Use Package

A use-package declaration for simplifying your .emacs
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The use-package macro allows you to isolate package configuration in your .emacs file in a way that is both performance-oriented and, well, tidy. I created it because I have over 80 packages that I use in Emacs, and things were getting difficult to manage. Yet with this utility my total load time is around 2 seconds, with no loss of functionality!

NOTE: use-package is not a package manager! Although use-package does have the useful capability to interface with package managers (see below), its primary purpose is for the configuration and loading of packages.

Installing use-package

Either clone from this GitHub repository or install from GNU ELPA (recommended).

Getting started

Here is the simplest use-package declaration:

;; This is only needed once, near the top of the file
  ;; Following line is not needed if use-package.el is in ~/.emacs.d
  (add-to-list 'load-path "<path where use-package is installed>")
  (require 'use-package))

(use-package foo)

This loads in the package foo, but only if foo is available on your system. If not, a warning is logged to the *Messages* buffer.

Use the :init keyword to execute code before a package is loaded. It accepts one or more forms, up to the next keyword:

(use-package foo
  (setq foo-variable t))

Similarly, :config can be used to execute code after a package is loaded. In cases where loading is done lazily (see more about autoloading below), this execution is deferred until after the autoload occurs:

(use-package foo
  (setq foo-variable t)
  (foo-mode 1))

As you might expect, you can use :init and :config together:

(use-package color-moccur
  :commands (isearch-moccur isearch-all)
  :bind (("M-s O" . moccur)
         :map isearch-mode-map
         ("M-o" . isearch-moccur)
         ("M-O" . isearch-moccur-all))
  (setq isearch-lazy-highlight t)
  (use-package moccur-edit))

In this case, I want to autoload the commands isearch-moccur and isearch-all from color-moccur.el, and bind keys both at the global level and within the isearch-mode-map (see next section). When the package is actually loaded (by using one of these commands), moccur-edit is also loaded, to allow editing of the moccur buffer.

If you autoload non-interactive function, please use :autoload.

(use-package org-crypt
  :autoload org-crypt-use-before-save-magic)


Another common thing to do when loading a module is to bind a key to primary commands within that module:

(use-package ace-jump-mode
  :bind ("C-." . ace-jump-mode))

This does two things: first, it creates an autoload for the ace-jump-mode command and defers loading of ace-jump-mode until you actually use it. Second, it binds the key C-. to that command. After loading, you can use M-x describe-personal-keybindings to see all such keybindings you've set throughout your .emacs file.

A more literal way to do the exact same thing is:

(use-package ace-jump-mode
  :commands ace-jump-mode
  (bind-key "C-." 'ace-jump-mode))

When you use the :commands keyword, it creates autoloads for those commands and defers loading of the module until they are used. Since the :init form is always run -- even if ace-jump-mode might not be on your system -- remember to restrict :init code to only what would succeed either way.

The :bind keyword takes either a cons or a list of conses:

(use-package hi-lock
  :bind (("M-o l" . highlight-lines-matching-regexp)
         ("M-o r" . highlight-regexp)
         ("M-o w" . highlight-phrase)))

Alternatively, the command name may be replaced with a cons (desc . command), where desc is a string describing command, which is the name of a command to bind to:

(use-package avy
  :bind ("C-:" ("Jump to char" . avy-goto-char)
         "M-g f" ("Jump to line" . avy-goto-line)))

These descriptions can be used by other code that deals with key bindings. For example, the GNU ELPA package which-key displays them when showing key bindings, instead of the plain command names.

The :commands keyword takes either a symbol or a list of symbols.

NOTE: inside strings, special keys like tab or F1-Fn have to be written inside angle brackets, e.g. "C-<up>". Standalone special keys (and some combinations) can be written in square brackets, e.g. [tab] instead of "<tab>". The syntax for the keybindings is similar to the "kbd" syntax: see for more information.


