: Learning GNU Emacs, 3rd Edition Will the real .emacs please stand up? Will the real .emacs please stand up?

You might have a bit of trouble finding the right .emacs file to work with when you're first starting out. Emacs actually looks for a variety of startup files. In order, they are:


The byte-compiled Lisp version or your startup file. This is not editable, but can make startup quicker if you have a big, complex startup file.


The more formal name for your startup file. You can use Lisp commands to customize and initialize your entire Emacs environment.


The common name for the startup file. Exactly like the .emacs.el file, just without the .el extension. Both are editable.

As soon as Emacs finds one of these files, that's it; then it's on to the next step in startup. You can't have a .emacs.elc for the big customizations and then a separate .emacs for the last few. Sorry!

For all you Emacs users on Microsoft Windows-based systems, you might bump into a variation of this file that begins with an underscore ( _ ) rather than a dot (. ). In the past, the Windows filesystem required something before the first dot, so .emacs was an invalid filename. Consequently, _emacs was adopted. The same order and notes about the .elc and .el variants applies. In modern versions of Windows, .emacs is a valid filename and the dot variations take precedence over the underscore versions.

: 0.905. /Cache: 3 / 1