Lisp in emacs

This page is subdivided into 2 sections, as there are 2 lisps which really shine when developing in Emacs 1

Pre-everything else:

Install Paredit, Smartparens, or Lispy. You can find documentation for these somewhere on the internet2, or some other place.


Install geiser and run it with the Scheme implementation of your choice. If you cannot eval a file, press C-c C-s inside of that file and choose the Scheme implementation you chose.

Common Lisp

Install SLIME or SLY3 and configure them.

Configuring SLIME:

Add this to your config file

(load (expand-file-name "~/quicklisp/slime-helper.el")) ;; If you're using quicklisp
(setq inferior-lisp-program "your-lisp-implementation") ;; Probably Clozure CL or SBCL

Configuring SLY:

Literally just add your inferior lisp program into your config file: (setq inferior-lisp-program "your-lisp-implementation")

  1. The other lisp which is commonly pointed to as a good development experience in emacs, and which shall not be named, is on the JVM, and we will not be covering it here.

  2. Except for paredit, which I linked the documentation for as the main link.

  3. The creator of this article recommends SLY more than SLIME as it is a lot more modern and simpler to use.