(use-package helm
  :bind (("M-x" . helm-M-x)
         ("M-<f5>" . helm-find-files)
         ([f10] . helm-buffers-list)
         ([S-f10] . helm-recentf)))

Furthermore, remapping commands with :bind and bind-key works as expected, because when the binding is a vector, it is passed straight to define-key. So the following example will rebind M-q (originally fill-paragraph) to unfill-toggle:

(use-package unfill
  :bind ([remap fill-paragraph] . unfill-toggle))

Binding to keymaps

Normally :bind expects that commands are functions that will be autoloaded from the given package. However, this does not work if one of those commands is actually a keymap, since keymaps are not functions, and cannot be autoloaded using Emacs' autoload mechanism.

To handle this case, use-package offers a special, limited variant of :bind called :bind-keymap. The only difference is that the "commands" bound to by :bind-keymap must be keymaps defined in the package, rather than command functions. This is handled behind the scenes by generating custom code that loads the package containing the keymap, and then re-executes your keypress after the first load, to reinterpret that keypress as a prefix key.

For example:

(use-package projectile
  ("C-c p" . projectile-command-map))

Binding within local keymaps

Slightly different from binding a key to a keymap, is binding a key within a local keymap that only exists after the package is loaded. use-package supports this with a :map modifier, taking the local keymap to bind to:

(use-package helm
  :bind (:map helm-command-map
         ("C-c h" . helm-execute-persistent-action)))

The effect of this statement is to wait until helm has loaded, and then to bind the key C-c h to helm-execute-persistent-action within Helm's local keymap, helm-command-map.

Multiple uses of :map may be specified. Any binding occurring before the first use of :map are applied to the global keymap:

(use-package term
  :bind (("C-c t" . term)
         :map term-mode-map
         ("M-p" . term-send-up)
         ("M-n" . term-send-down)
         :map term-raw-map
         ("M-o" . other-window)
         ("M-p" . term-send-up)
         ("M-n" . term-send-down)))

Binding to repeat-maps

A special case of binding within a local keymap is when that keymap is used by repeat-mode. These keymaps are usually defined specifically for this. Using the :repeat-map keyword, and passing it a name for the map it defines, will bind all following keys inside that map, and (by default) set the repeat-map property of each bound command to that map.

This creates a keymap called git-gutter+-repeat-map, makes four bindings in it as above, then sets the repeat-map property of each bound command (git-gutter+-next-hunk git-gutter+-previous-hunk, git-gutter+-stage-hunks and git-gutter+-revert-hunk) to that keymap.

(use-package git-gutter+
  (:repeat-map git-gutter+-repeat-map
   ("n" . git-gutter+-next-hunk)
   ("p" . git-gutter+-previous-hunk)
   ("s" . git-gutter+-stage-hunks)
   ("r" . git-gutter+-revert-hunk)))

Specifying :exit inside the scope of :repeat-map will prevent the repeat-map property being set, so that the command can be used from within the repeat map, but after it using it the repeat map will no longer be available. This is useful for commands often used at the end of a series of repeated commands:

(use-package git-gutter+
  (:repeat-map my/git-gutter+-repeat-map
   ("n" . git-gutter+-next-hunk)
   ("p" . git-gutter+-previous-hunk)
   ("s" . git-gutter+-stage-hunks)
   ("r" . git-gutter+-revert-hunk)
   ("c" . magit-commit-create)
   ("C" . magit-commit)
   ("b" . magit-blame)))

Specifying :continue forces setting the repeat-map property (just like not specifying :exit), so these two snippets are equivalent:

(use-package git-gutter+
  (:repeat-map my/git-gutter+-repeat-map
   ("n" . git-gutter+-next-hunk)
   ("p" . git-gutter+-previous-hunk)
   ("s" . git-gutter+-stage-hunks)
   ("r" . git-gutter+-revert-hunk)
   ("c" . magit-commit-create)
   ("C" . magit-commit)
   ("b" . magit-blame)))
(use-package git-gutter+
  (:repeat-map my/git-gutter+-repeat-map
   ("c" . magit-commit-create)
   ("C" . magit-commit)
   ("b" . magit-blame)
   ("n" . git-gutter+-next-hunk)
   ("p" . git-gutter+-previous-hunk)
   ("s" . git-gutter+-stage-hunks)
   ("r" . git-gutter+-revert-hunk)))

