Emacs minor mode for a nice writing environment
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Olivetti is a simple Emacs minor mode for a nice writing environment.


Pictured: Big Fish by John August using text body width of 66 (top, also using Fountain Mode), lorem ipsum text using text body width of 80 (bottom)


  • Set a desired text body width to automatically resize window margins to keep the text comfortably in the middle of the window.
  • Text body width can be the number of characters (an integer) or a fraction of the window width (a float between 0.0 and 1.0).
  • Interactively change body width with:
    olivetti-shrink C-c [ [ [ ...
    olivetti-expand C-c ] ] ] ...
    olivetti-set-width C-c \
  • If olivetti-body-width is an integer, the text body width will scale with use of text-scale-mode, whereas if a fraction (float) then the text body width will remain at that fraction.
  • Optionally remember the state of visual-line-mode on entry and recall its state on exit.
  • Optionally hide the mode-line for distraction-free writing.

Olivetti keeps everything it does buffer-local, so you can write prose in one buffer and code in another, side-by-side in the same frame. Or, by hiding the mode-line and using a single window in a fullscreen frame, Olivetti provides a nice distraction-free environment. For those looking for a hardcore distraction-free writing mode with a much larger scope, I recommend writeroom-mode.


  • Emacs 24.4


Olivetti is available through MELPA and MELPA-stable. I encourage installing the stable version.

Alternately, download the latest release and put it in your load-path.

Known Bugs

  • linum-mode in Emacs versions earlier than 26.1 has a bug that overwrites margin settings, making it incompatible with modes that work with margins. More information here: https://debbugs.gnu.org/20674.

Please report bugs on GitHub Issues page.


See Releases.


To always use a different width for a specific file, set a File Variable specifying olivetti-body-width:

M-x add-file-local-variable RET olivetti-body-width RET 66 RET