For my main package loading, I want to use melpa-stable. There's at least one package (dash) that I know breaks my config if I use the melpa version. That's fine - I've no problem using melpa-stable as my default archive.

But there are some packages I need to get from melpa - specifically sublime-themes. Obviously I could download that package manually and install it somewhere in my load-path, but I'd prefer to use the package manager (and I'd also like to do so from elisp, so I can have my init.el install it if it's not present, for when I go to a new machine).

Is it possible to say "use this archive for this package, but don't use it for other packages"?

  • You can add melpa to your list of archives but give it a priority of -100 so it will not be used automatically
    – YoungFrog
    May 15, 2016 at 11:53
  • Thanks. I just found this myself. I believe this is a new feature in Emacs 25.1, but that's fine for me as I don't expect to be using older versions with my config.
    – Paul Moore
    May 15, 2016 at 12:42

2 Answers 2


There is a feature in Emacs 25.1 that does what I want, by allowing you to set priorities for the archives you specify. So you can say

(setq package-archive-priorities
      '(("melpa-stable" . 20)
        ("marmalade" . 20)
        ("gnu" . 10)
        ("melpa" . 0)))

This will then install packages from the highest-priority archive they are available in. So with the above, melpa will only be used if a package can't be found in any of the other archives.


Yes you can! It is called pinning. If you use use-package its as easy as

(use-package sublime-themes
       :ensure t
       :pin melpa-stable)

otherwise you can set package-pinned-packages to ((sublime-themes . "melpa-stable")) more info can be found here

  • 1
    Isn't that the wrong way round? I want to use melpa (not stable) only for sublime-themes, but not for any other packages. With pinning, wouldn't I need melpa in my archive list and pin everything except sublime-themes? Or am I missing something?
    – Paul Moore
    May 13, 2016 at 21:45
  • Ooooh yes I had mis-read my bad. The reason that normally melpa is prioritized is that the package number is usually greater than the melpa-stable package number
    – Jules
    May 16, 2016 at 15:15

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