Modes and interpreters

Similar to :bind, you can use :mode and :interpreter to establish a deferred binding within the auto-mode-alist and interpreter-mode-alist variables. The specifier to either keyword can be a cons cell, a list of cons cells, or a string or regexp:

(use-package ruby-mode
  :mode "\\.rb\\'"
  :interpreter "ruby")

;; The package is "python" but the mode is "python-mode":
(use-package python
  :mode ("\\.py\\'" . python-mode)
  :interpreter ("python" . python-mode))

If you aren't using :commands, :bind, :bind*, :bind-keymap, :bind-keymap*, :mode, :interpreter, or :hook (all of which imply :defer; see the docstring for use-package for a brief description of each), you can still defer loading with the :defer keyword:

(use-package ace-jump-mode
  :defer t
  (autoload 'ace-jump-mode "ace-jump-mode" nil t)
  (bind-key "C-." 'ace-jump-mode))

This does exactly the same thing as the following:

(use-package ace-jump-mode
  :bind ("C-." . ace-jump-mode))

Magic handlers

Similar to :mode and :interpreter, you can also use :magic and :magic-fallback to cause certain function to be run if the beginning of a file matches a given regular expression. The difference between the two is that :magic-fallback has a lower priority than :mode. For example:

(use-package pdf-tools
  :load-path "site-lisp/pdf-tools/lisp"
  :magic ("%PDF" . pdf-view-mode)
  (pdf-tools-install :no-query))

This registers an autoloaded command for pdf-view-mode, defers loading of pdf-tools, and runs pdf-view-mode if the beginning of a buffer matches the string "%PDF".


The :hook keyword allows adding functions onto package hooks. The following are equivalent:

(use-package company
  :hook (prog-mode . company-mode))

(use-package company
  :commands company-mode
  (add-hook 'prog-mode-hook #'company-mode))

And likewise, when multiple hooks should be applied, all of the following are also equivalent:

(use-package company
  :hook ((prog-mode text-mode) . company-mode))

(use-package company
  :hook ((prog-mode . company-mode)
         (text-mode . company-mode)))

(use-package company
  :hook (prog-mode . company-mode)
  :hook (text-mode . company-mode))

(use-package company
  (prog-mode . company-mode)
  (text-mode . company-mode))

(use-package company
  :commands company-mode
  (add-hook 'prog-mode-hook #'company-mode)
  (add-hook 'text-mode-hook #'company-mode))

When using :hook, omit the "-hook" suffix if you specify the hook explicitly, as this is appended by default. For example, the following code will not work as it attempts to add to the prog-mode-hook-hook which does not exist:

(use-package ace-jump-mode
  :hook (prog-mode-hook . ace-jump-mode))

If you do not like this behaviour, set use-package-hook-name-suffix to nil. By default the value of this variable is "-hook".

The use of :hook, as with :bind, :mode, :interpreter, etc., causes the functions being hooked to implicitly be read as :commands (meaning they will establish interactive autoload definitions for that module, if not already defined as functions), and so :defer t is also implied by :hook.

Package customization

Customizing variables.

The :custom keyword allows customization of package custom variables.

(use-package comint
  (comint-buffer-maximum-size 20000 "Increase comint buffer size.")
  (comint-prompt-read-only t "Make the prompt read only."))

The documentation string is not mandatory.

NOTE: these are only for people who wish to keep customizations with their accompanying use-package declarations. Functionally, the only benefit over using setq in a :config block is that customizations might execute code when values are assigned.

NOTE: The customized values are not saved in the Emacs custom-file. Thus you should either use the :custom option or you should use M-x customize-option which will save customized values in the Emacs custom-file. Do not use both.

Customizing faces

The :custom-face keyword allows customization of package custom faces.

