPG

(setq magit-commit-arguments (quote ("")))

Start the commit buffer in evil normal mode

(add-hook 'with-editor-mode-hook 'evil-normal-state)


Projectile is a project interaction library. For instance - finding project files (C-c p f) or jumping to a new project (C-c p p).


Enable Projectile globally

(projectile-mode +1)
(define-key projectile-mode-map (kbd "s-p") 'projectile-command-map)
(define-key projectile-mode-map (kbd "C-c p") 'projectile-command-map)

Dumb Jumb

“Jump to definition” with support for multiple programming languages that favors “just working”. This means minimal – and ideally zero – configuration with absolutely no stored indexes (TAGS) or persistent background processes.

Dumb Jump uses The Silver Searcher ag, ripgrep rg, or grep to find potential definitions of a function or variable under point. It uses a set of regular expressions based on the file extension, or major-mode, of the current buffer.

(setq dumb-jump-selector 'ivy)


The one important shortcut is C-M-g which attempts to jump to the definition of the thing under point.


Outline-based notes management and organizer. It is an outline-mode for keeping track of everything.

Plain Lists

Allow ‘a.’, ‘A.’, ‘a)’ and ‘A) as list elements:

(setq org-list-allow-alphabetical t)

General configuration

(require 'org)

; languages for org-babel support
   (shell . t)
   (js . t)
   (ruby . t)

(add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'auto-fill-mode)
(add-hook 'org-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)

(setq org-directory "~/switchdrive/org/")

(defun set-org-agenda-files ()
  "Set different org-files to be used in `org-agenda`."
  (setq org-agenda-files (list (concat org-directory "")
                               (concat org-directory "")
                               (concat org-directory "")
                               (concat org-directory "")
                               (concat "~/Dropbox/ZHAW/web3-unterlagen/")
                               (concat "~/Dropbox/ZHAW/weng-unterlagen/")
                               (concat "~/src/200ok/crowdfunding/")
                               (concat "~/src/200ok/200ok-admin/"))))


(global-set-key "\C-cl" 'org-store-link)

(defun things ()
  "Open main 'org-mode' file and start 'org-agenda' for today."
  (find-file (concat org-directory ""))
  (other-window 1))

  "a" 'org-archive-subtree-default)

;; Allow =pdflatex= to use shell-commands
;; This will allow it to use =pygments= as syntax highlighter for exports to PDF
(setq org-latex-pdf-process
      '("xelatex -shell-escape -interaction nonstopmode -output-directory %o %f"
        "xelatex -shell-escape -interaction nonstopmode -output-directory %o %f"
        "xelatex -shell-escape -interaction nonstopmode -output-directory %o %f"))

;; Include =minted= package for LaTeX exports
(add-to-list 'org-latex-packages-alist '("" "minted"))
(setq org-latex-listings 'minted)

KOMA Script export

(require 'ox-latex)
(add-to-list 'org-latex-classes
               ("\\section{%s}" . "\\section*{%s}")))

Tufte org-mode export

(require 'ox-latex)
(add-to-list 'org-latex-classes
	       ("\\section{%s}" . "\\section*{%s}")
	       ("\\subsection{%s}" . "\\subsection*{%s}")
	       ("\\paragraph{%s}" . "\\paragraph*{%s}")
	       ("\\subparagraph{%s}" . "\\subparagraph*{%s}")))

Capture Templates

Set up capture templates for:

  • Todos which land in
  • Code Snippets which land in
  • Shopping Items which get appended to the Shopping List in
  • Media Entries (watch/read later items) that land in

Org Capture Templates are explained here, Org Template expansion here.

;; Set org-capture inbox
(setq org-default-notes-file (concat org-directory ""))
(define-key global-map "\C-cc" 'org-capture)

(setq org-capture-templates
      '(("t" "Todo" entry (file+headline (concat org-directory "") "Tasks")
         "* TODO %?\n  %U\n  %i\n  %a")
        ("s" "Code Snippet" entry (file+headline "~/src/200ok/knowledge/" "Snippets")
         ;; Prompt for tag and language
         "* %?\t%^g\n#+BEGIN_SRC %^{language}\n%i\n#+END_SRC")
        ("S" "Shopping Item" entry
         (file+headline (concat org-directory "") "Shopping")
         ;; Prompt for tag and language
         "* TODO %?\n  %U\n")

        ("p" "password" entry (file+headline "~/switchdrive/org/vault/" "Passwords")
         ;; Prompt for name
         "* %^{name}
 :username: %^{username}
 :password: %(generate-password-non-interactive)
 :url: %^{url}


        ("m" "Media" entry
         (file+datetree (concat org-directory ""))
         "* %?\nURL: \nEntered on %U\n")))


A leightweight implementation of the Pomodoro Technique is implemented through customizing orgmode. For every Clock that is started (C-c C-x C-i) an automatic Timer is scheduled to 25min. After these 25min are up, a “Time to take a break!” message is played and a pop-up notification is shown.

