I am new to spacemacs. I want to install the shell layer. The official page of spacemacs regarding the layer, https://github.com/syl20bnr/spacemacs/tree/master/layers/%2Btools/shell, says

To use this configuration layer, add it to your ~/.spacemacs. You will need to add shell to the existing dotspacemacs-configuration-layers list in this file.

I just don't see how to realize this step. In my .spacemacs file, I have uncommented these lines:

(shell :variables
             shell-default-height 30
             shell-default-position 'bottom)

However, there is still little syntax highlight in my shell, invoked with M-x shell. Also, the directories are not aligned in the shell. Any idea?enter image description here

2 Answers 2


I don't see anything regarding advanced syntax highlighting or aligned directories in the documentation of the shell layer. Layers are not magic. They at most do what they say they do.


Typically you open the shell with the key binding SPC ' which calls spacemacs/default-pop-shell. You may want to try that and perhaps some of the other key bindings listed in the layer documentation. That function will call whatever the variable shell-default-shell is set to. If you're running Windows it will default to eshell (might be the only thing that works well on Windows).

I noticed you linked to the layer documentation on the master branch. If you're not on develop you may want to consider checking it out to see if it fixes your issue. Develop is about 2k commits ahead of master.

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