(use-package eruby-mode
  (eruby-standard-face ((t (:slant italic)))))

(use-package example
  (example-1-face ((t (:foreground "LightPink"))))
  (example-2-face ((t (:foreground "LightGreen"))) face-defspec-spec))

(use-package zenburn-theme
  (setq my/zenburn-colors-alist
        '((fg . "#DCDCCC") (bg . "#1C1C1C") (cyan . "#93E0E3")))
  (region ((t (:background ,(alist-get my/zenburn-colors-alist 'cyan)))))
  (load-theme 'zenburn t))

Notes about lazy loading

The keywords :commands, et al, provide "triggers" that cause a package to be loaded when certain events occur. However, if use-package cannot determine that any trigger has been declared, it will load the package immediately (when Emacs is starting up) unless :defer t is given. The presence of triggers can be overridden using :demand t to force immediately loading anyway. For example, :hook represents a trigger that fires when the specified hook is run.

In almost all cases you don't need to manually specify :defer t, because this is implied whenever :bind or :mode or :interpreter are used. Typically, you only need to specify :defer if you know for a fact that some other package will do something to cause your package to load at the appropriate time, and thus you would like to defer loading even though use-package has not created any autoloads for you.

You can override package deferral with the :demand keyword. Thus, even if you use :bind, adding :demand will force loading to occur immediately and not establish an autoload for the bound key.

Information about package loads

When a package is loaded, and if you have use-package-verbose set to t, or if the package takes longer than 0.1s to load, you will see a message to indicate this loading activity in the *Messages* buffer. The same will happen for configuration, or :config blocks that take longer than 0.1s to execute. In general, you should keep :init forms as simple and quick as possible, and put as much as you can get away with into the :config block. This way, deferred loading can help your Emacs to start as quickly as possible.

Additionally, if an error occurs while initializing or configuring a package, this will not stop your Emacs from loading. Rather, the error will be captured by use-package, and reported to a special *Warnings* popup buffer, so that you can debug the situation in an otherwise functional Emacs.

Conditional loading

You can use the :if keyword to predicate the loading and initialization of modules.

For example, I only want edit-server running for my main, graphical Emacs, not for other Emacsen I may start at the command line:

(use-package edit-server
  :if window-system
  (add-hook 'after-init-hook 'server-start t)
  (add-hook 'after-init-hook 'edit-server-start t))

In another example, we can load things conditional on the operating system:

(use-package exec-path-from-shell
  :if (memq window-system '(mac ns))
  :ensure t

The :disabled keyword can turn off a module you're having difficulties with, or stop loading something you're not using at the present time:

(use-package ess-site
  :commands R)

When byte-compiling your .emacs file, disabled declarations are omitted from the output entirely, to accelerate startup times.

NOTE: :when is provided as an alias for :if, and :unless foo means the same thing as :if (not foo).

Conditional loading before :preface

If you need to conditionalize a use-package form so that the condition occurs before even the :preface is executed, simply use when around the use-package form itself. For example, the following will also stop :ensure from happening on Mac systems:

(when (memq window-system '(mac ns))
  (use-package exec-path-from-shell
    :ensure t

Loading packages in sequence

Sometimes it only makes sense to configure a package after another has been loaded, because certain variables or functions are not in scope until that time. This can achieved using an :after keyword that allows a fairly rich description of the exact conditions when loading should occur. Here is an example:

(use-package hydra
  :load-path "site-lisp/hydra")

(use-package ivy
  :load-path "site-lisp/swiper")

(use-package ivy-hydra
  :after (ivy hydra))

In this case, because all of these packages are demand-loaded in the order they occur, the use of :after is not strictly necessary. By using it, however, the above code becomes order-independent, without an implicit depedence on the nature of your init file.

By default, :after (foo bar) is the same as :after (:all foo bar), meaning that loading of the given package will not happen until both foo and bar have been loaded. Here are some of the other possibilities:

:after (foo bar)
:after (:all foo bar)
:after (:any foo bar)
:after (:all (:any foo bar) (:any baz quux))
:after (:any (:all foo bar) (:all baz quux))

When you nest selectors, such as (:any (:all foo bar) (:all baz quux)), it means that the package will be loaded when either both foo and bar have been loaded, or both baz and quux have been loaded.