The timer is not automatically stopped on clocking out, because clocking in should still work on new tasks without resetting the Pomodoro.

The timer can manyally be stopped with M-x org-timer-stop.

A break can be started with M-x pomodoro-break. A pomodoro can also manually be started without clocking in via M-x pomodoro-start.

(load "~/.emacs.d/org-pomodoro")

Keyword sets

I use two workflow sets:

  • One for TODOs which can either be TODO or DONE
  • Another for tasks that I am WAITING for something to happen or which are in PROGRESS

Additionally I sometimes use the keywords PROJECT and AGENDA to denote special bullets that I might tag (schedule/deadline) in the agenda. These keywords give semantics to those bullets.

Note that “|” denotes a semantic state change that is reflected in a different color. Putting the pipe at the end means that all states prior should be shown in the same color.

(setq org-todo-keywords
          '((sequence "TODO" "|" "DONE")
            (sequence "PROJECT" "AGENDA" "|" "MINUTES")
            (sequence "WAITING" "|" "PROGRESS")))

Clock Table

Clocksum Format

When using a clock table, org will by default sum up the time in perfectly human readable terms like this:

Total time1d 1:03

For easy calculations (I don’t want to parse our hours, weeks and what not), I do prefer that the summation is done only in hours and minutes. Therefore, I over-wrote the org-time-clocksum-format function:

(setq org-duration-format 'h:mm)

This will render the same time as above as:

Total time25:03

Clock entries without LOGBOOK

Do not wrap clock entries into a :LOGBOOK: (mainly for backwards compatability reasons with ok-export-org-timetable.

(setq org-clock-into-drawer nil)


PDF Tools is, among other things, a replacement of DocView for PDF files. The key difference is that pages are not pre-rendered by e.g. ghostscript and stored in the file-system, but rather created on-demand and stored in memory.

PDF Tools for me is - hands down - the best PDF viewer! It’s not an excuse to do even more within Emacs.


When using evil-mode and pdf-tools and looking at a zoomed PDF, it will blink, because the cursor blinks. This configuration disables this whilst retaining the blinking cursor in other modes.

(evil-set-initial-state 'pdf-view-mode 'emacs)
(add-hook 'pdf-view-mode-hook
  (lambda ()
    (set (make-local-variable 'evil-emacs-state-cursor) (list nil))))


Elfeed is an extensible web feed reader for Emacs, supporting both Atom and RSS.


(require 'elfeed)
(require 'elfeed-goodies)


;; Have automatic word-wrap
;; This should work, but there seems to be a bug
;; For the time being, use =M-x visual-fill-column-mode=
;;    (add-hook 'elfeed-show-mode-hook '(lambda()
;;                                        (if (string-equal "*elfeed-entry*" (buffer-name))
;;                                            (visual-fill-column-mode))))

Define elfeed feeds

(load "~/.emacs.d/elfeed-feeds.el")

Integration with browsers

Editing text areas in browsers can be quite tedious for the lack of a good editor. Luckily, there’s good extensions for both Chrome/Chromium and Firefox to have a live binding to an Emacs session.

There is a good Emacs package called Atomic Chrome which is similar to Edit with Emacs, but has some advantages as below with the help of websockets:

  • The input on Emacs is reflected to the browser instantly and continuously.
  • You can use both the browser and Emacs at the same time. They are updated to the same content bi-directionally.

The name “Atomic Chrome” is a bit misleading, because it actually supports the “GhostText” protocol which allows it to be used with Firefox, as well.

On Firefox, I’m using the GhostText addon. On Chromium, I’m using the AtomicChrome extension. GhostText is also available for Chrome, but it doesn’t work for me which is a non-issue, because both plugins work just the same way: Enter a textarea, hit a button, Emacs opens up, type the text, end the session with C-c C-c.

(require 'atomic-chrome)
;; Handle if there is an Emacs instance running which has the server already
;; started
    ;; Start the server

Note: I opened a PR against AtomicChrome which will make the safe-guard obsolete.

Misc Custom Improvements

Some helper functions and packages I wrote that are only accessible within this Git repository and not published to a package repository.


Elisp wrapper around the translation service. Translations are exposed in an org-mode table.


Load dict.el

(load "~/.emacs.d/dict")

Helper functions to clean up the gazillion buffers

When switching projects in Emacs, it can be prudent to clean up every once in a while. Deleting all buffers except the current one is one of the things I often do (especially in the long-running emacsclient).

(defun kill-other-buffers ()
  "Kill all other buffers."
  (mapc 'kill-buffer (delq (current-buffer) (buffer-list))))

dired will create buffers for every visited folder. This is a helper to clear them out once you’re done working with those folders.

(defun kill-dired-buffers ()
  "Kill all open dired buffers."
  (mapc (lambda (buffer)
          (when (eq 'dired-mode (buffer-local-value 'major-mode buffer))
            (kill-buffer buffer)))

Encode HTML to HTML entities

Rudimentary function converting certain HTML syntax to HTML entities.

