I was trying to install the Icicles packages as presented here by following this guide. First I downloaded only the required packages and put them in this directory:


Then added this directory to load-path by putting this line in .emacs file:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/.emacs.d/icicles/")

and executing M-x eval-buffer, so the directory was put in load-path when I checked it by C-h v load-path. But when I executed M-x load-library RET icicles RET it prompted the error:

Symbol's value as variable is void: <!DOCTYPE

Is it due to the files icicles-chg.el, icicles-doc1.el and icicles-doc2.el being in the load-path?

I'm using Emacs 24.5 running on Windows 7.

2 Answers 2


That <!DOCTYPE is your clue that you did not download the Emacs-Lisp files (*.el). Instead, you downloaded an HTML file - e.g., an HTML file that describes or displays an Emacs-Lisp file.

Try downloading the source files again (*.el). Then check their content to see if they look like Lisp code or HTML code. If the latter then you are still downloading incorrectly.

When you click the name of an Elisp file in the Emacs-Wiki Elisp Area, you see an HTML display of its code (e.g. the icicles.el file. To get the code file itself, right-click the Download button on that page (upper left) and choose Save Link As (the exact text might depend on your browser).


Easy to have this happen, esp. when using wget or something. (Guess how I know.)

In particular, when downloading from Github, make sure you are grabbing the "raw" version of a file, not the one you get by clicking on it on the main file list. The former has /raw/ as part of the URL's path; the latter, /blob/. Then, eyeball the file, as a sanity check ;-)

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