NOTE: pay attention if you set use-package-always-defer to t, and also use the :after keyword, as you will need to specify how the declared package is to be loaded: e.g., by some :bind. If you're not using one of the mechanisms that registers autoloads, such as :bind or :hook, and your package manager does not provide autoloads, it's possible that without adding :demand t to those declarations, your package will never be loaded.

Prevent loading if dependencies are missing

While the :after keyword delays loading until the dependencies are loaded, the somewhat simpler :requires keyword simply never loads the package if the dependencies are not available at the time the use-package declaration is encountered. By "available" in this context it means that foo is available if (featurep 'foo) evaluates to a non-nil value. For example:

(use-package abbrev
  :requires foo)

This is the same as:

(use-package abbrev
  :if (featurep 'foo))

As a convenience, a list of such packages may be specified:

(use-package abbrev
  :requires (foo bar baz))

For more complex logic, such as that supported by :after, simply use :if and the appropriate Lisp expression.

Byte-compiling your .emacs

Another feature of use-package is that it always loads every file that it can when .emacs is being byte-compiled. This helps to silence spurious warnings about unknown variables and functions.

However, there are times when this is just not enough. For those times, use the :defines and :functions keywords to introduce dummy variable and function declarations solely for the sake of the byte-compiler:

(use-package texinfo
  :defines texinfo-section-list
  :commands texinfo-mode
  (add-to-list 'auto-mode-alist '("\\.texi$" . texinfo-mode)))

If you need to silence a missing function warning, you can use :functions:

(use-package ruby-mode
  :mode "\\.rb\\'"
  :interpreter "ruby"
  :functions inf-ruby-keys
  (defun my-ruby-mode-hook ()
    (require 'inf-ruby)

  (add-hook 'ruby-mode-hook 'my-ruby-mode-hook))

Prevent a package from loading at compile-time

Normally, use-package will load each package at compile time before compiling the configuration, to ensure that any necessary symbols are in scope to satisfy the byte-compiler. At times this can cause problems, since a package may have special loading requirements, and all that you want to use use-package for is to add a configuration to the eval-after-load hook. In such cases, use the :no-require keyword:

(use-package foo
  :no-require t
  (message "This is evaluated when `foo' is loaded"))

Extending the load-path

If your package needs a directory added to the load-path in order to load, use :load-path. This takes a symbol, a function, a string or a list of strings. If the path is relative, it is expanded within user-emacs-directory:

(use-package ess-site
  :load-path "site-lisp/ess/lisp/"
  :commands R)

NOTE: when using a symbol or a function to provide a dynamically generated list of paths, you must inform the byte-compiler of this definition so the value is available at byte-compilation time. This is done by using the special form eval-and-compile (as opposed to eval-when-compile). Further, this value is fixed at whatever was determined during compilation, to avoid looking up the same information again on each startup:

  (defun ess-site-load-path ()
    (shell-command "find ~ -path ess/lisp")))

(use-package ess-site
  :load-path (lambda () (list (ess-site-load-path)))
  :commands R)

Catching errors during use-package expansion

By default, if use-package-expand-minimally is nil (the default), use-package will attempts to catch and report errors that occur during expansion of use-package declarations in your init file. Setting use-package-expand-minimally to t completely disables this checking.