(defun encode-html (start end)
  "Encodes HTML entities; works great in Visual Mode (START END)."
  (interactive "r")
      (narrow-to-region start end)
      (goto-char (point-min))
      (replace-string "&" "&amp;")
      (goto-char (point-min))
      (replace-string "<" "&lt;")
      (goto-char (point-min))
      (replace-string ">" "&gt;"))))

Convenience functions when working with PDF exports

When working on markdown or org-mode files that will be converted to PDF, I use pdf-tools to preview the PDF and shortcuts to automatically save, compile and reload on demand.

Here is a screencast showing how I edit Markdown or org-mode files in Emacs whilst having a PDF preview.

In a screenshot, it looks like this:


(defun md-compile ()
  "Compiles the currently loaded markdown file using pandoc into a PDF"
  (shell-command (concat "pandoc " (buffer-file-name) " -o "
                         (replace-regexp-in-string "md" "pdf" (buffer-file-name)))))

(defun update-other-buffer ()
  (other-window 1)
  (revert-buffer nil t)
  (other-window -1))

(defun md-compile-and-update-other-buffer ()
  "Has as a premise that it's run from a markdown-mode buffer and the
   other buffer already has the PDF open"

(defun latex-compile-and-update-other-buffer ()
  "Has as a premise that it's run from a latex-mode buffer and the
   other buffer already has the PDF open"
  (shell-command (concat "pdflatex " (buffer-file-name)))
  (switch-to-buffer (other-buffer))

(defun org-compile-beamer-and-update-other-buffer ()
  "Has as a premise that it's run from an org-mode buffer and the
   other buffer already has the PDF open"

(defun org-compile-latex-and-update-other-buffer ()
  "Has as a premise that it's run from an org-mode buffer and the
   other buffer already has the PDF open"

(eval-after-load 'latex-mode
  '(define-key latex-mode-map (kbd "C-c r") 'latex-compile-and-update-other-buffer))

(define-key org-mode-map (kbd "C-c lr") 'org-compile-latex-and-update-other-buffer)
(define-key org-mode-map (kbd "C-c br") 'org-compile-beamer-and-update-other-buffer)

(eval-after-load 'markdown-mode
  '(define-key markdown-mode-map (kbd "C-c r") 'md-compile-and-update-other-buffer))

Use left Cmd to create Umlauts

Unrelated to Emacs, in macOS, you can write Umlauts by using the combo M-u [KEY]. For example M-u u will create the letter ü.

This is actually faster than the default way of Emacs or that of VIM. The following code ports that functionality to Emacs.

Thx @jcfischer for the function!

(define-key key-translation-map [dead-diaeresis]
  (lookup-key key-translation-map "\C-x8\""))
(define-key isearch-mode-map [dead-diaeresis] nil)
(global-set-key (kbd "M-u")
                (lookup-key key-translation-map "\C-x8\""))

Clean up messy buffers (i.e. web wikis or elfeed-show)

(defun visual-clean ()
  "Clean up messy buffers (i.e. web wikis or elfeed-show)"

Generate passwords

Through pwgen.

Thanks to @branch14 of 200ok fame for the function!

(defun generate-password-non-interactive ()
   (string-trim (shell-command-to-string "pwgen -A 24")))

(defun generate-password ()
  "Generates and inserts a new password"
    (concat "pwgen -A " (read-string "Length: " "24") " 1"))))

Open passwords file

(defun passwords ()
  "Open main 'passwords' file."
  (find-file (concat org-directory "vault/")))

Running M-x shell with zsh

If you’re a zsh user, you might have configured a custom prompt and such. Also, you might be using a powerful $TERM for that. When running zsh within M-x shell, you will have to set the $TERM to dumb, though. Otherwise you’ll get all kinds of escape sequences instead of colored text.

I’m using this within my ~/.zshrc

# This allows running `shell` properly within Emacs
if [ -n "$INSIDE_EMACS" ]; then
  export TERM=dumb
  export TERM=xterm-256color


This is the converse function to the built-in server-start.

(defun server-shutdown ()
  "Save buffers, Quit, and Shutdown (kill) server"


Writing and reading mail is inherently a text-based workflow. Yes, there’s HTML mails and attachments, but at the core Email is probably the place where many people write and consume the most text. To utilize the best text-processing program available, makes a lot of sense.

When combined with other powerful features of Emacs (such as org-mode for organizing mails into projects and todos), processing mails within Emacs not only makes a lot of sense, but becomes a powerhouse.


Emacs has many options for MTAs. I’m using MU4E which is a little similar to using mutt with notmuch. As SMTP, I’m using the built-in smtpmail Emacs package.


MU works on a local Maildir folder. For synchronization offlineimap is used. Install:

  • Debian: apt-get install offlineimap
  • macOS: brew install offlineimap

For MU4E to work, install MU and MU4E:

  • Debian: apt-get install mu4e
  • macOS: brew install mu --with-emacs

For starttls to work when sending mail, install gnutls:

  • Debian: apt-get install gnutls-bin
  • macOS: brew install gnutls



Tell Emacs where to find the encrypted .authinfo file.

