I have just started using Melpa, and I installed the first package. The package though goes to the folder

~/Library/Preferences/Aquamacs Emacs/Pakcages/elpa/

but I would prefer if it went to my .emacs.d/packages folder.

Is there a way to do that or is it not advisable for some reason? If not advisable, is there a way to ensure that if I use another computer that I still have that package installed so that the configurations are the same?

This is what I put on my .emacs file to get Melpa working as per this answer

;; Package installation - MELPA
(require 'package) ;; You might already have this line
(add-to-list 'package-archives
             '("melpa" . "https://melpa.org/packages/"))
(when (< emacs-major-version 24)
  ;; For important compatibility libraries like cl-lib
  (add-to-list 'package-archives '("gnu" . "http://elpa.gnu.org/packages/")))
(package-initialize) ;; You might already have this line

1 Answer 1


You want to change the variable package-user-dir:

(setq package-user-dir "~/.emacs.d/packages")

Change this setting before calling (package-initialize) or anything involving loading or installing packages, but after (require 'package).

How I found this:

I use Helm, which makes it easy to search through Emacs's functions and variables. I called describe-variable with C-h v and searched for package dir, and the variable came up. Without Helm, I would use the command apropos-variable and search for the same thing.

  • 1
    OK, that was superb! I really appreciate the last paragraph so that I can find my own answers in the future :)
    – Vivi
    Sep 14, 2015 at 15:04
  • @Vivi You're welcome! apropos is great, it's really a killer feature. To see all the apropos-* commands, try C-h a apropos RET
    – nanny
    Sep 14, 2015 at 15:09
  • I always use M-x customize-apropos and I love it! I didn't know any others though so I will have a look now. I just installed Helm using Melpa and it went to the desired folder, ty!
    – Vivi
    Sep 14, 2015 at 15:11

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