I'm using Spacemacs with

$ emacs --version
> GNU Emacs 24.5.1

On OSX 10.10.5

Using C-x C-f to find files shows a minibuffer like: minibuffer

I have been able to get rid of the ugly green foreground color for highlighting the matching results by changing the face with:

M-x set-face-foreground

then searching for helm and selecting helm-match

But I can't seem to find the correct face to modify to change the current directory displayed at the top. In the image, it's the Find file: / bit I'm talking about.

Using 'C-c C-x =' when in the minibuffer in this mode only brings up a cursor position, but no information about the face.

So my questions are:

1) What is this particular face I need to modify?

2) More generally, how would I find out which face this is?

1 Answer 1


M-x list-faces-display is your friend.

It shows you all faces currently defined. And you can click on a face name to open Customize for that face.

If you use library Face-Menu+ (code: facemenu+.el) then list-faces-display is even more useful. If you click the sample text shown for a given face then:

  • If the region is active and non-empty in the buffer that was current before you used M-x list-faces-display then the face you click is applied to the text in that region.

  • Otherwise, the face whose sample you clicked is applied to new text that you enter (in the buffer that was current before you used M-x list-faces-display).

IOW, list-faces-display also gives you a WYSIWYG way to apply a face, in addition to a WYSIWYG way to edit (customize) a face.

If you use Icicles then these kinds of things are even easier. You can skip using list-faces-display altogether, because commands that ask for a face name show the completion candidates using their faces (WYSIWYG). Description and screenshots.

  • Thanks a ton. Lots of good information here. I'm going to accept this answer because I did use list-faces-display to resolve the issue. But it took some digging to id the face I needed. For future reference, the face is mini-buffer-prompt. Any tips on being able to discover the face are still appreciated --- I think it being in the minibuffer (and only visible when you're in the midst of running a command) made grabbing that info tricky.
    – Metropolis
    Jun 23, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    It's probably minibuffer-prompt, not mini-buffer-prompt. Yes, it's generally more difficult to get info on stuff that is in the minibuffer. The good news is that such stuff usually has a name that starts with or contains "minibuffer". For example, to find out about keys bound in the minibuffer keymaps, you can use help-fns+.el command describe-keymap (C-h M-k) for the keymaps whose names start with minibuffer-.
    – Drew
    Jun 23, 2016 at 20:54
  • Right you are, minibuffer-prompt
    – Metropolis
    Jun 23, 2016 at 21:37

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