(setq auth-sources
    '((:source "~/.authinfo.gpg")))


To open PDFs within Mu4e with Emacs, then there’s one thing to configure. Mu4e uses xdg-open to chose the app to open any mime type.

Configure xdg-open to use Emacs in .local/share/applications/mimeapps.list:

xdg-mime default emacs.desktop application/pdf


Accounts setup

(require 'mu4e)

(require 'org-mu4e)

(setq send-mail-function 'smtpmail-send-it)

;; Default account on startup
(setq user-full-name  "Alain M. Lafon"
      mu4e-sent-folder "/200ok/INBOX.Sent"
      mu4e-drafts-folder "/200ok/INBOX.Drafts"
      mu4e-trash-folder "/200ok/INBOX.Trash")

(setq smtpmail-debug-info t
      message-kill-buffer-on-exit t
      ;; Custom script to run offlineimap in parallel for multiple
      ;; accounts as discussed here:
      ;; This halves the time for checking mails for 4 accounts for me
      ;; (when nothing has to be synched anyway)
      mu4e-get-mail-command ""
      mu4e-attachment-dir "~/switchdrive/org/files/inbox")

(setq mu4e-maildir "~/Maildir/")

;; show full addresses in view message (instead of just names)
;; toggle per name with M-RET
(setq mu4e-view-show-addresses t)

;; Do not show related messages by default (toggle with =W= works
;; anyway)
(setq mu4e-headers-include-related nil)

;; Alternatives are the following, however in first tests they
;; show inferior results
;; (setq mu4e-html2text-command "textutil -stdin -format html -convert txt -stdout")
;; (setq mu4e-html2text-command "html2text -utf8 -width 72")
;; (setq mu4e-html2text-command "w3m -dump -T text/html")

(defvar my-mu4e-account-alist
     (user-full-name  "Alain M. Lafon")
     (mu4e-compose-signature "200ok GmbH\nGeschäftsführer\n\\n+41 76 405 05 67\n\n\nCheck out our newest spin-off:")
     (mu4e-compose-signature-auto-include t)
     (mu4e-sent-folder "/200ok/INBOX.Sent")
     (mu4e-drafts-folder "/200ok/INBOX.Drafts")
     (mu4e-trash-folder "/200ok/INBOX.Trash")
     (user-mail-address "")
     (smtpmail-default-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-local-domain "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-user "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-stream-type starttls)
     (smtpmail-smtp-service 25))
     (mu4e-compose-signature-auto-include nil)
     (user-full-name  "Alain M. Lafon")
     (mu4e-sent-folder "/zhaw/Sent Items")
     (mu4e-drafts-folder "/zhaw/Drafts")
     (mu4e-trash-folder "/zhaw/Deleted Items")
     (user-mail-address "")
     (smtpmail-default-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-local-domain "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-user "")
     (smtpmail-stream-type starttls)
     (smtpmail-smtp-service 587))
     (user-full-name  "Zen Mönch Alain M. Lafon")
     (mu4e-compose-signature "Insopor Zen Akademie\nZen Mönch\n\\n+41 76 405 05 67\n\n")
     (mu4e-compose-signature-auto-include t)
     (mu4e-sent-folder "/zen-tempel/INBOX.Sent")
     (mu4e-drafts-folder "/zen-tempel/INBOX.Drafts")
     (mu4e-trash-folder "/zen-tempel/INBOX.Trash")
     (user-mail-address "")
     (smtpmail-default-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-local-domain "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-user "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-stream-type starttls)
     (smtpmail-smtp-service 25))
     (user-full-name  "Alain M. Lafon")
     (mu4e-compose-signature-auto-include nil)
     (mu4e-sent-folder "/dispatched/INBOX.Sent")
     (mu4e-drafts-folder "/dispatched/INBOX.Drafts")
     (mu4e-trash-folder "/dispatched/INBOX.Trash")
     (user-mail-address "")
     (smtpmail-default-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-local-domain "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-user "")
     (smtpmail-smtp-server "")
     (smtpmail-stream-type starttls)
     (smtpmail-smtp-service 25))))

;; Whenever a new mail is to be composed, change all relevant
;; configuration variables to the respective account. This method is
;; taken from the MU4E documentation:
(defun my-mu4e-set-account ()
  "Set the account for composing a message."
  (let* ((account
          (if mu4e-compose-parent-message
              (let ((maildir (mu4e-message-field mu4e-compose-parent-message :maildir)))
                (string-match "/\\(.*?\\)/" maildir)
                (match-string 1 maildir))
            (completing-read (format "Compose with account: (%s) "
                                     (mapconcat #'(lambda (var) (car var))
                                                my-mu4e-account-alist "/"))
                             (mapcar #'(lambda (var) (car var)) my-mu4e-account-alist)
                             nil t nil nil (caar my-mu4e-account-alist))))
         (account-vars (cdr (assoc account my-mu4e-account-alist))))
    (if account-vars
        (mapc #'(lambda (var)
                  (set (car var) (cadr var)))
      (error "No email account found"))))

