The initial options specify parameters for the Emacs session. This section describes the more general initial options; some other options specifically related to the X Window System appear in the following sections.
Some initial options affect the loading of the initialization file.
Normally, Emacs first loads
site-start.el if it exists, then
your own initialization file if it exists, and finally the default
default.el if it exists (see Init File). Certain options prevent loading of some of these files or
substitute other files for them.
directory before doing anything else. This is mainly used
by session management in X so that Emacs starts in the same directory as it
stopped. This makes desktop saving and restoring easier.
device as the device for terminal input and output. This
option implies ‘
Use the X Window System and use the display named
display to open
the initial Emacs frame. See Display X, for more details.
Don’t communicate directly with the window system, disregarding the
DISPLAY environment variable even if it is set. This means that
Emacs uses the terminal from which it was launched for all its display
Run Emacs in batch mode. Batch mode is used for running
programs written in Emacs Lisp from shell scripts, makefiles, and so
on. To invoke a Lisp program, use the ‘
-batch’ option in
conjunction with one or more of ‘
-f’ or ‘
(see Action Arguments). See Command Example, for an example.
In batch mode, Emacs does not display the text being edited, and the
standard terminal interrupt characters such as C-z and C-c
have their usual effect. Emacs functions that normally print a
message in the echo area will print to either the standard output
stdout) or the standard error stream (
instead. (To be precise, functions like
error print to
stderr.) Functions that normally read
keyboard input from the minibuffer take their input from the
terminal’s standard input stream (
--batch’ implies ‘
-q’ (do not load an initialization file),
site-start.el is loaded nonetheless. It also causes Emacs
to exit after processing all the command options. In addition, it
disables auto-saving except in buffers for which auto-saving is
explicitly requested, and when saving files it omits the
system call unless otherwise requested.
Run Emacs in batch mode, like ‘
--batch’, and then read and
execute the Lisp code in
The normal use of this option is in executable script files that run Emacs. They can start with this text on the first line
which will invoke Emacs with ‘
--script’ and supply the name of
the script file as
file. Emacs Lisp then treats the ‘
on this first line as a comment delimiter.
Omit details like system name and build time from the Emacs
executable, so that builds are more deterministic. This switch is not
meant for regular (or interactive) use, since it makes commands like
Do not load any initialization file (see Init File). When Emacs
is invoked with this option, the Customize facility does not allow
options to be saved (see Easy Customization). This option does
not disable loading
Do not load
site-start.el (see Init File). The ‘
option does this too, but other options like ‘
-q’ do not.
Do not include the
site-lisp directories in
(see Init File). The ‘
-Q’ option does this too.
Do not display a startup screen. You can also achieve this effect by
setting the variable
inhibit-startup-screen to non-
in your initialization file (see Entering Emacs).
Do not load X resources. You can also achieve this effect by setting
t in your
initialization file (see Resources).
Start Emacs with minimum customizations. This is similar to using
--no-x-resources’, and ‘
Start Emacs as a daemon: after Emacs starts up, it starts the Emacs
server without opening any frames. You can then use the
emacsclient command to connect to Emacs for editing.
(Optionally, you can specify an explicit
name for the server; if
you do, you will need to specify the same
name when you invoke
emacsclient, via its
--socket-name option, see
emacsclient Options.) See Emacs Server, for information
about using Emacs as a daemon. A “background” daemon disconnects
from the terminal and runs in the background (‘
--daemon’ is an
alias for ‘
Do not reload any saved desktop. See Saving Emacs Sessions.
user’s initialization file instead of your
Enable the Emacs Lisp debugger for errors in the init file. See Entering the Debugger on an Error in The GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
Enable expensive correctness checks when dealing with dynamically loadable modules. This is intended for module authors that wish to verify that their module conforms to the module API requirements. The option makes Emacs abort if a module-related assertion triggers. See Writing Dynamically-Loaded Modules in The GNU Emacs Lisp Reference Manual.
Load the dumped Emacs state from the named
file. By default, an
installed Emacs will look for its dump state in a file named
emacs.pdmp in the directory where the Emacs installation
puts the architecture-dependent files; the variable
exec-directory holds the name of that directory.
is the name of the Emacs executable file, normally just
(When you invoke Emacs from the
src directory where it was
built without installing it, it will look for the dump file in the
directory of the executable.) If you rename or move the dump file to
a different place, you can use this option to tell Emacs where to find
This option has no effect on MS-Windows.