This behavior may be overridden locally using the :catch keyword. If t or nil, it enables or disables catching errors at load time. It can also be a function taking two arguments: the keyword being processed at the time the error was encountered, and the error object (as generated by condition-case). For example:

(use-package example
  ;; Note that errors are never trapped in the preface, since doing so would
  ;; hide definitions from the byte-compiler.
  :preface (message "I'm here at byte-compile and load time.")
  :init (message "I'm always here at startup")
  (message "I'm always here after the package is loaded")
  (error "oops")
  ;; Don't try to (require 'example), this is just an example!
  :no-require t
  :catch (lambda (keyword err)
           (message (error-message-string err))))

Evaluating the above form will print these messages:

I’m here at byte-compile and load time.
I’m always here at startup
Configuring package example...
I’m always here after the package is loaded

Diminishing and delighting minor modes

use-package also provides built-in support for the diminish and delight utilities -- if you have them installed. Their purpose is to remove or change minor mode strings in your mode-line.

diminish is invoked with the :diminish keyword, which is passed either a minor mode symbol, a cons of the symbol and its replacement string, or just a replacement string, in which case the minor mode symbol is guessed to be the package name with "-mode" appended at the end:

(use-package abbrev
  :diminish abbrev-mode
  (if (file-exists-p abbrev-file-name)

delight is invoked with the :delight keyword, which is passed a minor mode symbol, a replacement string or quoted mode-line data (in which case the minor mode symbol is guessed to be the package name with "-mode" appended at the end), both of these, or several lists of both. If no arguments are provided, the default mode name is hidden completely.

;; Don't show anything for rainbow-mode.
(use-package rainbow-mode

;; Don't show anything for auto-revert-mode, which doesn't match
;; its package name.
(use-package autorevert
  :delight auto-revert-mode)

;; Remove the mode name for projectile-mode, but show the project name.
(use-package projectile
  :delight '(:eval (concat " " (projectile-project-name))))

;; Completely hide visual-line-mode and change auto-fill-mode to " AF".
(use-package emacs
  (auto-fill-function " AF")

Package installation

You can use use-package to load packages from ELPA with package.el. This is particularly useful if you share your .emacs among several machines; the relevant packages are downloaded automatically once declared in your .emacs. The :ensure keyword causes the package(s) to be installed automatically if not already present on your system:

(use-package magit
  :ensure t)

If you need to install a different package from the one named by use-package, you can specify it like this:

(use-package tex
  :ensure auctex)

Enable use-package-always-ensure if you wish this behavior to be global for all packages:

(require 'use-package-ensure)
(setq use-package-always-ensure t)

NOTE: :ensure will install a package if it is not already installed, but it does not keep it up-to-date. If you want to keep your packages updated automatically, one option is to use auto-package-update, like

(use-package auto-package-update
  (setq auto-package-update-delete-old-versions t)
  (setq auto-package-update-hide-results t)

Lastly, when running on Emacs 24.4 or later, use-package can pin a package to a specific archive, allowing you to mix and match packages from different archives. The primary use-case for this is preferring packages from the gnu and melpa-stable archives, but using specific packages from melpa when you need to track newer versions than what is available in the stable archives is also a valid use-case.

By default package.el prefers melpa over melpa-stable due to the versioning (> evil-20141208.623 evil-1.0.9), so even if you are tracking only a single package from melpa, you will need to tag all the non-melpa packages with the appropriate archive. If this really annoys you, then you can set use-package-always-pin to set a default.

If you want to manually keep a package updated and ignore upstream updates, you can pin it to manual, which as long as there is no repository by that name, will Just Work(tm).

use-package throws an error if you try to pin a package to an archive that has not been configured using package-archives (apart from the magic manual archive mentioned above):

Archive 'foo' requested for package 'bar' is not available.


(use-package company
  :ensure t
  :pin gnu)

(use-package evil
  :ensure t)
  ;; no :pin needed, as package.el will choose the version in melpa

(use-package adaptive-wrap
  :ensure t
  ;; as this package is available only in the gnu archive, this is
  ;; technically not needed, but it helps to highlight where it
  ;; comes from
  :pin gnu)

(use-package org
  :ensure t
  ;; ignore org-mode from upstream and use a manually installed version
  :pin manual)

NOTE: the :pin argument has no effect on emacs versions < 24.4.

Usage with other package managers

By overriding use-package-ensure-function and/or use-package-pre-ensure-function, other package managers can override :ensure to use them instead of package.el. At the present time, the only package manager that does this is straight.el.