(add-hook 'mu4e-compose-pre-hook 'my-mu4e-set-account)
(add-hook 'mu4e-compose-mode-hook 'flyspell-mode)
(add-hook 'mu4e-compose-mode-hook (lambda ()
                                   (ispell-change-dictionary "deutsch")))

(setq mu4e-refile-folder
      (lambda (msg)
         ((string-match "^/dispatched.*"
                        (mu4e-message-field msg :maildir))
         ((string-match "^/zen-tempel.*"
                        (mu4e-message-field msg :maildir))
         ((string-match "^/200ok.*"
                        (mu4e-message-field msg :maildir))
         ((string-match "^/zhaw.*"
                        (mu4e-message-field msg :maildir))
         ;; everything else goes to /archive
         (t  "/archive"))))

;; Empty the initial bookmark list
(setq mu4e-bookmarks '())

;; Re-define all standard bookmarks to not include the spam folders
;; for searches
(defvar d-spam "NOT (maildir:/dispatched/INBOX.spambucket OR maildir:/zen-tempel/INBOX.spambucket OR maildir:/200ok/INBOX.spambucket OR maildir:/zhaw/\"Junk E-Mail\" OR maildir:/zhaw/\"Deleted Items\")")

(defvar inbox-folders (string-join '("maildir:/dispatched/INBOX"
                                   " OR "))

(defvar draft-folders (string-join '("maildir:/dispatched/INBOX.Drafts"
                                   " OR "))

(defvar spam-folders (string-join '("maildir:/dispatched/INBOX.spambucket"
                                  " OR "))

(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '((concat d-spam " AND")                  "Today's messages"     ?t))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '((concat d-spam " AND")                     "Last 7 days"          ?w))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '((concat d-spam " AND flag:flagged")                     "Flagged"              ?f))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '((concat d-spam " AND mime:image/*")                     "Messages with images" ?p))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '(spam-folders "All spambuckets"     ?S))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '(draft-folders "All drafts"     ?d))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '(inbox-folders "All inbox mails"     ?i))
(add-to-list 'mu4e-bookmarks
             '((concat d-spam " AND (flag:unread OR flag:flagged) AND NOT flag:trashed")
               "Unread messages"      ?u))

Check for supposed attachments prior to sending them

(defvar my-message-attachment-regexp "\\([Ww]e send\\|[Ii] send\\|attach\\|angehängt\\|[aA]nhang\\|angehaengt\\|haenge\\|hänge\\)")
(defun my-message-check-attachment nil
  "Check if there is an attachment in the message if I claim it."
    (when (search-forward-regexp my-message-attachment-regexp nil t nil)
      (unless (or (search-forward "<#part" nil t nil)
                   "No attachment. Send the message ?" nil nil))
        (error "No message sent")))))
(add-hook 'message-send-hook 'my-message-check-attachment)

For mail completion, only consider emails that have been seen in the last 6 months. This gets rid of legacy mail addresses of people.

(setq mu4e-compose-complete-only-after (format-time-string
                                        (time-subtract (current-time) (days-to-time 150))))

HTML Mails

(require 'mu4e-contrib)
(setq mu4e-html2text-command 'mu4e-shr2text)
;;(setq mu4e-html2text-command "iconv -c -t utf-8 | pandoc -f html -t plain")
(add-to-list 'mu4e-view-actions '("ViewInBrowser" . mu4e-action-view-in-browser) t)

Disable “HTML over plain text” heuristic. This variable officially has this rationale: “Ratio between the length of the html and the plain text part below which mu4e will consider the plain text part to be ‘This messages requires html’ text bodies. You can neutralize it (always show the text version) by using `most-positive-fixnum’.”

This heuristic overwrites the default setting (and configuration) that Plain text should be preferred over HTML!

In my experience, HTML Emails are WAY longer than only 5x the Plain text (Doodle, Airbnb, Meetup, etc), so this will yield me a lot of false positives whereas I have never seen a “This message requires HTML” body.

I wrote an accompanying blog post with further information:

(setq mu4e-view-html-plaintext-ratio-heuristic  most-positive-fixnum)

Setting Format=Flowed for non-text-based mail clients which don’t respect actual formatting, but let the text “flow” as they please.

(setq mu4e-compose-format-flowed t)

Updating mails:

  • Periodic - every 15 minutes
  • Happening in the background

Note: There’s no notifications, because that’s only distracting.

