Almost every text editor is able to truncate lines by default, but in Emacs I'm still using the cumbersome M-x toggle-truncate-lines in every buffer with long lines. Unfortunately, buffers with long lines are very common, so one has to do M-x toggle-truncate-lines constantly.

Solutions currently posted on StackOverflow do not work (e.g., link):

  • (setq-default truncate-lines t) in init.el does not have any effect.
  • (custom-set-variables '(truncate-lines t)) in init.el does not have any effect.
  • (global-set-key "\C-x\ w" 'toggle-truncate-lines) does not really solve the problem.

I must be overlooking something here; what's the actual setting for truncating long lines by default?

  • The answer given so far is correct, but solves it the issue? Aug 5, 2019 at 7:08

1 Answer 1


truncate-lines possibly overridden

The built-in help for truncate-lines mention that it is overridden by the variable truncate-partial-width-windows. You might want to check if it is set by using <C-h> v and typing truncate-partial-width-windows.

Relevant portion of built-in help for truncate-lines

Note that this is overridden by the variable
`truncate-partial-width-windows' if that variable is non-nil
and this buffer is not full-frame width.

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