Gathering Statistics

If you'd like to see how many packages you've loaded, what stage of initialization they've reached, and how much aggregate time they've spent (roughly), you can enable use-package-compute-statistics after loading use-package but before any use-package forms, and then run the command M-x use-package-report to see the results. The buffer displayed is a tabulated list. You can use S in a column to sort the rows based on it.

Keyword Extensions

Starting with version 2.0, use-package is based on an extensible framework that makes it easy for package authors to add new keywords, or modify the behavior of existing keywords.

Some keyword extensions are now included in the use-package distribution and can be optionally installed.


The :ensure-system-package keyword allows you to ensure system binaries exist alongside your package declarations.

First, you will want to make sure exec-path is cognisant of all binary package names that you would like to ensure are installed. exec-path-from-shell is often a good way to do this.

To enable the extension after you've loaded use-package:

(use-package use-package-ensure-system-package
  :ensure t)

Here’s an example of usage:

(use-package rg
  :ensure-system-package rg)

This will expect a global binary package to exist called rg. If it does not, it will use your system package manager (using the package system-packages) to attempt an install of a binary by the same name asynchronously. For example, for most macOS users this would call: brew install rg.

If the package is named differently than the binary, you can use a cons in the form of (binary . package-name), i.e.:

(use-package rg
  (rg . ripgrep))

In the previous macOS example, this would call: brew install ripgrep if rg was not found.

What if you want to customize the install command further?

(use-package tern
  :ensure-system-package (tern . "npm i -g tern"))

:ensure-system-package can also take a cons where its cdr is a string that will get called by (async-shell-command) to install if it isn’t found.

You may also pass in a list of cons-es:

(use-package ruby-mode
  ((rubocop     . "gem install rubocop")
   (ruby-lint   . "gem install ruby-lint")
   (ripper-tags . "gem install ripper-tags")
   (pry         . "gem install pry")))

Finally, in case the package dependency does not provide a global executable, you can ensure packages exist by checking the presence of a file path by providing a string like so:

(use-package dash-at-point
  :if (eq system-type 'darwin)
  ("/Applications/" . "brew cask install dash"))

:ensure-system-package will use system-packages-install to install system packages, except where a custom command has been specified, in which case it will be executed verbatim by async-shell-command.

Configuration variables system-packages-package-manager and system-packages-use-sudo will be honoured, but not for custom commands. Custom commands should include the call to sudo in the command if needed.


The :chords keyword allows you to define key-chord bindings for use-package declarations in the same manner as the :bind keyword.

To enable the extension:

(use-package use-package-chords
  :ensure t
  :config (key-chord-mode 1))

Then you can define your chord bindings in the same manner as :bind using a cons or a list of conses:

(use-package ace-jump-mode
  :chords (("jj" . ace-jump-char-mode)
           ("jk" . ace-jump-word-mode)
           ("jl" . ace-jump-line-mode)))

How to create an extension

First step: Add the keyword

The first step is to add your keyword at the right place in use-package-keywords. This list determines the order in which things will happen in the expanded code. You should never change this order, but it gives you a framework within which to decide when your keyword should fire.

Second step: Create a normalizer

Define a normalizer for your keyword by defining a function named after the keyword, for example:

(defun use-package-normalize/:pin (name-symbol keyword args)
  (use-package-only-one (symbol-name keyword) args
    (lambda (label arg)
       ((stringp arg) arg)
       ((symbolp arg) (symbol-name arg))
         ":pin wants an archive name (a string)"))))))

The job of the normalizer is take a list of arguments (possibly nil), and turn it into the single argument (which could still be a list) that should appear in the final property list used by use-package.

Third step: Create a handler

Once you have a normalizer, you must create a handler for the keyword:

(defun use-package-handler/:pin (name-symbol keyword archive-name rest state)
  (let ((body (use-package-process-keywords name-symbol rest state)))
    ;; This happens at macro expansion time, not when the expanded code is
    ;; compiled or evaluated.
    (if (null archive-name)
      (use-package-pin-package name-symbol archive-name)
       `((push '(,name-symbol . ,archive-name)

Handlers can affect the handling of keywords in two ways. First, it can modify the state plist before recursively processing the remaining keywords, to influence keywords that pay attention to the state (one example is the state keyword :deferred, not to be confused with the use-package keyword :defer). Then, once the remaining keywords have been handled and their resulting forms returned, the handler may manipulate, extend, or just ignore those forms.