(setq mu4e-update-interval (* 15 60))
(setq mu4e-index-update-in-background t)

GPG configuration:

  • C-c C-e s to sign
  • C-c C-e e to encrypt
  • C-c C-e v to verify the signature
  • C-c C-e d to decrypt
(add-hook 'mu4e-compose-mode-hook 'epa-mail-mode)
(add-hook 'mu4e-view-mode-hook 'epa-mail-mode)

Automatic line breaks when reading mail

(add-hook 'mu4e-view-mode-hook 'visual-line-mode)

Do not reply to self

(setq mu4e-compose-dont-reply-to-self t)

(add-to-list 'mu4e-user-mail-address-list "")
(add-to-list 'mu4e-user-mail-address-list "")
(add-to-list 'mu4e-user-mail-address-list "")

Use Quoted printable text for outgoing messages to enable automatic line breaks

If this is successfull, send upstream PR to MU4E

Mail filtering

Add a header action “Block” which add the Senders Name and From Address to a procmail blacklist.

(defun append-line-to-file (line path)
  "Append a `line` to a file behind `path`"
  (write-region (concat line "\n") nil path 'append))

(defun mu4e-blacklist-from (msg)
  "Add the `from` of a message to the procmail blacklist"
  (let* ((from (mu4e-message-field msg :from))
         (from_name (car (car from)))
         (from_address (cdr (car from))))
    ;; Block the senders Name
    (if from_name
        (append-line-to-file from_name "~/.procmail/blacklist_from.txt"))
    ;; Block the Email-Address
    (append-line-to-file from_address "~/.procmail/blacklist_from.txt")

    (message "Blocking: %s" from)))

(defun mu4e-blacklist-subject (msg)
  "Add the `subject` of a message to the procmail blacklist"
  (let* ((subject (mu4e-message-field msg :subject)))
    (if subject
        (append-line-to-file subject "~/.procmail/blacklist_subject.txt"))

    (message "Blocking: %s" subject)))

(add-to-list 'mu4e-headers-actions
  '("F Block 'From:'" . mu4e-blacklist-from) t)

(add-to-list 'mu4e-headers-actions
  '("S Block 'Subject:'" . mu4e-blacklist-subject) t)

Search / Completion


ido means “Interactively Do Things”. ido has a completion engine that’s sensible to use everywhere. It is built-in and nice and could change a lot of defaults like find-file and switching buffers.

It works well while not breaking Emacs defaults.

(ido-mode t)
(ido-everywhere t)
(setq ido-enable-flex-matching t)


Ivy, a generic completion mechanism for Emacs.

Counsel, a collection of Ivy-enhanced versions of common Emacs commands.

Swiper, an Ivy-enhanced alternative to isearch.

Ivy is an interactive interface for completion in Emacs. Therefore it overlaps in functionality with ido. While Ivy is more powerful, it breaks certain standard functionality. So ido is enabled globally by default and for certain tasks, Ivy overrides ido.

Emacs uses completion mechanism in a variety of contexts: code, menus, commands, variables, functions, etc. Completion entails listing, sorting, filtering, previewing, and applying actions on selected items. When active, ivy-mode completes the selection process by narrowing available choices while previewing in the minibuffer. Selecting the final candidate is either through simple keyboard character inputs or through powerful regular expressions.


(setq enable-recursive-minibuffers t)
(global-set-key (kbd "<f6>") 'ivy-resume)

Show total amount of matches and the index of the current match

(setq ivy-count-format "(%d/%d) ")

Wrap to the first result when on the last result and vice versa.

(setq ivy-wrap t)

Enable Swiper

(global-set-key "\C-s" 'swiper)

Configure Counsel

(global-set-key (kbd "C-x b") 'counsel-ibuffer)
;; Run `counsel-ag` against the current directory and not against the
;; whole project
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c k") '(lambda()
                                 (counsel-ag "" default-directory nil nil)))
(global-set-key (kbd "C-x l") 'counsel-locate)
(define-key minibuffer-local-map (kbd "C-r") 'counsel-minibuffer-history)

Next to counsel, there’s also smex which is M-x combined with ido. smex has a better sorting algorithm than Counsel and having both installed means that we get the Counsel interface with smex sorting. Best of both worlds.

By default, counsel-M-x starts with a ^. More often than not, this will be in the way of me fuzzy matching a function. Therefore I’ll start it with an empty string as argument.

(global-set-key (kbd "M-x") (lambda ()
                              (counsel-M-x "")))

Where Ivy doesn’t work well

Overwriting standard Emacs functionality

Some basic features are overwritten when “everything” becomes an Ivy search buffer. For example:

  • When two dired buffers are open and files should be copied from one to the other, one can use the up and down keys to toggle the destination. When this is a search buffer, it will auto complete for all local folders, instead. Since copying files is something I do often, this already means I have to disable Ivy globally.
  • Tramp auto-completion doesn’t work for me. I’m using sudo:, ssh: and the likes a lot in dired mode. Auto completion when within Tramp is broken for me, so I always have to type out the whole connection string when Ivy is enabled for dired. Since this includes missing auto-completion on remote systems and such, it’s another valid reason to disable Ivy globally.

Disable Swiper where it is broken

Ivy/Swiper cannot search in PDFs. It tries to search in the PDF source code. Therefore I fall back to using isearch within PDFs.

