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The Init File, .emacs
When you start Emacs, it normally loads the file `.emacs' in your
home directory. This file, if it exists, should contain Lisp code. It
is called your initialization file or "init file". Use the command
line switches `-q' and `-u' to tell Emacs whether to load an init file
(Note: Entering Emacs.).
When the `.emacs' file is read, the variable `init-file-user' says
which user's init file it is. The value may be the null string or a
string containing a user's name. If the value is a null string, it
means that the init file was taken from the user that originally logged
In all cases, `(concat "~" init-file-user "/")' evaluates to the
directory name of the directory where the `.emacs' file was looked for.
At some sites there is a "default init file", which is the library
named `default.el', found via the standard search path for libraries.
The Emacs distribution contains no such library; your site may create
one for local customizations. If this library exists, it is loaded
whenever you start Emacs. But your init file, if any, is loaded first;
if it sets `inhibit-default-init' non-`nil', then `default' is not
If you have a large amount of code in your `.emacs' file, you should
move it into another file named `SOMETHING.el', byte-compile it (*note
Lisp Libraries::.), and load that file from your `.emacs' file using
- Init Syntax
- Syntax of constants in Emacs Lisp.
- Init Examples
- How to do some things with an init file.
- Terminal Init
- Each terminal type can have an init file.
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