Spacemacs Overview

Spacemacs is a community built configuration for Emacs, enabling an easier out of the box setup for your favorite lanaguages and Emacs modes.

A quick review of the following features will make it easier for you to understand how to get the most out of Spacemacs.


Spacemacs creates a ~/.spacemacs configuration file. Think of this as the init.el file you would otherwise create for your own configuation.

The only configuration you need to do for Spacemacs is to add layers.

You can add your own Emacs configuration in the dotspacemacs/user-config section of the ~./spacemacs file.

Spacemacs Layers

A layer can be one or more Emacs pacakges and associated configuration to make all those packages work nicely together. Layers are typically around languages or major modes for Emacs. For example there is a Clojure layer that adds packages like CIDER, cljs-refactor, paredit/smartparens support, autocompletion for Clojure, etc.

See the Spacemacs documentation for a list of layers or open the help in Spacemacs SPC h SPC to list all the layers, pressing RET on a layer name to read about it.

Adding a Layer

To add a layer, edit the Spacemacs configuration file, ~/.spacemacs and in the function dotspacemacs/layers and section dotspacemacs-configuration-layers add the name of the layer you want to include.

For example, see my full Spacemacs configuration to see my layers configuration.

Trying to use packages-list-packages to install packages directly is simply ignored by Spacemacs. See how to configure a package without a layer in the Spacemacs documentation.

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