I want to set a default font in my Emacs (version 26.1, running on Arch, using Xmonad). I have tried various options in my init.el file (under .emacs.d). None seemed to work or persist when I restarted X.

The only thing that works and persists is specifying it in my .Xresources file, e.g. in my case Emacs.font: DejaVuSansMono-14

Is there a "standard" way of setting the default font in Emacs ? Is this it ? Is it dependent on the emacs version, i.e. this is the latest version 26.1

Thanks for any help.



  • 1
    Did you try setting the frame parameters using the default-frame-alist or the initial-frame-alist? gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/emacs/…
    – lawlist
    Oct 25, 2018 at 13:44
  • Yes, but I will double check. If these are in init.el, do you not have anything in .Xresources ?
    – Hoopla
    Oct 25, 2018 at 14:03

2 Answers 2



(set-frame-font "DejaVu Sans Mono-14" nil t)

to your init.el file. This would affect all frames (last parameter t).

If you're not sure about the font name, you can see a list of all available fonts by evaluating this

    (mapconcat (quote identity)
        (sort (font-family-list) #'string-lessp) "\n"))

in your *scratch* buffer. Check the output in your *Messages* buffer.

Other tips here.


Try to add the following to your init.el file and change the font family and height to whatever you want.

(defun my/setup-frame (&optional frame)
  "Configure look of FRAME.

If FRAME is nil, configure current frame. If non-nil, make FRAME
  (when frame (select-frame frame))
  (when (window-system)
    (set-face-attribute 'default nil :height 125 :family "Fira Mono")))

(if (daemonp)
    (add-hook 'after-make-frame-functions #'my/setup-frame)

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