Windows 10, Emacs 25.1

In my init.el

(define-key helm-map (kbd "<tab>") 'helm-execute-persistent-action)

But on start Emacs I get error:

Symbol's value as variable is void: helm-map
  • 3
    That variable would only be defined after helm is loaded. You'd need to either require it, or wrap that code in with-eval-after-load.
    – wvxvw
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 7:22
  • @wvxvw This question is also addressed in stackoverflow.com/questions/15995754/…. There they use helm-find-files-map.
    – Tobias
    Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 7:35
  • Apparently their earlier duplicate question taught them nothing. This should be closed.
    – phils
    Commented Jul 29, 2023 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


I had a similar error:

variable fails due to missing definition of "helm-bookmark-map"

You can remove the helm and force the reinstall. (so basically remove the helm file/folder under elpa)

Remove .emacs.d/elpa/helm-* and restart emacs? This should force a reinstall of helm with the pinned version.

This worked for me in spacemacs.

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