I want to put my .spacemacs into Github, so I cloned it to a local directory. How to let Emacs use the .spacemacs in that directory instead of from the default ~/.spacemacs?

  • 2
    I've symlinked ~/.spacemacs to my version-controlled .spacemacs file.
    – alxndr
    Feb 16, 2016 at 4:56

2 Answers 2


In much the same way as Emacs loads ~/.emacs.d/init.el if it can't find a ~/.emacs file, so does Spacemacs load ~/.spacemacs.d/init.el if it can't find a ~/.spacemacs file.

This means you can create a ~/.spacemacs.d directory and rename the ~/.spacemacs file to ~/.spacemacs.d/init.el. Then you put the ~/.spacemacs.d directory on GitHub, and you're done.

If you have some private layers, you can also move them inside ~/.spacemacs.d/ and manage them in the same repository.

  • spacemacs uses already an init.el file - but you can nevertheless append the .spacemacs file to the init.el
    – uuu
    Nov 8, 2016 at 4:58
  • If you're talking about ~/.emacs.d/init.el, that's the entry point for Spacemacs code (technically Spacemacs is a configuration for Emacs). It loads ~/.spacemacs (or ~/.spacemacs.d/init.el), so there's no reason to append .spacemacs to ~/.emacs.d/init.el
    – bmag
    Nov 8, 2016 at 20:51
  • the reason to do that is to simplify storing the spacemacs config inside a git repo
    – uuu
    Nov 8, 2016 at 21:49
  • I can't see how this answer would work. emacs looks for ~/.emacs.d/init.el or ~/.emacs and only then are the Spacemacs configurations therein loaded.
    – joharr
    Sep 6, 2022 at 6:57

You can symlink your .spacemacs file. From a bash prompt:

$ ln -s /path/to/your/spacemacs-directory/.spacemacs ~/.spacemacs

You might find it easier to symlink the entire directory to a "dot directory," i.e. ~/.spacemacs.d, in which case you would do this:

$ mv /path/to/your/spacemacs-directory/.spacemacs /path/to/your/spacemacs-directory/init.el
$ ln -s /path/to/your/spacemacs-directory ~/.spacemacs.d
  • 2
    thanks, but I am using windows instead of linux
    – Daniel Wu
    Feb 16, 2016 at 8:51
  • 3
    Depending on your version of Windows, you can do the same using the mklink command. Create a directory symbolic link using mklink /D link target.
    – glucas
    Feb 16, 2016 at 14:57

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