(add-hook 'pdf-view-mode-hook '(lambda()
                                 (define-key pdf-view-mode-map "\C-s" 'isearch-forward)))

Improve other packages with ivy

Projectile completion (Default is ido)

(setq projectile-completion-system 'ivy)

Mu4e “folder” and “from” completion (Default is ido)

(setq mu4e-completing-read-function 'ivy-completing-read)

Synosaurus completion (Default is ido)

(setq synosaurus-choose-method 'ivy-read)

Obsolete alternatives

I used to use isearch instead of Swiper.

Replace i-search-(forward|backward) with their respective regexp capable counterparts

;;(global-set-key (kbd "C-s") 'isearch-forward-regexp)
;;(global-set-key (kbd "C-r") 'isearch-backward-regexp)


For chat-based communication, I like to use IRC. In my ~/.authinfo.gpg file, I have a line like:

machine login "munen" password SECRET_PASSWORD

This file is automatically read when connecting to servers. It’s the same for SMTP servers, for example.

For connecting to IRC, I’m using the built-in package erc.

Configure automatic join list

(setq erc-autojoin-channels-alist '(("" "#200ok" "#erc" "#guix")))

Automatically unfold images when links are shared

(require 'erc-image)
(add-to-list 'erc-modules 'image)


(setq erc-log-channels-directory "~/.erc/logs/")
(add-hook 'erc-insert-post-hook 'erc-save-buffer-in-logs)

Notify when someone is addressing me

(add-hook 'erc-text-matched-hook '(lambda(match-type nickuserhost msg)
                                    (message msg)
                                    (shell-command-to-string (format "notify-send erc '%s'" msg))))


Emacs version of the Vim powerline.

(require 'powerline)

Write Quality


This is a minor mode to aid in finding common writing problems.

It highlights text based on a set of weasel-words, passive-voice and duplicate words.


Synosaurus is a thesaurus front-end with pluggable back-end.

Use the back-end.

(setq synosaurus-backend 'synosaurus-backend-openthesaurus)


Flyspell is a built-in minor mode for on-the-fly spell checking.

Flyspell uses ispell or aspell in the background. I’m using the default (ispell) and have installed a German dictionary from here.


Order corrections by likeliness, not by the default of alphabetical ordering.

(setq flyspell-sort-corrections nil)

Do not print messages for every word (when checking the entire buffer). This is a major performance gain.

(setq flyspell-issue-message-flag nil)

Switch between German and English dictionaries.

(defun flyspell-switch-dictionary()
  "Switch between German and English dictionaries"
  (let* ((dic ispell-current-dictionary)
         (change (if (string= dic "deutsch") "english" "deutsch")))
    (ispell-change-dictionary change)
    (message "Dictionary switched from %s to %s" dic change)))

Do not loose all spellchecking information after adding one word to a personal dictionary

Advice to re-check the buffer after a word has been added to the dictionary. This has the benefit of the word actually being cleared, but the downside that the whole buffer has to be re-checked which an take some time.

(defun flyspell-buffer-after-pdict-save (&rest _)

(advice-add 'ispell-pdict-save :after #'flyspell-buffer-after-pdict-save)

The proper solution (for which I don’t have time now) is to just mark all further occurrences of the word you just saved as correct (without having to recheck the whole buffer).

Implement ispell-pdict-save with above requirement

OS Specific


“Fira Code Retina” as default font. Get it via the fonts-firacode Debian package.

(when (eq system-type 'gnu/linux)
  (set-frame-font "Fira Code Retina 15")
  ;; Default Browser
  (setq browse-url-browser-function 'browse-url-generic
        browse-url-generic-program "chromium")
  (menu-bar-mode -1)
  ;; enable pdf-tools

Display Emoji (requires the fonts-symbola Debian package)

(set-fontset-font t nil "Symbola" nil 'prepend)


(when (eq system-type 'darwin)
  (set-frame-font "Menlo 14")
  ; Use Spotlight to search with M-x locate
  (setq locate-command "mdfind"))

Bad experience

The following packages would be nice, in theory. In practice something is yet amiss, but it might be different in the future. That’s why I’m keeping them around and will try them at another time.


Proposition: Monitors system clipboard and puts everything in the kill-ring.

Caveat: In theory, I liked the package. However, it seemed to cause racing conditions and crashed Emacs multiple times a day. When this is re-implemented in a non-blocking mode, this would be nice.

;; (add-to-list 'after-init-hook 'clipmon-mode-start)


Theoretically this is really nice to have functionality. However, I couldn’t run it for long. Emacs started freezing a lot on the day when I added this lib. I assume, because clipmon is blocking - and I always run multiple instances of Emacs in parallel. They might be in for a classic racing condition. Might be just another bug.


Proposition: When working with Lisp, there’s the option of handing parentheses manually or let them be dealt with by the magic that is Parinfer. I’m using the wonderful parinfer-mode.

Caveat: The original Parinfer curiously is written in JavaScript. parinfer-mode is a re-implementation in Elisp. When I tried it, it was still in it’s early stages and quite buggy. However, the original Parinfer algorithm is quite nice. I’ll try again at some point.

