When I'm looking for documentation or information, I press C-h and then f or k or anything else. Then a help window will pop up.

I was wondering if I could configure the help window, that he will pop up on the bottom, instead on right and with much smaller window? Is there any property/variable to manage this behaviour? If this is not specificed for the help-mode, then I might develop a package for that.

  • Does it work to customize display-buffer-alist for buffers called *Help* to use the function display-buffer-at-bottom (Action Functions for display-buffer)?
    – Kirill
    Oct 17, 2015 at 14:18
  • There are a couple of exceptions, but the primary function responsible for the behavior the original poster wishes to modify is temp-buffer-window-show within window.el. As can be seen by examining the function, the temp-buffer-resize-mode is taken into consideration if it is active -- thus, look at the doc-string for that minor-mode also. It is possible to customize the display-buffer-alist since temp-buffer-window-show calls display-buffer, but I prefer to use a scalpel instead of a machete.
    – lawlist
    Oct 17, 2015 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


As mentioned by @Krill in comments you can use display-buffer-alist to control the display of buffers, for some explanation/examples look at the following questions

However that is a bit low level if all you want is to set the position of a buffer or specify it height. I know of two libraries that provide high level APIs for such customizations

1) popwin-el

Using popwin you could do the following to keep help-mode buffers at bottom

(add-to-list popwin:special-display-config '(help-mode 0.5 :position below))

2) shackle

To keep the help-mode buffers at bottom using shackle you can do the following

(add-to-list 'shackle-rules '(help-mode :align below))
  • Thanks Iqbal for your reply, I never thought of adding modes to popwin. And with your reply I discovered Shackle, which I prefer, because it didn't conflict with helm-for-files window with adding a new window on top of it. Your answer really helped me, thanks for that.
    – ReneFroger
    Oct 18, 2015 at 22:04
  • @ReneFroger, glad I could help! Oct 19, 2015 at 2:29

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