The task of each handler is to return a list of forms representing code to be inserted. It does not need to be a progn list, as this is handled automatically in other places. Thus it is very common to see the idiom of using use-package-concat to add new functionality before or after a code body, so that only the minimum code necessary is emitted as the result of a use-package expansion.

Fourth step: Test it out

After the keyword has been inserted into use-package-keywords, and a normalizer and a handler defined, you can now test it by seeing how usages of the keyword will expand. For this, use M-x pp-macroexpand-last-sexp with the cursor set immediately after the (use-package ...) expression.

Some timing results

On my Retina iMac, the "Mac port" variant of Emacs 24.4 loads in 0.57s, with around 218 packages configured (nearly all of them lazy-loaded). However, I experience no loss of functionality, just a bit of latency when I'm first starting to use Emacs (due to the autoloading). Since I also use idle-loading for many packages, perceived latency is typically reduced overall.

On Linux, the same configuration loads in 0.32s.

If I don't use Emacs graphically, I can test the absolute minimum times. This is done by running:

time emacs -l init.elc -batch --eval '(message "Hello, world!")'

On the Mac I see an average of 0.36s for the same configuration, and on Linux 0.26s.

Upgrading to 2.x

Semantics of :init is now consistent

The meaning of :init has been changed: It now always happens before package load, whether :config has been deferred or not. This means that some uses of :init in your configuration may need to be changed to :config (in the non-deferred case). For the deferred case, the behavior is unchanged from before.

Also, because :init and :config now mean "before" and "after", the :pre- and :post- keywords are gone, as they should no longer be necessary.

Lastly, an effort has been made to make your Emacs start even in the presence of use-package configuration failures. So after this change, be sure to check your *Messages* buffer. Most likely, you will have several instances where you are using :init, but should be using :config (this was the case for me in a number of places).

:idle has been removed

I am removing this feature for now because it can result in a nasty inconsistency. Consider the following definition:

(use-package vkill
  :commands vkill
  :idle (some-important-configuration-here)
  :bind ("C-x L" . vkill-and-helm-occur)
  (defun vkill-and-helm-occur ()
    (call-interactively #'helm-occur))

  (setq vkill-show-all-processes t))

If I load my Emacs and wait until the idle timer fires, then this is the sequence of events:

:init :idle <load> :config

But if I load Emacs and immediately type C-x L without waiting for the idle timer to fire, this is the sequence of events:

:init <load> :config :idle

It's possible that the user could use featurep in their idle to test for this case, but that's a subtlety I'd rather avoid.

:defer now accepts an optional numeric argument

:defer [N] causes the package to be loaded -- if it has not already been -- after N seconds of idle time.

(use-package back-button
  :commands (back-button-mode)
  :defer 2
  (setq back-button-show-toolbar-buttons nil)
  (back-button-mode 1))

Add :preface, occurring before everything except :disabled

:preface can be used to establish function and variable definitions that will 1) make the byte-compiler happy (it won't complain about functions whose definitions are unknown because you have them within a guard block), and 2) allow you to define code that can be used in an :if test.

NOTE: whatever is specified within :preface is evaluated both at load time and at byte-compilation time, in order to ensure that definitions are seen by both the Lisp evaluator and the byte-compiler, so you should avoid having any side-effects in your preface, and restrict it merely to symbol declarations and definitions.

Add :functions, for declaring functions to the byte-compiler

What :defines does for variables, :functions does for functions.

use-package.el is no longer needed at runtime

This means you should put the following at the top of your Emacs, to further reduce load time:

  (require 'use-package))
(require 'diminish)                ;; if you use :diminish
(require 'bind-key)                ;; if you use any :bind variant
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