M-x all-things-emacs

Emacs Starter Kit

December 5th, 2008 by Ryan McGeary · 99 Comments

Phil Hagelberg recently started a new project called Emacs Starter Kit. Here’s how Phil describes it:

It’s … a set of dotfiles extracted from my years of obsessive Emacs tweaking. It acts as a base config from which new users can get going with minimal fuss. You won’t learn Emacs from it, but it will help you get started out as it provides saner defaults and bundles a lot of really useful functionality.

I’ve been using it as my main config for quite some time now, so it’s got all the libraries I need. If you’re interested in trying out with Emacs but don’t know where to start, give this a shot. If you’re an old hand but are curious to pick up some new tricks, try out the starter kit and let me know if it’s missing some must-have functionality that you’re used to.

Give it a try:

$ git clone git://github.com/technomancy/emacs-starter-kit.git
$ emacs -q -l ~/path/to/emacs-starter-kit/init.el

I’m going to play with this on and off for the next few days and see if I can’t learn a few tricks from an emacs guru.

UPDATE: For those that don’t use Git and can’t find the ‘Download’ button on GitHub, here’s the tarball and the zipball.

Tags: elisp · newbie · news · quick · tips

99 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bill // Dec 6, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Come on dude – not all of us use GIT – just put a link to the text file…

  • 2 r0nald // Dec 6, 2008 at 11:08 am

    just download git Bill

  • 3 Avar // Dec 6, 2008 at 11:39 am

    It would be nice to have a download link.

  • 4 Julio Capote // Dec 6, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Just download it right from github, would’ve taken you 2 seconds:

  • 5 Jimbo // Dec 6, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Tanks fro da scribt bro but seriosly dude not all of us know github ether.

  • 6 Apeshit // Dec 6, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Seriously dude not all of us use Emacs what do you have for us Vim guys?

  • 7 Brandon Sharitt // Dec 6, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    @ Apeshit

    I think the only thing the Emacs users have for VIM users is their condolences.

    //Nano FTW!

  • 8 lowell // Dec 6, 2008 at 6:49 pm


    github is a freakin website. go there and download either the zip or tarball. he’d post a directly link, but github doesnt give you one.

    it would probably help things if julio hooked up a proper link instead of trying to link to the download:

  • 9 Ryan McGeary // Dec 6, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    @Apeshit I’ve got a project for you :-)

  • 10 Ryan McGeary // Dec 6, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I updated the post to account for those that can’t find the GitHub download button.

  • 11 Seth // Dec 6, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    There are some nice snippets in there but I’ve only been using emacs for about a year so I may be impressionable.

    Thanks for pointing this out.

  • 12 The Wave » Blog Archive » Stuffs-a-doing // Dec 7, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    [...] make for a while now is to learn Emacs and stick with it. Thankfully there has been a few articles flicking onto reddit recently about Emacs. One of the entries led me to the Emacs Starter Kit, with Emacs [...]

  • 13 Cezar // Dec 21, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Very nice ! Thanks for sharing.

    Can you add rinari to your setup (or if you know any other rails mode better than rinari) ?


  • 14 AndyO // Jan 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Thanks for the post. And, looking at your dotfiles too.

    I’m giving Emacs yet another try.

    Have an old JDE setup anywhere? No biggy. Your setup is probably much cleaner without it.

  • 15 Vixay Xavier // May 5, 2009 at 6:33 am

    How do you install/use the kit once downloaded and extracted? I got the files, but it’s a bunch of el files in the home directory

    I assume these are emacs scripts. Is there an easy way to backup existing config and try out these scripts?

  • 16 Testing Times « Stok Footage // Nov 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    [...] of the new things I learned about emacs and Ruby were the emacs starter kit and gemcutter which have made it easier for me to get into using emacs and rspec to see whether I [...]

  • 17 keremcan // Feb 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm


    How do you get color schemes to work under Windows?

    I installed this stuff here but does not seem to work



  • 18 DIANA SPENCER // Jun 1, 2010 at 12:32 am

    I like the approach you took with this topic. It isn’t typical that you find a subject so concise and informative.

  • 19 Eric Normand // Jan 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I really like the starter kit! I just found it and it’s changed my view of emacs from an opaque monster to a joy.

    Thanks a million!