When I'm writing elisp code, parts of the buffer that I press enter on turn invisible (i.e. they get the property invisible set to t). I haven't been able to reproduce this reliably, because it doesn't happen when I write nonsensical code to just produce some lines, but it happens sometimes.

Here is what I know:

  • I'm using Emacs 26.1 on Mac OS
  • Here is the list of active modes when I press C-h m: Enabled minor modes: Auto-Composition Auto-Compression Auto-Encryption Blink-Cursor Cl-Old-Struct-Compat Diff-Auto-Refine Electric-Indent Erc-Autojoin Erc-Button Erc-Fill Erc-Irccontrols Erc-List Erc-Match Erc-Menu Erc-Move-To-Prompt Erc-Netsplit Erc-Networks Erc-Noncommands Erc-Pcomplete Erc-Readonly Erc-Ring Erc-Stamp Erc-Track Erc-Track File-Name-Shadow Flx-Ido Font-Lock Global-Font-Lock Global-Voice-Lock Ido-Everywhere Menu-Bar Mouse-Wheel Projectile Shell-Dirtrack Tooltip Transient-Mark Voice-Lock

How can I identify what is doing this?

  • 2
    Start Emacs using emacs -Q (no init file). If you cannot repro the problem that way then bisect your init file to find the culprit. Do not expect to have a giant sack of stuff involved (e.g. all those modes active) and be able to debug your problem. Narrow it down. Bisecting your init file is a binary search - very quick. You can do it using command comment-region (with C-u it uncomments).
    – Drew
    Dec 14, 2018 at 15:02
  • In addition to Drew's good advice, I'd be suspicious of all those ERC modes, which really aren't applicable to write Emacs Lisp code.
    – Win
    Dec 14, 2018 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Using @Drew's advice, I figured that it was because of a bubg in Emacspeak and the way it dealt with overlays, particularly the ones that company created. This has been fixed in the recent versions of Emacspeak.

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