in my .emacs file I have:

;; enable skeleton-pair insert globally
(setq skeleton-pair t)
;;(setq skeleton-pair-on-word t)
(global-set-key (kbd "(") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "[") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "{") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "\"") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "\'") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "\`") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)
(global-set-key (kbd "<") 'skeleton-pair-insert-maybe)

extracted directly from here ESS autocomplete. Everything related to ESS is:

;;Enable R
(add-to-list 'load-path "~/ess-15.03-1/lisp/")
(load "ess-site")
(setq ess-eval-visibly 'nil)
(setq ess-ask-for-ess-directory 'nil)
(add-hook 'ess-R-post-run-hook 'ess-execute-screen-options)
(define-key inferior-ess-mode-map "\C-cw" 'ess-execute-screen-options)

(eval-after-load "comint"    
     (define-key comint-mode-map [up]
     (define-key comint-mode-map [down]
     ;; also recommended for ESS use --
     (setq comint-scroll-to-bottom-on-output 'others)
     (setq comint-scroll-show-maximum-output t)
     ;; somewhat extreme, almost disabling writing in *R*, *shell* buffers above promp
     (setq comint-scroll-to-bottom-on-input 'this)))

Auto-completion of the braces (or auto-closing them) will work with everything: .py files, .txt files, even when I am in the R console launched with ESS (M-x R). However, it will not complete the curly braces when the file is and R file (e.g. foo.R). All other skeleton-pair options work everywhere, the only one that does not is the curly braces.

I read here that some other people has problems with curly braces related with the definition of the ess-electric-brace at ess-mode.el. However, their problems are different than mine. It seems that they cannot close the braces. In my case, is simply that it will not auto-complete them, so I am not sure the solution will be the same.

I see that in ess-mode.el there is a line:

(define-key map "{"          'ess-electric-brace)

and there is not such a thing for ( or [ so I guess is related to that, but do not know how to change it.

Any suggestions?

  • I just commented that line and it seems to work. I am not sure this is a good practice (my intuition tells me is not), but it does work...
    – Javier
    Sep 18, 2015 at 18:54

1 Answer 1


I also had this problem and created an issue on the project GitHub account. Here is what I got back:

That's because ESS is binding { to ess-electric-brace which stopped working at some point. This is historical and I think even precedes skeleton-pair. It should be working now. You can always fix such issues by unseting the keys in ess mode:

(define-key ess-mode-map (kbd "{") nil)
(define-key ess-mode-map (kbd "}") nil)

I added this to my .emacs file and everything works fine now. Hope this helps you!

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