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An Emacs major mode for editing Nix expressions. There is also a manual available at


A quick list of what is provided.


This is the main usage of nix-mode. This provides basic handling of .nix files. Syntax highlighting and indentation support using SMIE are provided. nix-mode can be used with the following snippet:

(require 'nix-mode)
(add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.nix\\'" . nix-mode))

or with use-package:

(use-package nix-mode
  :mode "\\.nix\\'")


nix.el contains some miscellaneous tools for Nix developers. Interactive functions include:

  • nix-unpack - unpack source of a Nix attribute.

    To use this just type:

    M-x nix-unpack

    Followed by your Nix path & attribute path.

  • nix-build - build a Nix derivation.

    This is meant to work similarly to M-x compile. It will use your current directory & build it if there is a default.nix there.

nix.el also provides some basic functions for interfacing with Nix. Some variables are provided to point to the Nix binaries that can be used in Lisp code:

  • nix-executable
  • nix-build-executable
  • nix-instantiate-executable
  • nix-store-executable
  • nix-shell-executable

Other useful functions for Lisp scripts are provided:

  • nix-system - Get the current system, detected by Nix


nix-flake.el provides support for flake commands. These commands are experimental as of Nix 2.4.

It uses transient.el to provide a magit-like interface. To run a command on the current flake, type:

M-x nix-flake

You can also initialize a flake from a template:

M-x nix-flake-init


nix-repl.el has two purposes.

First, it provides an interface for completion, used by nix-company.el.

Second, it provides an interactive function to open a repl. You can open this with:

M-x nix-repl


This file provides a command M-x nix-store-show-path. The command displays an overview of a store path. The information it shows is the realisation status, the hash and the size of the store path. Also it shows lists of derivers, references, referrers and requisites of the respective path.

You can change the order in which that information is shown. See the documentation of the function nix-store-show-path for more information.

When viewing a store buffer, the command M-x nix-store-show-log opens a local log file associated with a derivation.


When nix-prettify-mode is enabled, hash-parts of the Nix store file names are prettified, i.e. displayed as nix-prettify-char character ( by default.).

This is based on a similar mode for Guix: Prettify Mode (Emacs-Guix Reference Manual).


This repository is based off of the nix-mode.el file originally located in the Nix repository at misc/emacs/nix-mode.el. Please see the CHANGELOG file for a list of changes.

Other Emacs packages

@shlevy has an excellent package for integrating nix-shell into emacs. It is available at shlevy/nix-buffer.

@travisbhartwell also has some package dealing with Nix. They are available at travisbhartwell/nix-emacs.