;; (add-hook 'clojure-mode-hook #'parinfer-mode)
;; (add-hook 'emacs-lisp-mode-hook #'parinfer-mode)
;; (setq parinfer-extensions '(company pretty-parens evil))
;; (eval-after-load "parinfer"
;;   '(progn
;;      (define-key parinfer-mode-map (kbd "C-,") 'parinfer-toggle-mode)
;;      (define-key parinfer-region-mode-map (kbd ">") 'parinfer-shift-right)
;;      (define-key parinfer-region-mode-map (kbd "<") 'parinfer-shift-left)))

Presentation / Beamer

Set safe themes (to execute LISP code)

(setq custom-safe-themes

Configure default theme and font size

(defun standard-mode ()
  "Default theme and font size.  Pendant: (presentation-mode)."

  (set-face-attribute 'default nil :height 150)
  ;; Themes
  ;; (set-frame-parameter nil 'background-mode 'dark)
  ;; Dark, High Contrast
  (load-theme 'wombat)
  (setq frame-background-mode (quote dark))
  ;; Dark, Low contrast
  ;; (load-theme 'darktooth)
  ;; Dark, Lowest contrast
  ;; (load-theme 'zenburn)

Configure presentation theme and font size

(defun presentation-mode ()
  "Presentation friendly theme and font size.  Pendant: (standard-mode)."
  (load-theme 'leuven t)
  (set-face-attribute 'default nil :height 140))

Enable default theme and font


Org Mode Exports

Time Export Table

Create a customized time table ready for CSV export.


#+name: ok-timetable
#+BEGIN_SRC elisp
(ok-export-org-timetable "2018-05-09")

When evaluating the src-block above, it’ll yield a table like:

#+RESULTS: ok-timetable
|       date |  hours | task                             |
| 2018-05-09 |   0:02 | #support                         |
| 2018-05-09 |   0:17 | #support                         |

(require 'seq)

(defun ok-filter-table-by-date (tbl from-date table-row)
  "Filter a TBL by FROM-DATE which is found in TABLE-ROW."
  ;; Sort by date
  (seq-sort '(lambda (e1 e2)
               (string-lessp (nth table-row e1)
                             (nth table-row e2)))
            ;; Filter to start with FROM-DATE
            (seq-filter (lambda (elem)
                          (let ((date-elem (nth table-row elem)))
                            ;; >=
                            (when (or (string-greaterp date-elem from-date)
                                      (string-equal date-elem from-date))

(defun ok-hm-to-hours (worktime)
  "Casts HH:MM WORKTIME into a floating point number."
  (condition-case worktime
      (let* ((time (split-string worktime ":"))
             (minutes (/ (string-to-number (second time))
             (hours (string-to-number (first time))))
        (format "%.3f" (+ hours minutes)))
    (error 0)))

(defun ok-split-hash-and-description (text)
  "Given a TEXT like '#tag1 #tag2 some description' and return tags and description as a list."
  ;; The concat is a little hack, so that there's always a minimum
  ;; description to be found
  (let ((text (concat text " ")))
    ;; A hashtag can have numbers, dashes and a-z
    (if (string-match "\\(#[a-z-0-9]+ \\)+" text)
        (let* ((hashtags (match-string 0 text))
               ;; Couldn't figure out how to get the description
               ;; through an elisp regexp, so I'm just reading the
               ;; remainder of the text after all hashtags here
               (description (substring text (length hashtags) (length text))))
           (string-trim hashtags)
           (string-trim description))))))

(defun ok-generate-clock-table ()
  "Generate a list of org elements of type 'clock."
  (let* ((ast (org-element-parse-buffer 'element)))
    ;; Map a function to all elements of TYPE 'clock which extracts
    ;; the TITLE, DURATION and DATE of a TODO.
    (org-element-map ast 'clock
      (lambda (clock-elem)
        (let* ((val (org-element-property :value clock-elem))
               (task (org-element-property :parent (org-element-property :parent clock-elem)))
               (hash-and-description (ok-split-hash-and-description
                                      (org-element-property :title task))))
          `(,(let ((year (org-element-property :year-start val))
                   (month (org-element-property :month-start val))
                   (day (org-element-property :day-start val)))
               (format "%4d-%02d-%02d" year month day ))
            ,(ok-hm-to-hours (org-element-property :duration clock-elem))
            ,(first hash-and-description)
            ,(second hash-and-description)))))))

(defun ok-export-org-timetable (from-date)
  "Generate a list from 'org-mode' clock elements starting from FROM-DATE."
  ;; Concatenate header, element data and footer into one list which
  ;; will automatically be rendered by org-mode as a table.
   '(("date" "duration" "hashtags" "description"))
   ;; Generate tree of all visible elements within buffer (narrowing
   ;; works).
   (ok-filter-table-by-date (ok-generate-clock-table) from-date 0)))

Export Org Mode TODO headers into estimation table

(load-file "~/src/200ok/200ok-admin/src/export-org-estimations/ok-export-org-estimations.el")