Is there a configuration option in Magit that will force the "git status" window to always appear in a vertical split? I didn't see anything about that in the documentation, and Google was rather useless.

  • Are you aware of the general setting split-window-preferred-function and similar? These are in the manual, and control how Emacs splits windows for many different modes; this includes Magit, as far as I can see. Nov 7, 2016 at 14:01

4 Answers 4


You can control how Magit­ — and many other modes that open new windows — divide a window by customising the variables split-height-threshold and split-width-threshold, and, if you need more control, changing split-window-preferred-function. These are all documented in the Elisp reference, and see other questions here, e.g. Algorithm on deciding splitting vertically or horizontally

For a reason that I, and others, find puzzling, the default function prefers to split horizontally if possible, so in your case you might want to tweak the variables so that split-height-threshold is greater than your window's maximum height, and so that a window is never split horizontally.


For me following solution worked out (Emacs 26.1): I customized split-height-threshold to 80 and split-width-threshold to 160. It's from Spacemacs config. Since then my magit buffer always open as vertical split, as well as diff buffers.


I needed to configure the split-width-threshold to 0 and split-height-threshold to nil as split-window-sensibly recommends:

In order to not split WINDOW vertically, set (or bind) the variable split-height-threshold to nil. Additionally, you can set split-width-threshold to zero to make a horizontal split more likely to occur.


I asked a similar question recently. You could try this.

(add-to-list 'display-buffer-alist
             `(,(rx bos "*magit:")
               (reusable-frames . visible)
               (side            . bottom)
               (window-height   . 0.4)))

But I don't use magit frequently and therefore I don't know if this would also open buffers in a vertical split, that you don't want to open that way.

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